As will have been suggested by that last sentence, video outputs consist of a mini-HDMI and two dual-link DVI-I. The latter can be converted to VGA, HDMI, or DisplayPort with appropriate adapters. The mini-HDMI port can be used to pull the audio signal from your PCs sound card and pass it out to a TV or monitor with speakers giving you a neat single cable solution. However, unlike ATI, you can’t do the same with the DVI ports and the latest lossless compressed audio formats (DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD, as used on Blu-rays) aren’t supported, though arguably these are very niche formats.
Also, though Nvidia makes a big deal about the GTX 400 series being able to do surround- and 3D surround-gaming with three monitors, one card can only support two monitors at once. You will in fact need two cards in SLI if you want surround gaming. ATI’s HD 5000 series, on the other hand, can output to three monitors from a single card.
The only things that mark this card out as being built by Zotac are the various stickers applied to the fan shroud – the card hasn’t been overclocked or tweaked in any other way from the reference Nvidia design. Like most of the other board partners, Zotac will be releasing an overclocked version shortly, though.
Looking at the raw numbers of these cards, there’s little to be concluded when comparing ATI to Nvidia as the two companies use such differing architectures. However, we can at least compare cards within the two companies.
Most notable is the GTX 480 has twice the number of Stream Processors (or CUDA cores as Nvidia now calls them) as its predecessor the GTX 285. Combined with an increase in ROPs and clock speed it’s fair to expect the GTX 480 to be considerably faster than the GTX 285. You may notice that the memory interface has dropped in width from 512 bits wide to just 384. This won’t, however, result in a drop in performance as the GTX 480 uses much faster GDDR5 memory.
The GTX 295 and HD 5970 both use two graphics chips on a single card to bolster their performance, which explains the enormous raw numbers we see in the table above. This solution can have great benefits for performance if the card works correctly but it’s much more prone to compatibility issues, and these cards can sometimes perform worse than single chip equivalents. As such we’re always wary of recommending these dual-chip cards.