NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480 Benchmarks and Review | Apzo Media GPU

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480 is a high-end computer graphics card introduced by NVIDIA in 2010. It is built on the GF100 Fermi chip, which is manufactured by TSMC in 40nm. The GTX480 only employs 480 of the GF100 silicon’s 512 shaders. In this article we will learn more about its configurations and benchmarks.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480 Overview

The specifications are very interesting. Rather than using all 512 shaders physically present within the GPU, NVIDIA has disabled one SM on the GTX 480. As a result, NVIDIA’s top-tier GeForce GTX 480 has “just” 480 shaders. While bad, this move simplifies NVIDIA’s life on multiple levels.

For starters, they can make more cards using the GPUs they receive from TSMC. Even if a minor flaw in the silicon renders some shaders inoperable, the chip can still be collected and used in a shipping product. Another advantage is that the reduced shader count reduces the card’s power consumption, which affects heat and fan noise.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480

The GTX 480 is built on the original “Fermi” architecture, which was first introduced in 2009. The Fermi, the code name for Nvidia’s new 40nm GF100 design, was one of the company’s first uses of its new “Cuda” technology. The GTX 480 was a sibling to the famed GTX 560, which debuted around a year later, and it set the groundwork for some of Nvidia’s ground-breaking technology.

The AMD Radeon HD 5870 was the closest competition at the time. Both cards featured comparable specifications, with the GTX 480 offering more speed for the money. Following the release of Nvidia’s GTX 480, AMD reacted with their new GPU: the rival was marginally more powerful in a variety of respects, including faster clock frequency and greater visual memory capacity.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480 Specifications

  • Graphics Processor: GF100
  • Shader Cores: 480
  • TMUs: 60
  • ROPs: 48
  • Process Size: 40 nm
  • Transistors: 3.1 billion
  • L2 Cache: 768 kb
  • VRAM Type: GDDR5
  • VRAM Capacity: 1536 MB
  • Bus Width: 384 bit
  • Graphics Clock: 701 MHz
  • Shader Clock: 1401 MHz
  • Memory Clock: 924 MHz
  • Pixel Rate: 21.03 Gpixels
  • Texture Fill Rate: 42.06 GTexel/s
  • FP-32 Performance: 1,345 GFLOPS

The specifications have been considerably improved over the previous model, and it shows in every category.   The updated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480 specifications show an overall boost in performance due to the redesigned architecture and technology. 

In comparison, while the older generation, it has more texture mapping units (TMUs) and a wider memory bus width, the GTX 480 outperforms it with a substantially greater transistor count and faster graphics memory. Overall, the GTX 480 is a significant upgrade over the previous generation.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480 Power and I/O

You might be shocked at how much power is required to run a GPU like the GTX 480. Although graphics processing units (GPUs) have become much more energy-efficient in recent times, this was not always the case. 

The GTX 480 has huge power needs in comparison to the performance level it offers. With a TDP of 250 watts, you’ll need at minimum a 600-watt power supply with one 6-pin and one 8-pin power socket to power this graphics card. 

Given the card’s age, the GTX 480 cooling system is quite advanced. The dual-slot architecture makes this GPU quite thick, allowing for a huge heat sink and fan. The big black plastic shroud that covers the actual radiator is the most obvious design aspect. 

The thermal energy produced by the chip is directed away from the motherboard and out via the cooling fins by five heat pipes. One of the earliest forms of this cooling technology was the direct-touch heat pipe design, which was pretty unique at the time.

In terms of connectors, the variety of ports allows you to connect a wide range of gaming monitors. Although it lacks the normal HDMI connectors seen on current GPUs, it does provide two DVI ports and one mini-HDMI port. If your monitor does not support these ports, you may always find an adaptor to make it work.


We began by looking at graphics benchmarks using Futuremark 3D Mark Vantage. 3D Mark includes two DirectX 10-based game demos that simulate the load on a graphics card caused by a normal game. The results were similar: the GTX 480 gained only 0.1% over the 5870. The overclocked R5870 gained over 4% over the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480.

Our Heaven benchmark results are roughly in accord with that evaluation. The benchmark also has Normal and Extreme tessellation settings however when we pushed the test to its extremes, both of our 5870 produced incredibly low frames — on the order of 1 – 3 frames per second. 

Gaming Performance

Although you shouldn’t expect the GTX 480 to provide the same performance level as a newer video card, it can still offer an enjoyable gaming experience. The GTX 480 particularly shines when it comes to classic games and less challenging titles.

More demanding games with loads of textures and detailed landscapes will struggle with only 1.5GB of graphics memory. The Intel Core-i7 8700K CPU in our test system truly helped this card attain the best result, but the graphics memory was a very visible bottleneck for the system.

Dirt 2 is the first of our DirectX 11 game testing, and its DX11 mode includes various upgrades such as tessellation, ambient occlusion, and a wide dynamic range texture formats. The GTX 480 continues to lead, although the margins are growing wider as the quality and AA modes are reduced. It’s up to 30% faster at 19201200 without AA. 

When you set it to the maximum resolution and quality settings, the difference is less than 10%. All three cards reach 60 frames per second at 19201200 with 8x anti-aliasing, which is more than enough for most users.

In terms of benchmarks, the GTX 480 truly excels in older titles like League of Legends and Rocket League. Even recent titles, such as Cyberpunk 2077 and Apex Legends, are playable, if not perfect.

Ubisoft’s World in Conflict performance numbers was also unsurprising. It’s a real-time strategy game based on DirectX 10, with plenty of complex models and hazardous explosions to test the GPUs. 

Except at lower resolutions without anti-aliasing, Nvidia’s new high-end card often runs this game 16-20% better than the less expensive Radeon HD 5870. As with HAWX, none of the cards truly begin to heat up until 2560×1600 with AA.


Overall, there’s a lot to like about this NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480. The Fermi architecture offers many advantages. It has a lower total power draw, typically gives equal performance for less, and some benefits, such as powering three screens from a single GPU. If you want to know more about its feature and benchmarks then read the article above for a better understanding.

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