If ray tracing is important to you i think you should stick with the 480, although its not as powerful as a 5970 nvidia has done a fare amount of work with ray tracing on there cards and the 480 is one that supports it. And it is still a good enough card to rape games at that resolution
"If you want to do both work (2D and 3D design graphics, etc.) and gaming, then nVidia 4xx series is the way to go."
Do you mean the nVidia Quaddro NVS 450 or 420?
Do you mean the nVidia Quaddro FX 4800 or 4600?
It would appear that you're referring to the NVS... but I wasn't sure and was hoping you would please clarify.
If you went with one of the FX 4xxx series cards (ultra high end graphics)... would the gaming experience on those cards be less than what you would experience using say one of the NVS 4xx series cards... or about the same?
Quadro and NVS series cards are not for gaming.. In fact they are pathetic in that department.. Just forget about them and concentrate on the geforce line.. As for raytracing (as employed in apps like 3DS Max), its a mathematical computation and heavily dependent on the CPU more than the GPU..
Well, for gaming the 5970 will win (in general) though the 480 still does great.
As for 3-D apps/graphics, both will have poor support. But the 480 would probably serve you better. Hopefully someone who has used one of these cards seriously in professional apps will stop by though.
I just ordered ATI Radeon 5870 with 2 Gb (Eyefinity version) cause I simply don't have enough cash to get a Quadro Will rely impressions on 3dsmax viewport performance in a couple of days.
3dsmax utilizes only one GPU and a half of total RAM on dual GPU cards like 5970. Since 5970 has a lower clock and 1/2 of RAM available, it will be a lot slower than the 5870. Same goes for all dual-GPU cards out there.