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DX11 Graphics Cards High End Roundup June 2010

by Stuart Davidson - 16th June 2010
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DirectX 11 Graphics Cards - Roundup


Sapphire Radeon HD 5970 Toxic
With their Toxic edition card it is clear that Sapphire have gone out to create a real premium product. The blue PCB kicks off the redesign and is followed by a new cooler which runs very quiet and keeps both cores on the card at very reasonable temperatures. When we consider that these are heavily overclocked cores the temperatures become all the more impressive. Sapphire didnt stop there though; they added an extra 2GB of GDDR5 compared to the reference design, ensuring that this is a product which is well suited to high resolution or multi-display gaming.

In addition to all of these enhancements the 5970 Toxic also overclocked reasonably well and retains all of the good features which make the Radeon 5000 series so impressive, such as its excellent HDMI audio solution, support for DirectX11 and acceleration of Blu-Ray content.

There will be those who feel the price of the Toxic is too high but Sapphire are targeting a niche customer with this card and for those consumers money really is not an issue.

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Asus Matrix 5870 Platinum

In the last few years Asus have been dabbling in customised card designs to varying degrees. Whether it be voltage boosts, enhanced cooling or limited edition designs they have all brought the company to the release of the Matrix. Designed to be a true mass market card the Matrix provides some fantastic revisions to the reference card ATI created, ensuring that this factory overclocked model performs great out of the box but also a load of fun to use thanks to huge flexibility. Out of the box the 900MHz core speed and an additional GB of memory give users great performance but the iTracker utility and profiles allow us to take advantage of the cards potential whilst maintaining noise levels at a rating below that of the reference design. Consumers are asked to pay an extra £90 for the Matrix over a standard version but this is one of those cases where it really is worth finding the extra cash.
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Zotac GTX 480
Zotac base their GTX 480 around a very solid reference design from Nvidia and as a result we have a card which offers great performance and features. Flexibility is what the GTX series is all about and the GTX 480 gives us the best Nvidia has to offer in single GPU DirectX gaming mixed with excellent PhysX performance and great features such as 3D Vision and an ever increasing catalogue of GPU computing applications which enhance the performance of everyday tasks such as video encoding. When pairing two of the cards together we end up with a product which is capable of beating Sapphires 5970 Toxic in gaming, a great achievement, though the power draw, temperatures produced and noise levels experienced are not going to suit everyone. That said, Zotac will soon bring to market a factory overclocked model with enhanced cooling which looks to be a hugely desirable product. Finally, it is also worth noting that Zotac offer a 5-year Warranty on their cards.
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Palit GeForce GTX 470
It is hard not to be impressed by Palits take on the GTX 470 as they have improved on many aspects of the reference design.  From a better selection of display outputs to a smaller PCB the initial impressions are positive. Then when actually using the card lower noise levels, temperatures and power draw add to the overall experience. It would have been nice to see at least a small overclock on this model to separate it in performance from the reference design but that is a minor issue in an otherwise excellent product which gives us all of the features of the GTX 480 in a much smaller, cooler, quieter package.
Product Award

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 470
Despite sticking to the reference design much of what we said about the custom GTX 470 card can be applied to Gigabytes model. It takes all of the great features of the GTX 480 including support for DirectX11, PhysX and 3D Vision then packs it into a smaller package with lower noise levels. There is obviously a difference in performance between the 480 and 470 but at the moment Gigabytes card retails for £150 less which gives it a very desirable price to performance ratio. We were also pleased to see Gigabyte bundle a good quality HDMI cable with this model which increases the value aspect even further. If a reference design 470 is on the shopping list then there is little reason to look for anything other than Gigabyte.
Product Award

Gainward GeForce GTX 465
When we reviewed a reference design GTX 465 a few weeks back we found that it was an impressive card which brought the GTX 400 series features to their lowest price point yet. For cards based on the reference design it is quite tempting to suggest consumers save up for a little longer and buy a GTX 470 however Gainwards decision to redesign the card makes their version of the GTX 465 much more appealing than the reference model in a market where this range is priced a little close to the next model up. Thanks to a smaller PCB, improved output selection, reduced power draw, lower temperatures and more importantly quieter operation the Gainward GTX 465 becomes a card which will suit a large number of consumers. Whether it is in a desktop powering DirectX11 titles or forming the basis of a HTPC the Gainward model is the best GTX 465 we have seen so far.
Product Award

Detailed Score Breakdown and Pricing

Sapphire Radeon HD 5970 TOXIC

Available from: OCUK - £970

ASUS Matrix 5870 Platinum

Available from: OCUK - £410

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 480

Available from: OCUK - £440

Palit GeForce GTX 470


Gigabyte GeForce GTX 470

Available from: KIKATEK - £284

Gainward GeForce GTX 465

Available from: OCUK - £257

What do these awards mean?
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