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The GeForce GTX 480 Update: 3-Way SLI, 3D Vision, And Noise

Where Are You, Fermi?

Before we dive too deeply into the testing, I’m going to start with what’s missing more than a month after the GeForce GTX 480 launched and more than two weeks after it was first supposed to be available in quantities of tens of thousands: ample supply. I don’t sign myself for email notifications every time an online vendor gets a shipment, but I do check newegg.com and zipzoomfly.com on an almost-daily basis. Call it a bad habit that formed when AMD struggled with its Radeon HD 4770 and then Radeon HD 5870.

On one of the two sites, catching a GeForce GTX 480 in stock is like spying Big Foot arm-wrestling with the Chupacabra—but at least they’re being kept close to the $499 MSRP Nvidia set forth last month. The other site does seem to hold onto cards a little longer—but it’s no surprise, considering they’re selling at a $50 to $100 premium.

So, where are the tens of thousands of cards? That’s hard to say. One board vendor told us it shipped a few hundred at launch. Another happily let us know that it recently moved another shipment of “80 or 90.”

The bottom line is that enthusiasts eager to get their hands on GF100-based cards today have two options: scramble for near-MSRP pricing or pay a premium for a better shot at securing product. Keep this in mind as the story progresses—our value calculations are based on the lowest prices of a card we found in stock at Newegg.

...as of 4/30/10

Update: I'll update this once, since it's fruitless to try to track availability in real-time. Just prior to publishing, Newegg has three different vedors' cards in stock, all between $499 and $509. Zipzoomfly has one card available priced at $579.

Waiting For 3D Vision Surround

One of Nvidia’s most compelling advantages in the battle against AMD’s Radeon HD 5800-series is GeForce 3D Vision. With Eyefinity getting so much positive attention, Nvidia came up with GeForce 3D Vision Surround as a way to deliver stereoscopic game play while burning pixels across two graphics cards.

The allure to those who’ve already seen 3D Vision on a single 120 Hz panel is an even more immersive experience (providing you have the cash for a pair of cards, a trio of monitors, and the 3D Vision Kit).

But while we were first told to expect 3D Vision Surround shortly after launch via a new driver, it’s simply not yet ready. We don’t have an ETA, so anyone who was lucky enough to track down a pair of GeForce GTX 480s hoping to experience 3D Vision Surround right out of the gate will have to wait a little while longer.

  • anonymous x
    Why don't you overclock that cpu higher? Only 3.3 Ghz? The 3rd GTX 480 looks like it's being bottlenecked. You can see the scaling is excellent at high resolutions with AA (from 1 to 2 to 3 cards), but at lower resolutions without AA there's no gain.
    Reply
  • lashton
    and why not check it against the 5890, the 480GTX is nvidia fastest card, put it against ATI Fastest Card
    Reply
  • cangelini
    There's a good chance that more CPU would def. help at the lower resolutions--one of the reasons I chose 2560 for the comparisons at the end ;-) For one reason or another, wasn't having much luck getting the retail i7-930/Eclipse Plus combo to overclock very well.
    Reply
  • cangelini
    lashtonand why not check it against the 5890, the 480GTX is nvidia fastest card, put it against ATI Fastest Card
    A pair of 5870s is actually going to be faster. Should I swing a second 5970, though, I do think a pair of 5970s vs. the three GTX 480s would be a good comparison!
    Reply
  • cruiseoveride
    Crappy ATi drivers.
    Reply
  • lunyone
    Did I miss something, but there is NO mention of the power consumption of the 3 x 480's??
    Reply
  • I have no clue where you people are getting this "5890" Statement from... They have the 5870, and then the next step up is the 5970... Is that what you're trying to say?
    Reply
  • cangelini
    stuk1intI have no clue where you people are getting this "5890" Statement from... They have the 5870, and then the next step up is the 5970... Is that what you're trying to say?
    Bleh, it's late and it has been a long weekend. Edited :)
    Reply
  • SpadeM
    Quad fire with 5850 would have been nice (thinking back to a builder marathon with quad fire) to see if ati's quad cards made any improovement over last years ones. Also i agree with lunyone, I for one would have been interested to see the numbers on load for the 3 nvidia cards with the 800W gold power supply (and maybe a comment from you cris about what power supply u think is best for the job. Either go lower wattage but a high efficiency psu or higher wattage but lower efficiency)

    Anyways, it was a informative article, looking forward to a full 512 sp card from nvidia and the second revision to the fermi core.
    Reply
  • JeanLuc
    stuk1intI have no clue where you people are getting this "5890" Statement from... They have the 5870, and then the next step up is the 5970... Is that what you're trying to say?
    The only place where the "5890" exists is in ATI's folder under 'What to do if Fermi is good".

    And yes where is the tri-sli power consumption numbers, there's no mention of it's omittance in the analysis.
    Reply