GIGABYTE GTX 480 GV-N480SO-15I Super Overclock 22

GIGABYTE GTX 480 GV-N480SO-15I Super Overclock Review

Test Setup »

A Closer Look

Gigabyte uses a Vapor Chamber heatsink base to transport heat away quickly from the GPU core to the heatsink. You can also see the thermal pads that keep the memory and VRM circuitry cool.

The 6+8 power input configuration is specified up to 300 W maximum power draw. It would have been nice to see a more beefy configuration here to provide plenty of power for hardcore overclockers. On the other hand, this power configuration will have no problems when the other components in the system are designed for overclocking and of high quality.

This little switch near the edge of the PCB lets you toggle between the normal BIOS and a BIOS especially optimized for LN2 usage. This means that there is no coldbug present, for example. Unfortunately the switch is quite difficult to reach when the card is installed in-case, it should be no problem on an open bench.

Gigabyte has included voltage measurement points for the most important GPU voltages on their card. But those measure points are in a horrible location that is almost impossible to get your measurement probes to, even on an open bench. You always have the possibility to solder your own test leads to the solder pads, but I'd prefer a non-permanent solution.

The GDDR5 memory chips are made by Samsung, and carry the model number K4G10325FE-HC04. They are specified to run at 1250 MHz (5000 MHz GDDR5 effective).

Gigabyte has chosen an NCP5395 as voltage regulator. Compared to the CHiL solution of the reference design, the NCP5395 is less capable, but Gigabyte has paired it with another chip to enhance voltage control and monitoring. Overall the solution seems decent but works only well when used with Gigabyte's own overclocking software.

NVIDIA's GF100 graphics processor is made on a 40 nm process at TSMC Taiwan. It uses approximately 3.2 billion transistors which makes it the most complex GPU built to-date. Please note that the silvery metal surface you see is the heatspreader of the GPU which measures 42.3 x 42.3 mm. The actual GPU die is sitting under the heatspreader, and roughly 526 mm² in size.
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