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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480 Fermi
Graphics Cards
Written by Danrok   
Monday, 29 March 2010 15:29

From techPowerUp:

Finally! Today NVIDIA releases their highly anticipated GeForce GTX 480 and GeForce GTX 470 cards. While the initial announcement of the Fermi architecture was back in 2009, the actual cards are being released just now.
NVIDIA has radically redesigned their GPU in order to bring maximum performance for DirectX 11 - especially tesselation. You can read more about the Fermi architecture here.

The specifications are certainly interesting. Instead of using all 512 shaders which are physically present inside the GPU, NVIDIA has chosen to disable one SM on the GTX 480 and two SMs on the GTX 470. I marked one SM red in the picture above, but it can be any one of the 16 that are present inside the GPU. As a result, NVIDIA's flagship GeForce GTX 480 comes with "only" 480 shaders. While unfortunate, this move makes NVIDIA's life much easier on several levels. First of all, they can build more cards out of the GPUs they get back from TSMC. Even if a slight defect is present in the silicon which would make some shaders unusable that chip can still be harvested into a shipping product. Another benefit is that the lower shader count reduces the power consumption of the card which affects heat and fan noise too. Last but not least it gives NVIDIA the option to release a higher performing Fermi-based single GPU card quickly if it should be needed.

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