updated 02:40 pm EST, Fri March 5, 2010
NVIDIA GTX 480 would run faster overall
NVIDIA late yesterday put up a video (viewable below) that provides some of the first official performance indicators for the GeForce GTX 480. In a synthetic test of Uniengine, a 3D engine that supports DirectX 11 (OpenGL 3.2) features, the GTX 480 was tied in maximum frame rates with the ATI Radeon HD 5870 but is much faster under high stress, often producing over 40 frames per second where the AMD-made rival produces a noticeably choppier 20. The test isn't necessarily reflective of real gameplay, and is the same demo Electronista saw at CES, but shows the card likely being faster for games that use techniques like tessellation to dynamically add detail.
Technical Marketing Director Tom Petersen also showed a single card driving three displays with GeForce 3D Vision effects turned on. The Radeon HD 5870 can drive as many as six displays but hasn't been seen doing so with 3D effects.
An overall performance lead may be crucial for the card and may actually be expected by NVIDIA, as a rumor from those who know the company claims that it expects a sellout. They believe the card will have a "significant" advantage in many games and tell Fudzilla that the batch of several thousands for the March 26th launch could sell out within the first day.
Some have feared that the GTX 480 and its cousin the 470 could repeat the struggling sales of the GeForce 5800 series from several years ago, as the combination of a suspected $680 price tag and a large, hot-running design could leave the Radeon HD 5800 series the only option available to most.
NVIDIA hopes for the GeForce 400 series to not only claim the gaming performance crown but for general-purpose computing on graphics cards, as its architecture is designed to accelerate tasks like OpenCL in Windows or Mac OS X Snow Leopard as well as CUDA and PhysX.