A Quick Look Under The Hood

Our first concern, upon hearing about this hardware, was whether or not they could fit two of GTX 260 GPUs on a single card without melting PSUs. With only a 6 pin + 8 pin PCIe power configuration, this doesn't seem like quite enough to push the hardware. But then we learned something interesting: the GeForce GTX 295 is the first 55nm part from NVIDIA. Of course, the logical conclusion is that single GPU 55nm hardware might not be far behind, but that's not what we're here to talk about today.


Image courtesy NVIDIA

55nm is only a half node process, so we won't see huge changes in die-size (we don't have one yet, so we can't measure it), but the part should get a little smaller and cheaper to build. As well as a little easier to cool and lower power at the same performance levels (or NVIDIA could choose to push performance a little higher).


Image courtesy NVIDIA

As we briefly mentioned, the GPUs strapped on to this beast aren't your stock GTX 260 or GTX 280 parts. These chips are something like a GTX 280 with one memory channel disabled running at GTX 260 clock speeds. I suppose you could also look at them as GTX 260 ICs with all 10 TPCs enabled. Either way, you end up with something that has higher shader performance than a GTX 260 and lower memory bandwidth and fillrate (remember that ROPs are tied to memory channels, so this new part only has 28 rops instead of 32) than a GTX 280. This is a hybrid part.


Image courtesy NVIDIA

Our first thought was binning (or what AMD calls harvesting), but being that this is also a move to 55nm we have to rethink that. It isn't clear whether this chip will make it's way onto a single GPU board. But if it did, it would likely be capable of higher clock speeds due to the die shrink and would fall between the GTX 260 core 216 and GTX 280 in performance. Of course, this part may not end up on single GPU boards. We'll just have to wait and see.

What is clear, is that this is a solution gunning for the top. It is capable of quad SLI and sports not only two dual-link DVI outputs, but an HDMI out as well. It isn't clear whether all boards built will include the HDMI port the reference board includes, but more flexibility is always a good thing.


Image courtesy NVIDIA

Index Preliminary Thoughts
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  • nyran125 - Friday, January 09, 2009 - link

    I dont understand why people even bother buying any of these cards when an 8800 GTS ultra or GTS 512mb which are alot cheaper than any of these cards are running the latest games right now with AA on and as we speak on Maximum graphics. No games out right now are even close to Crysis technology graphically and an 8800gts or ultra runs it smooth as. Why waste your money on these cards? When its going to be awhile before we even get any games looking better than Crysis. Reply
  • smlforever - Friday, December 26, 2008 - link

    hey !!! i cant't enter chinese this website why? Reply
  • smlforever - Friday, December 26, 2008 - link

    ????????,HD4850?GTX9800GTX+????
    ATI???NIVIDA?,??????,?NFS12??COD5?
    ?????
    Reply
  • falko2904 - Friday, December 19, 2008 - link

    I just found the EVGA GeForce GTX 260 SSC at BUY.com for $211.99 with free shipping, with an instant coupon good through 01/04/09 for $30 off, bringing the cost to $181.99, with a PayPal purchase you get $15 cash back from PayPal (not instant, though), bringing the cost to 176.99, with a $10 MIR from EVGA it brings the price to 166.99.


    WOW!!

    Here is the link:

    http://www.buy.com/prod/evga-geforce-gtx-260-ssc-8...">http://www.buy.com/prod/evga-geforce-gt...ed-video...

    The instant coupon is not evident, but appears when you add it to the cart. I was considering a EVGA 9800GTX until I found this. Bought it.
    Reply
  • falko2904 - Tuesday, December 23, 2008 - link

    I see that I failed math, the discounted prices should be $166.99 after PayPal, and $156.99 after MIR.

    And I see people talking smack about the 192/216/240 core products. When a company markets a product, initially there are production problems and errors that will cause the yield of the product to be affected. One way to overcome this is with the ability to disable the failed or questionable sections of the chip. This increases per wafer yield and reduces waste and lost income, and reduces the cost of all bin levels of the product to be reduced to acceptable levels. You can hack and re-enable features, taking the chance that you got a product that was misbinned or manages to barely pass the tests. Further along in production the company is forced to misbin product to meet the demand of the lower binned products. These can usually be up-featured with a hack with reasonable assurance it will work reliably. These companies are in the business of profit, but do not for the most part gouge their customers. It is the reality of a business that requires multibillion dollar investments every time the have to setup a production line for a product that uses a new process.

    Another way to look at this is that you are paying for a given set of features, if you do not agree with the price for that set of features, then don't buy it. When you buy Windows Vista Home Premium, that DVD contains all Windows Vista versions, but you only get to enable the features you paid for.
    Reply
  • SiliconDoc - Wednesday, December 24, 2008 - link

    You're another one that has bought the idiot's line. I guess you assume that just the correct amount of shaders are magically errored on the 192 for instance, so they disabled them and released the card as such. I'm sorry you're that stupid.
    Reply
  • Razorbladehaze - Friday, December 19, 2008 - link

    OK so i will start out saying that the performance numbers from 5 of my usual daily online tech mags, look similar. That's Good. The performance of the GT295 looks to be the tops after release (as long as this soft release isn't a facade for retail performance, which i don't think will be the case). I'm impressed.

    Personally im my experince and my friends' experiences i will have to agree with what some on here have mentioned that CrossfireX is more stable, and usually performs better across a range of uses. But this continues to be a mostly subjective (as opposed to objective = evidence based)topic.

    But what really had me want to write this posting is this...

    The only objective nVidia had in this release was to take back the performance crown. This product was never in a release schedule, and was reactionary. Usually this results in a sloppy product, but let's hope that's not the case. It is obvious that they tested the idea of two GT260s/GT260-216 (Im guessing the 280's failed as well especially with power/performance ratio)and neither configuration bested the 4870x2. So once again they tweaked their GPU's and crammed this into a new process (making me nervous), to make this card competitive.

    So this is really not bad, but what is... is that Nvidia is not really pushing their own agenda. This speaks really poorly for Nvidia's state of affairs and for what company stands.

    Nivida has been renaming previous products to give a fresh look (something ATI also did with 9550/X1050 and to a lesser degree with 2600/2400/3400/3600 hardware) and some slight tweaking to deceive and take advantage of the consumer.

    Nvidia is also guilty of fraudulent behavior and will not own up to it(rambus), and has really bad recent quality control problems (8600/8800's/8600m/chipsets both pc & macbooks) in their manufacturing processes.

    Being on top is a Great thing, but it's also how you got there.

    Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but rather we have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.
    - Aristotle

    I wish i could send this to Nvidia's top people and counsel them on what it means and how they should apply it to their company.
    Reply
  • SiliconDoc - Sunday, December 21, 2008 - link

    In other words, sir, the proper DISSING is this:
    The GTX260 192 is just a crippled GTX260 216 (or one would say because of order - the 260/216 is an uncripppled 260 192)
    We KNOW they told us - and now we see they have taken the 260 and enabled all 240 shaders...
    So what they DO - do - is cripple cards, when not crippling them won't cost a dime more.
    See, they whack their own product to make more "products" so they can get hype and tiers and dollars and bean counters and enthusiasts going gaga over it all.
    Both videocard companies do it, and that's what should make us al sick, because they are spending a LOT OF MONEY doing it - and it would be MUCH CHEAPER to just make a MUCH CHEAPER line of higher end cards without all the whack daddy crippling and finagling they do.
    Can you even imagine how many bean counting guru's and cheeseheads it takes to devise all the various flavors with chops and slices to the exact parts of the cores and the bios or the pcb design or whatever, they need to whack to get it done ?
    See, that's what they are doing.
    Just like long after Intel had multiple public fits over overclocking - the decided the gigantic "unlocked EE" overclocking mega $$$$ product was "cool" - and went insane selling it.
    So that's what they are doing - hacking around - and only letting out the "good stuff" at a very high price, even though - it doesn't cost to let more out the door with much higher performance - but chopping and hacking makes for busy bee work...
    ( we've seen the bios hacks that unlock crippled features - and there's a whole lot more crippling going on )
    Reply
  • Razorbladehaze - Sunday, December 21, 2008 - link

    Okay so the ignorance is clear in that this poster missed the whole message in what I posted. Reply
  • SiliconDoc - Thursday, December 25, 2008 - link

    " Things are starting out pretty well for the new GeForce GTX 295 card - it is able to thwomp the AMD Radeon HD 4870 X2 card in all resolutions tested! At 16x12 the GTX 295 has a 28% performance edge, at 20x15 it has a 23% lead and at 25x16 the new GTX 295 wins by 25% on average frame rate. Just as importantly, the minimum frame rates are also much much higher with the NVIDIA solutions, even the GTX 260+ is ahead of the HD 4870 X2 in this regard."

    Awwww... http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=651&type=...">http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=651&type=...

    Notice the last line ?
    " even the GTX 260+ is ahead of the HD 4870 X2 in this regard "

    YES, someone tells the truth.

    Reply

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