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by Rob Williams on November 10, 2010 in NVIDIA-Based GPU

NVIDIA launched its first Fermi-based GPU earlier this year in the form of the GeForce GTX 480, and it was met with mixed reception. Until now, it’s been the fastest single-GPU offering on the market, but certain downsides kept it from being the first-choice of many. Does NVIDIA’s first proper follow-up fix all that was wrong?

StarCraft II

Of all the games we test, it might be this one that needs no introduction. Back in 1998, Blizzard unleashed what was soon to be one of the most successful RTS titles on the planet, and even as of today, the original is still heavily played all around the world – even in actual competitions. StarCraft II of course had a lot of hype to live up to, and it did, thanks to its intense gameplay and superb graphics.

StarCraft II

Manual Run-through: The portion of the game we use for testing is part of the Zero Hour mission, which has us holding fort until we’re able to evacuate. Our saved game starts us in the middle of the mission, and from the get-go, we build a couple of buildings and concurrently move our main units up and around the map. Total playtime lasts about two minutes.

StarCraft II is a good-looking game, but it doesn’t require a powerhouse to run. In fact, at most resolutions, cards like the GTX 580 just can’t be touched. It’s the higher resolutions when that card begins to strut its stuff, settling in beside our HD 6870 CrossFireX configuration.

Graphics Card
Best Playable
Min FPS
Avg. FPS
AMD HD 5970 2GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
55
89.972
NVIDIA GTX 580 1280MB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
40
82.005
AMD HD 6870 1GB (CrossFireX)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
48
81.989
NVIDIA GTX 480 1536MB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
25
72.674
AMD HD 6850 1GB (CrossFireX)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
40
71.905
AMD HD 5870 1GB (Sapphire)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
31
57.28
NVIDIA GTX 470 1280MB (EVGA)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
20
55.961
NVIDIA GTS 450 1GB (SLI)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
32
52.565
AMD HD 6870 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
34
52.115
AMD HD 5850 1GB (ASUS)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
32
48.787
AMD HD 6850 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
26
44.456
NVIDIA GTX 460 1GB (EVGA)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
25
41.306
AMD HD 5830 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
20
32.986
NVIDIA GTS 450 1GB (ASUS)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
19
32.561
AMD HD 5770 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – Ultra Detail, 0xAA
17
30.515
AMD HD 5750 1GB (Sapphire)
2560×1600 – High Detail, 0xAA
23
37.297
NVIDIA GTS 450 1GB (ASUS)
2560×1600 – High Detail, 0xAA
22
33.331

It goes without saying, on a card like the GTX 580, you can run any settings you please, at any resolution. If only more games were like this!


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