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NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 480 finally unleashed. Reviewed and rated.

by Tarinder Sandhu on 26 March 2010, 23:00


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The anatomy of cooling

Unclip the plastic top and the cooling is exposed. The radial fan pushes ambient air across the heatsink and, for the most part, out of the back of the card. The heatsink gets mighty warm, mind you, and is dangerously hot to touch when the GPU is under load.

Looking at it from the side, five heatpipes make contact with the GPU and are then routed through the heatsink-block.

The curving heatpipes don't interfere with any board-mounted component on an ASUS P6X58D motherboard, however.

Notice how the heatpipes are in direct contact with the GPU itself? The design is much like a high-end CPU cooler's, save for the fact that this heatsink needs to dissipate almost twice the wattage.

Laid semi-bare, the GPU isn't quite as big as it seems on first glance. NVIDIA uses core protection around the GeForce GTX 480 GPU, and it's practically impossible to get a view of the actual processing unit.

The all-in-one heatsink also covers the 12 GDDR5 memory chips - with two feeding a 64-bit pathway - that make up the card's 1,536MB frame-buffer. The chips are of the same density (1,024Mbit) as found on the Radeon HD 58x0 GPUs, albeit clocked lower. We'd have shown you the chips if someone hadn't burred the heatsink-retaining screws.