After a very long development process, plagued with manufacturing problems and hassles, NVIDIA finally managed to finish its first DirectX 11 capable graphics cards. And there is one thing certain: if he was alive today and understood computer hardware, nuclear physicist Enrico Fermi would be proud to have the platform named after him. The infamously long-in-development Graphics Fermi 100 (GF100) chips that started production in January this year have finally made their way onto the GeForce GTX 470 & 480 cards.
The results are incredible. They soundly destroy their closest AMD/ATI competitor, the Radeon HD 5870, and elevate the bar to an insanely high standard. The most impressive component of this card is the Tessellation Engine, and its near-linear scaling bodies allow for a practically flawless SLI setup. The 480 has 480 CUDA cores with 1536 MB of GDDR5 RAM, while the 470 has 448 cores and 1280 MB.
While this is all very impressive, one wonders if it is actually worth buying. The power consumption on the GTX 480 is an absolute disaster, after all, requiring a 600W PSU for a single card, and a minimum of a 1000W for SLI. Power users might need to consider something on the order of a 1200W PSU. And there is still no word on OpenGL 4.0 support. All this is coupled with the fact the 480 costs $500 and the 470 costs $350, meaning the HD 5870 is far from dead. The Fermi line might need some work before it becomes practical for many people to use. This card is more like the Intel Core i7 980X of graphics than anything else.
It will be out on April 12 for those who want to play Crysis while running up their energy bill.