What do we have half a year since the release of the Radeon HD 5870? Taking all the tests together (which is not exactly correct), the new GeForce GTX 480 is an average 5 to 15% faster than the Radeon HD 5870 depending on the specific test, quality mode and resolution. In the individual games we can see both impressive victories and losses. Therefore, it is better to discuss each particular game as I have done in the performance summary section. And I guess it is quite right to claim that the GeForce GTX 480 becomes the fastest single-processor graphics card in the world.
This achievement is not without a downside, though. Apart from its high power consumption, price, noise, and temperature, I also mean the time that has passed since the release of the Radeon HD 5870. AMD's top-end graphics cards have been selling freely for months and have as many as six official driver versions already whereas Nvidia's GeForce GTX 480 still has no official driver. Its beta version is still being tested. Such a long delay might have been justified only by an overwhelming advantage (50% and more) in performance over the opponent, but Nvidia cannot claim it.
On the other hand, the problem of high noise and temperature can be solved by installing an alternative cooler many of which have already been announced by the leading graphics card makers. Nvidia also offers such benefits as PhysX and CUDA and, supposedly, higher performance in DirectX 11 games that use tessellation. I have no doubt that the GeForce driver will be optimized further, too. So, this review is just the first look at the new card as we will explore its capabilities in more detail later.
I guess there is something unquestionably positive about Nvidia's newly released product. Tough competition will bring the prices down. This is true for graphics cards like for any other hi-tech devices. When there is only one indisputable leader, it may be good for that leader, but not for end users like all of us. That's why the GeForce GTX 480 is really good news for every gamer, even those who stick to the AMD brand.