The GeForce GTX 480 graphics card is the new flagship GPU from NVIDIA. Based on the Fermi architecture, it has 480 stream processors, 1.5GB of GDDR5 memory, full support for DirectX 11, three display outputs (2 DVI, 1 mini-HDMI), and requires both a 6-pin and 8-pin power connector be plugged in for it to operate. This Ephex Elite computer has – wait for it… – three
of those in a tri-SLI configuration, providing more graphics power than you can shake a stick at! Since a 600W power supply is recommended for supporting a single one of these, you might begin to understand why there is a 1.5 kilowatt PSU involved.
The folks at Maingear decided to fit a 360mm Koolance liquid cooling
system on these top-of-the-line GPUs. This way, the trio of GTX 480s
stays cool while making less noise than the stock heatsink/fans would.
Keep in mind, however, that the radiator fans and pump themselves are
not silent. As I mentioned earlier, the entire thing is self-contained
within the chassis; no radiator hanging off the rear or anything like
I didn’t mess around with any overclocking, but there is certain to be at least some headroom for that since GPU temperatures usually peak in the 70 degrees C range. That applies to the CPU, as well, since it is also connected to the liquid circuit and will hover around a similar or slightly lower number. You can’t go too crazy with it, though, since there is only a finite amount of heat the fluid can dissipate, being not so much a super-high performance setup as it is a quieter replacement for stock air cooling. Overclocking anything would be a matter of finding a safe balance that the cooling system can handle effectively, just like it always is.
Though all of this graphical horsepower will scoff at even the most demanding of games, it will truly be put to the test when you decide to run them in stereoscopic 3D. Since we’re talking NVIDIA here, there is full support for 3D Vision using their slick wireless LCD shutter glasses. The nature of this technology dictates that the GPUs will need to work twice as hard to maintain a smooth framerate for both eyes, so all of that extra muscle is sure to come in handy. All you need to do is connect a 120Hz display to one of the video cards, attach the IR control sensor via USB, charge up the glasses (also via USB), and you’re good to go!