The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 470 SOC edition is by far one of the more fascinating products we have tested to date. Obviously the ghost that haunts the GeForce GTX 470 and 480 series are heat and noise, and that simply is obliterated by Gigabyte's PCB and cooling design.
Gigabyte balanced and fine tuned this product to acceptable heat levels hovering at roughly 80 degrees C under full stress, yet managed to create a near inaudible noise level, and that's just what the doctor ordered !
Everybody knows and understands that the GeForce GTX 470/480 series needs proper cooling. We've been saying it from the get-go, we especially are very charmed by liquid cooling solutions on these products as it allows you to bring your graphics card to an entirely new dimension.
Is there a downside of the cooling solution then ? Absolutely .. the majority of heat is dumped inside the PC and not properly exhausted. So make sure you have a properly ventilated PC with a good air intake, flow and exhaust. Very important.
The card itself behaved quite well, the new series 257/258 series drivers from NVIDIA give the GTX 470 a little boost in performance. What surprised me is that the product hasn't been clocked higher at default. As you have been able to see in our overclock session, the overclock potential of this card is really good, not grand though.
Just grab an overclock application like Gigabyte's own software of just take AfterBurner which works fine with this card, give it a little extra voltage if you desire to do so, increase fan RPM a little to say 70%~75% and then the sky is the limit. We managed to push 800 MHz on the core without too much hassle, that is 1600 MHz on the shader domain and the memory overclock at 4000 MHz (effective data-rate) wasn't shoddy either.
From what we measured, this card consumes roughly 215 Watts when 100% utilized, compared to the competition that's too high, but we discussed the Fermi TDP many times already, nothing new there. It is a choice you have to make.
So overall we really like what Gigabyte did here with this SOC model, the custom cooler is certainly really good and you'll notice severe improvement in cooling at an absolute low noise level. The biggest difficulty obviously remains ATI, lined up against the GTX 470 would be the Radeon HD 5850 which can be purchased at 275 EUR these days saving you roughly 50 EUR while consuming less power with its TDP at 170W. The reality however is that the SOC edition is competing with the similar priced Radeon HD 5870, thanks to it's pre-overclock.
That product could make more sense if the price is right. But, this product comes pre-overclocked and you'd also forfeit on PhysX and CUDA though.
Whatever your choice may be, Gigabyte did a really nice job on the GeForce GTX 470, they transformed and morphed it into a product with a somewhat bad reputation to something really nice and inaudible. TDP remains high, but other then that this card is very much recommended. But make sure you have proper ventilation in your PC chassis though.
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