I think it was one day before the GTX 580 launched when we received an email from Gigabyte, "Hey Hilbert, would you guys like to review our new GeForce GTX 480 SOC edition?"
And I replied back, are you sure you did not mean GTX 580 ? And no, it was confirmed, Gigabyte has been working long and hard on a special edition of the GTX 480, the SOC, Super Overclock, version. A card with rather spectacular cooling, faster clocks and a card that should remain silent.
Puzzled whether or not I wanted to spend time on a product series that will go EOL I figured, well that factory overclock is immensely high for a GTX 480, if it performs roughly as well as the GTX 580 card, and if all other variables are right and if the price is right (just under the GTX 580) then Gigabyte definitely deserves at the very least a review on the product from our side.
And so we accepted to review a card that seems a little weird to be released right after the GTX 580 launch. But yeah, as our review will show, the card really is remarkably good, roughly as fast as the GTX 580, and then its that cooling, that amazing WindForce 3 cooling solution that Gigabyte applies to all their enthusiast segmented products.
This card is labeled under SKU code GV-N480SO-15I and comes with Dual BIOS technology, a SOC Default BIOS and one LN2 BIOS. Selectable by pressing a simple LED based button. The LN2 mode is of course for extreme overclocking to prevent potential cold bug issues.
The card is clocked at Core/Mem clock: 820 (std 700) / 3800 (std 3696) MHz, which is definitely a nice clock frequency alright. The card has a 14 phase PWM design (12 phases for GPU; 2 phase for memory) and comes with 12 power phase status LED indicators.
Sounds good, looks good ... but is it any good ? Have a peek and then lets find out, shall we?
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