That brings us to the severe problems with the GTX 400 series. GF100 is
just too damn hot! Not surprisingly, the coolers are very noisy, and the
GTX 480 ends up at 95C during gaming, hitting 100+C during overclocking
sessions. So, be prepared with a well ventilated case. Worst of all is
the power consumption. While the TDP of 250W made us all breathe a sigh
of relief, a reality check shows that the GTX 480 consumes at least 125W
more power than the HD 5870, and even more than the dual-GPU HD 5970!
This simply does not make sense – considering the HD 5870 has a TDP of
188W and the HD 5970 294W. Clearly, there’s something fishy going on
here. The GTX 470 and GTX 480 are not behaving like cards with TDPs of
215W and 250W but rather 250W and 300W. It is possible that Nvidia is
rating with the “real world gaming power” while ATI is rating with
“worst case stress test power”. Whatever be the case, the GTX 480
consumes a massive 100+W more than the HD 5870, and that is simply
unacceptable for a relatively similar level of performance. 

Perhaps
Nvidia’s worst problem is that not only is it competing with 6 month
(though, to be fair, 4 months as far as retail availability is
concerned) old products, but also at prices that are actually HIGHER
than 6 months ago. If you remember, the HD 5850 released for $259 and
the HD 5870 for $379. Clearly, ATI’s manufacturing costs have gone down a
lot, with improving yields and a familiar manufacturing process. ATI
can easily bring the prices down by $50 for both the HD 5850/5870. Not
to mention, we can expect ATI to refresh their line-up rather soon. In
fact, 2GB HD 5870 versions are incoming soon, including the Eyefinity6
edition, and these will further bridge the gap down to the GTX 480.

And
let us not forget there are no actual cards available, with
availability planned for April 12th. But with Nvidia’s constant delays,
we never know…

Summing up, at today’s price levels, the GTX 480
has its merits – it is the fastest single GPU, boasts of fantastic
compute performance, and comes in with PhysX and CUDA. It does command a
premium – $500 – but it is worth it if you are looking for the fastest
single GPU, and you don’t mind the ridiculous power consumption. The GTX
470, however, even today, makes very little sense, unless you use your
GPU for CUDA and not actual gaming. At the performance level, the HD
5850 at $300 still remains the price/performance leader.

All
this assuming ATI does not make a move, and who’s willing to bet against
them? Let us hope they do make a move, forcing Nvidia to respond. It has been a while since we enjoyed price wars!

You can see a list of reviews compiled by our forum
member adrianlee here.

On a concluding note, the reviews seem to vary considerably. We can’t quite explain why the reaction is so mixed. In the end, you have to see the different benchmarks in different reviews and see which card is right for you. April 12th is still a while away – so the consumers have enough time to decide.