An elusive version of Nvidia's Fermi chip with the complete set of 512 stream processors may have just reared its head in China.
An anonymous source has reportedly leaked some photos and benchmark screenshots from a GTX 480 with 512 stream processors to Chinese tech site Expreview. The photo of the card shows two eight-pin PCI-E power connectors, rather than the eight-pin and six-pin duo found on standard GTS 480 cards.
As well as this, it appears to only use solid state capacitors, with plenty of yellow Tantalum capacitors covering the board. It looks like quite a different beast from a reference GeForce GTX 480 when you take off the cooler.
However, if the software screenshots are to be believed, then it otherwise has the same specifications as a standard GeForce GTX 480 card. The 1,536MB of GDDR5 memory clocks in at 924MHz (3,696MHz effective), while the GPU clock is set to 701MHz with a 1,401MHz stream processor clock speed.
The only difference in the GPU-Z screenshot (below) is the aforementioned difference in the number of stream processors. Sadly, however, the information on the silicon revision has been scribbled out on both the graphics card photo and the GPU-Z screenshot.
As well as the GPU-Z snap, the site's source has included a screenshot of the Nvidia driver control panel, again showing up 512 stream processors. This is all on the same screen as a 3DMark Vantage score, displaying a 19,857 GPU score and P23904 overall score. This was achieved on a Core i7 920 machine, overclocked to 3.8GHz, although there's sadly no reference score from a standard GeForce GTX 480.
We have to admit we're not entirely convinced by this. It's easy enough to cut and paste a different set of numbers into a software screenshot, and the photo could just be showing a custom overclocked graphics card from a board partner with the cooler taken off.
However, there's also a chance this could be genuine, as we know the Fermi architecture was originally designed to have 512 stream processors, 32 of which are disabled in the standard GeForce GTX 480 GPU.
When the GeForce GTX 480 was originally released, we asked Nvidia whether a future version with 512 stream processors would be a possibility in the future.
"Yes, it's very possible," replied the company's senior technical marketing manager Lars Weinand. Nvidia's UK PR manager Ben Berraondo also point out that "Fermi as an architecture obviously was built with 512 stream processors in mind, and all the GPUs that come off that will be various derivatives."