NVIDIA's GTX480 card has been spotted frequently across the internet, with pictures of the reference board shown, compared against the ATI HD5970, and even specifications posted; but today we're only going to show you how to pull one apart.
The GTX480's reference heatsink is unique compared to a huge array of more common designs; first and foremost due to its external radiator that vents heat directly off the surface of the card. While it still features a squirrel-cage intake fan at one end, and passes most of the air outside the rear of the chassis, this radiator hints at a heat load that is atypical of most high-end cards.
As the specs that have leaked suggest, the 250W TDP of the GTX480 card would require some serious cooling - which is why the heatsink appears to have been constructed predominantly from nickel-plated aluminium or copper. Five large heatpipes lie across the core, taking heat away to dump the load into the fins, while an aluminium frame lies across the Samsung memory chips.
It's not as intricately pieced together as the sandwich-esque GTX295, nor is it as simple as ATI's 4890, but the GTX480 strikes an even ground somewhere between the two. So, with that in mind, you'll need a few things to get you started:
- Philips head screwdrivers
- Isopropyl alcohol or your favourite thermal goop cleaner
- Anti-static wristband (never a bad idea)
- Plenty of space with good lighting
With everything ready, dive into the gallery of pics to see how to rip into NVIDIA's GTX480 card.
Also check out how to pull apart the NVIDIA GTX470!
UPDATE: Well, that was fun while it lasted.
Nvidia has contacted us and told us "We'd really appreciate it if you took down your article". What followed was a frank discussion that I think hit the salient points of which are worth sharing.
The truth of the matter is simple: we broke an NDA (dated for the 27th of March), and Nvidia has every right to be upset with us. We get that, but here's our counter-reasoning, which we shared in no uncertain terms.
Atomic, in its online incarnation, is a news site. Our job is to be timely and informative, so when we see many other sites who are either breaking NDA themselves to publish information, or who never signed an NDA in the first place yet nonetheless seem to have access to product and information that rivals our own, we get a little annoyed. Here's a few examples, which we asked Nvidia about on Monday, but got no response. Hell, full benchmarks are even showing up!
So this time, we decided to play hardball - after all, the online space is a highly competitive field. When sticking to NDAs in the past, in the face of other sites that either flaunt them or never signed them in the first place, it has hurt the reach and timeliness of our coverage. Nvidia may believe that Australian users only read Australian sites, but we know for a fact that the internet is a medium without borders - smart readers look to whatever site will get them the news they want first.
Nvidia, however, believes the NDA is sacrosanct. We've been told that other sites that have broken it will get similar calls to the one we just had, and be threatened with similar consequences: never receiving direct Nvidia support again. We've also been told that Nvidia has no control over the sites that haven't signed NDAs, and it can only assume that their news and photography comes from "partners that Nvidia cannot control".
All of which doesn't help us much, when it seems that signing and sticking to an NDA is simply a good way to be beaten to a story. However, at the end of the day, we don't want to end up on Nvidia's blacklist, and Nvidia told us today that's pretty much what will happen if we don't play ball, and it's what will happen to any other site.
So, the time for hardball is over, and we're removing the gallery until the NDA drops in a day or so's time. We've been assured that other sites will also be forced to follow suit, and that if they don't they will be left out in the cold in future - we're very keen to see if that's the case.
- David Hollingworth, Editor.