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Wanted: Way Better Cooling Solution...Immediately!

CHiL it does not!

In case you weren't already aware, the stock nVidia reference cards get hot and loud. This almost seems pre-ordained by design. They also consume every rated watt right down to the wall socket. In our own real world testing, results were quite similar in temps, but with lower fan noise even after 60 minutes of benchmarks. Inside an ANTEC P183 case, the GTX 470 emitted about 42 dBA and the GTX 480 topped out at 45 dBA. Again, these were recorded during typical testing based on what most users will be doing with these video cards. If you're doing some Folding@Home, you will probably get a little more noise out of these cards. Here's a quick chart to put it into perspective.

Even though nVidia regards the stock cooler as adequate, we rarely ever agree with that assertion. In fact, we enjoy seeing better coolers because they often mean a little extra speed in due to the ability to run higher frequencies. Hopefully ZOTAC will be able to amp it up with their AMP! series. Other vendors are working on their own GPU coolers as we speak. Given the GTX 4xx series' hotness, we wouldn't be surprised if everyone comes up with something better than stock really soon.

Final Thoughts

There's no question that the NVidia Geforce GTX 480 is the king of Tessellation. It provides the highest DX11 frame rates of any single GPU video card currently on the market. It's also offers up 3D Vision Technology if you ever want to get your own AVATAR on. On the entertainment side, nVidia still offers some of the best HD play back should you ever feel like connecting your 32" 1080p monitor at your favorite LAN party. It does so at the cost of heat and power consumption consumption however and you'll want to use your headphones to block out the whirring of the fan when they hit high.

As with any new nVidia GPU launch, the ZOTAC GTX 470 and GTX 480 both carry premium pricing and stay true to their MSRP, at least for the time being. The GTX 470 will cost you roughly $349 US while the GTX 480 requires a $150 premium taking the price to $499 Us. Price for this performance isn't too off target for the enthusiast market. Just remember to factor in the possible need for a more capable power supply when you're shopping for one of these cards. You'll need it. While you're at it, you may want to pick up some more fans for your case as well.

Because the ZOTAC GTX 470 1280MB and GTX 480 1536MB Graphics Cards are currently the most affordable options and have delivered a very good, reliable 3D experience, we have no reservations recommending them for your next "Fermilicious" gaming system with a side of "Tesselation".


  • True to the MSRP pricing it ahead of the pack
  • ZOTAC supported (Home of the ITX!)
  • GTX 480 is the fastest DX11 graphics card available
  • Fermi offers Shader innovation
  • Supports 3D NVision Technology


  • Premium price for premium performance
  • Very hot graphics cards
  • Audible fan noise
  • Limited bundle for the price

Overall Rating: 8.5/10.0

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