Nvidia GeForce GTX 480 SLI vs. ATI Radeon HD 5870 Crossfire

Recently we repeated the battle between the high-end Nvidia GeForce GTX 400 and ATI Radeon HD 5000 series of graphics cards with updated drivers and a new testing method that eliminated all demos of all time.

The results were a bit unexpected as the GeForce GTX 480 returned results that were closer to the Radeon HD 5870 than before. The GeForce GTX 480 was for the most part even faster, but considering the price, power consumption and operating temperatures, the Radeon HD 5870 simply makes more sense from a value perspective.

The game between the cheaper Radeon HD 5850 and the GeForce GTX 470 was even more one-sided: In the games we tested, the ATI card offers better performance, operational efficiency and a much better price-performance ratio.

For our tests, we ran games at 1920 x 1200 resolution because we believed that most people who buy one of these high-end graphics cards would likely use this. The fact that 23- and 24-inch LCD monitors are very affordable these days, selling for a tiny fraction of what they did a few years ago, is helping make that resolution even more mainstream.

But for those of you who want to take things to the next level: play at 2560 x 1600 with 30-inch displays and beyond. For extreme users who don't necessarily care about value, power consumption or even heat … who offers the best gaming solution?

This question leads us to a new showdown between ATI and Nvidia, only this time with a pair of GeForce GTX 480 graphics cards in SLI versus a pair of Radeon HD 5870 with Crossfire technology.

To many of us, the prospect of spending $ 400 on a Radeon HD 5870 graphics card seems a little insane, let alone the $ 500 Nvidia charges for the GeForce GTX 480. It goes without saying that those who are willing and able to buy two of these powerful graphics cards are in the minority. Such configurations exist, however, and those of you who wish to venture down this path will be interested in checking our results.

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