NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295 Coming in Januaryby Derek Wilson on December 18, 2008 9:00 AM EST
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With a board power of 289W, this thing isn't going to be cheap to run. Plugging two in a system is going to push the envelope, but 3-way GTX 280 will still consume more power. It is likely that NVIDIA made the changes to memory bandwidth in order to save on a couple hundred megs of RAM that would draw too much more power. Making such a move is definitely sensible, but it is at the highest end (2560x1600 with tons of blur (I mean AA, sorry)) where tons of RAM are needed to push performance.
Of course, with two cards (especially if a game is capable of alternate frame rendering (AFR)), memory limited performance issues will be mitigated quite a bit, and opening up the shader power of two GTX 280 cards in a single slot is big for games that use a lot of compute. The way future games tackle the balance of compute and memory has yet to be seen, but NVIDIA has been saying for years that the future continues to be increasing the compute ratio.
We like hard launches. This isn't one. While that's disappointing, we do really want to get our hands on this hardware. The GTX 295 definitely looks like it will best the Radeon HD 4870 X2 in terms of raw power. Beyond that, it is clear that AMD hasn't taken driver development seriously enough and CrossFire just isn't as robust as SLI. Relying on a CrossFire based solution for their highest end part means it is necessary to provide reliable performance and stability across all games, new and old, and on all platforms. Making user defined profiles that allow the forcing of different CrossFire modes on certain games would go a long way to helping, but the real relief will come when AMD decides to fix their broken driver development model.
As it stands, SLI is a better solution than CrossFire and the GPUs on the GTX 295 will really put the screws to RV770. We will very likely see NVIDIA take back the crown in terms single card performance.
That said, how sad is it that NVIDIA had to go and push this press info out there 3 weeks before availability just to try and slow AMD's momentum during the holiday season.