Now that we have some hardware in our hands and NVIDIA has formally launched the GeForce GTX 295, we are very interested in putting it to the test. NVIDIA's bid to reclaim the halo is quite an interesting one. If you'll remember from our earlier article on the hardware, the GTX 295 is a dual GPU card that features two chips that combine aspects of the GTX 280 and the GTX 260. The expectation should be that this card will fall between GTX 280 SLI and GTX 260 core 216 SLI.

As for the GTX 295, the GPUs have the TPCs (shader hardware) of the GTX 280 with the memory and pixel power of the GTX 260. This hybrid design gives it lots of shader horsepower with less RAM and raw pixel pushing capability than GTX 280 SLI. This baby should perform better than GTX 260 SLI and slower than GTX 280 SLI. Here are the specs:

Our card looks the same as the one in the images provided by NVIDIA that we posted in December. It's notable that the GPUs are built at 55nm and are clocked at the speed of a GTX 260 despite having the shader power of the GTX 280 (x2).

We've also got another part coming down the pipe from NVIDIA. The GeForce GTX 285 is a 55nm part that amounts to an overclocked GTX 280. Although we don't have any in house yet, this new card was announced on the 8th and will be available for purchase on the 15th of January 2009.

There isn't much to say on the GeForce GTX 285: it is an overclocked 55nm GTX 280. The clock speeds compare as follows:


Core Clock Speed (MHz) Shader Clock Speed (MHz) Memory Data Rate (MHz)
GTX 280 602 1296 2214
GTX 285 648 1476 2484


We don't have performance data for the GTX 285 yet, but expect it (like the GTX 280 and GTX 295) to be necessary only with very large displays.

  GTX 295 GTX 285 GTX 280 GTX 260 Core 216 GTX 260 9800 GTX+
Stream Processors 2 x 240 240 240 216 192 128
Texture Address / Filtering 2 x 80 / 80 80 / 80 80 / 80 72/72 64 / 64 64 / 64
ROPs 28 32 32 28 28 16
Core Clock 576MHz 648MHz 602MHz 576MHz 576MHz 738MHz
Shader Clock 1242MHz 1476MHz 1296MHz 1242MHz 1242MHz 1836MHz
Memory Clock 999MHz 1242MHz 1107MHz 999MHz 999MHz 1100MHz
Memory Bus Width 2 x 448-bit 512-bit 512-bit 448-bit 448-bit 256-bit
Frame Buffer 2 x 896MB 1GB 1GB 896MB 896MB 512MB
Transistor Count 2 x 1.4B 1.4B 1.4B 1.4B 1.4B 754M
Manufacturing Process TSMC 55nm TSMC 55nm TSMC 65nm TSMC 65nm TSMC 65nm TSMC 55nm
Price Point $500 $??? $350 - $400 $250 - $300 $250 - $300 $150 - 200

For this article will focus heavily on the performance of the GeForce GTX 295, as we've already covered the basic architecture and specifications. We will recap them and cover the card itself on the next page, but for more detail see our initial article on the subject.

The Test

Test Setup
CPU Intel Core i7-965 3.2GHz
Motherboard ASUS Rampage II Extreme X58
Video Cards ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2
ATI Radeon HD 4870 1GB
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260
Video Drivers Catalyst 8.12 hotfix
ForceWare 181.20
Hard Drive Intel X25-M 80GB SSD
RAM 6 x 1GB DDR3-1066 7-7-7-20
Operating System Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit SP1
PSU PC Power & Cooling Turbo Cool 1200W

Age of Conan Performance
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  • Hxx - Saturday, January 17, 2009 - link

    Do you actually read what you post or what you reply to? You make no sense sir, I never said Corvettes are not worth the money lol, or that they are a waste of money. Honestly, I don't wanna argue with you, but you surely don't act like an adult, as you previously posted. Bottom line is that this particular card is not worth $500,that has been my whole point right from the beginning. It doesn't bring a noticeable performance lead over the older video cards available, such as the 4870 x2.Now you can act like an Nvidia fanboy and say that i'm full of *** or you can take it as a given.
  • SiliconDoc - Sunday, January 18, 2009 - link

    If you didn't post your BS, you wouldn't be making a fool of yourself in argument. Clearly you blabbered out total crap your first post, and it has been utterly refuted, and not just by me but by other posters in this thread.
    Heck you even refuted yourself, as I pointed out.
    What card you do or don't have makes absolutely ZERO difference, since you slapped yourself down and still pretend you can't comprehend that. In fact you can't even comprehend a metaphor - Corvette flunky.
    Now, after you yapped 500 is too expensive, you yakkered 400 is not, then you blabbered electric costs don't matter to anyone buying a high end card, which would - wether you admit it or not, include the 4870x2, which you, once again blabbered is a good affordable price, before and after you blabbered these high end cards are out of reasonable cost range, and quacked I couldn't understand such a thing, but I do indeed understand YOUR OPINION, and HOW FALSE IT IS, proven so by your OWN WORDS.
    Now, you want to claim all you ever said was "blah bloah blah bla h4870x2"...
    Well, you said a lot more, and yeah, you should take nearly all of it back, since the majority was BS - full of contradiction.
    Stating your peace without blabbering lies that contradict your former spewing is apparently nowhere in your repetiore of posting skills.
    Others disagree with your stupidity as well, and have posted as much, no need for them to have directed it at you.
    Let me remind you, YOU blabbered this at ME, you initiated your little SPEW here, and the very FIRST thing you did was throw an INSULT:
    " you obviously have no clue about video cards or you cannot afford one, which explains your attitude. First off the 4870 x2 is an awesome card much faster than any other card available except the 295. Second, it is reasonably priced at 400 after mir which is not bad for a high end product. This card can run every game out there just as good as the gtx 295. There is no difference between the two because once the game runs at 35 fps or above you will not notice a difference. In other words, the 16 fps difference in cod5 between the cards has no value because the game plays fine at 40fps. The gtx 295 priced at $500 is a waste of money....................."

    No go BLOW your stupid lies at someone else, someone DUMB enough to buy your total BS.
  • totenkopf - Sunday, January 18, 2009 - link

    All of you guys are ridiculous. It's good to see that brand loyalty is all it takes to reduce you all to a rabble of immature E-men. The only incorrect thing here is this unyielding and blind loyalty. Utility dictates that none of you are really wrong, just misled :)

    The 295 is an awesome card. Period. Even though it only gets marginally better frames than it's rival in many cases, it's still the undisputed champion of the graphics realm.

    CUDA and Physx (or whatever) have a severely limited value to many folks. Certainly, one buying this card will want all of those bells to goes with his whistles, but they are not necessary (nor are they necessarily welcome for the debatably small premium you pay). However, there is a small chance they will become widely supported in the lifespan of this card, and therefore useful.

    Frankly, I believe power consumption is really a silly thing to argue about. It's not like the difference in idle power is going to pay for the price difference between cards. While I like saving polar bears, they aren't going to influence this one luxury item I might afford myself.

    The biggest thing is the price difference. Most of the 4870x2s look like regular old reference boards so if I were to get one I would surely be getting a $400 one with MIR (at that price it makes the gtx285 a terrible value). I think the cheapest 295 I saw was $479. When every dollar counts it's a tough decision of which to get. If you're buying a new system that's a cooler and optical drive, or maybe an upgrade to a raptor. If you are just upgrading that's still a new game or mouse. Maybe I'm just cheap :) The best bet for 1900x1200 may now be the gtx280 @ $300 after MIR before the gtx285 makes it disappear. Or perhaps a $220 4870 1Gb for ~$220 with MIR (Value/performance and possible upgrade for super cheap later if you have the right PSU).

    I know one thing for sure: Without the hd4000 series and the 4870x2, the gtx280 would still cost $500+ and the gtx295 would cost $750-$850 if it were produced at all. Whatever team you like, be glad they are both here competing! What I want is for nvidia to actually compete at the mainstream level with cards that aren't going on two years old. I like AMD's scalable approach to GPU's. Their 55nm part is able to perform at every price point. Sure they used ddr5 to help them compete... they were instrumental in it's development, they kinda planned it that way (don't worry, nvidia will take advantage of it soon). I'm also a little let down that it took nvidia almost ~5 months(?) to compete for the top spot AND have it be just a wee bit better.

    Both cards are amazing for different reasons... get over it!
  • SiliconDoc - Sunday, January 18, 2009 - link

    Another jerkoff that insults first thing, then red fans boys out, then tells everyone to get over it - after spewing the same tired talking points all through this place, and ignoring the facts and sloughing them off.
    It's CLEAR you never played a PhysX game, and don't even know what it is. I leave it at that - go get WARMONGER from the nvidia graphics plus 2 site">

    It's the one on top - NOW GO TRY IT - IT RUNS ON AN ATI 3650 at about 17 frames - my friend just tried it for the first time and loved it. IT IS SOMETHING ENTIRELY NEW AND BETTER - no go try it DUMMMY.
    As to the rest of your spew, it is clear you're a red fanboy, and can't help yourself - or you're so dumb you just repeat ad infinitum the red talking points of stupidity - like wanting NV to make new chips at the mid and lower end when their TWO YEAR OLD CHIPS SLAP ATI'S TOP CORE AND ALL IT'S LOWER RANGE DOWN.

    How about this raging red freak that wants everyone else to "get over it" - how about we take a TWO YEAR OLD ATI CORE - and see what she does ? You up for it ?
    Ati is still WAY BEHIND - they need a totally new core to go anywhere, and without DDR5, they'ed have nearly NOTHING - since the 8800 and 9800's SMACK DOWN THE 4850 - ati's gimped top core.
  • SiliconDoc - Sunday, January 18, 2009 - link

    corrected warmonger link">
  • Hxx - Monday, January 19, 2009 - link

    LOL, warmonger is one of those nvidia crap demnos,just like cellfactor, complete BS. Its not a complete game, just a demo to show how "good" and "powerful" - hence the name power packs, Nvidia cards are. They bought agaiea, who failed, and now theyre trying to market this physics crap that won't take off unless game developers are going to adopt it. Since Mirror's edge is garbage, Nvidia failed with their physics, for now at least.

    IF it wasn't for ATI, you would post in here like a gullable kid saying that gtx 295 is so worth for $850 ( 8800 ultra anyone?). The gtx 295 is the first NVIDIA high end card priced at only $500 - hmm i wonder why. I bet you think that games with Nvidia logo play only on Nvidia hardware. Your friend mustve switched from playing WOW if he/she thinks that game is the best thing ever. Stop drooling your BS that nobody cares.
  • overcast - Thursday, January 15, 2009 - link">">">

    I'm running 2 x 4870x2 on an I7 machine with no crash issues.

    Now shut up.
  • SiliconDoc - Thursday, January 15, 2009 - link

    Go tell this guy to shut up now, bloviator.
    " I cannot overstate the importance of drivers, and frankly ATI's drivers still disappoint on a regular basis. Until and unless ATI can get driver profiles into their drivers for CrossFire, I don't think I can ever feel happy with the solution. Also, 4870X2 drivers need to bring back the "CrossFire disable" option in the drivers; we all know there are two GPUs, and there are still occasional games where CrossFire degrades performance over a single GPU. "

    I didn't see any cards at $400 at your links, either, but one thing is clear - the shabby 4870x2 with driver issues out the wazoo for EVERYONE is getting quickly very, very cheaper for a reason. That reason is IT GOT STOMPED by the GTX295, and the GTX295 runs better in a far wider variety of games ON LAUNCH than the 4870x2 EVER will.

    Now it's time for you to shut up.
  • overcast - Thursday, January 15, 2009 - link

    What part of, ($399.99 after $40.00 Mail-In Rebate) , don't you understand?

    Congratulations to the Nvidia team for developing a new card that beats something released last August, typically by less than 10fps. Amazing.
  • SiliconDoc - Saturday, January 17, 2009 - link

    Here's what you should understnad, we'll take the very best prices we know area vailable, not usual that average users buy from which can be much higher - best savings usually - newegg.

    4870x2 = $449, $550, $505, $475, $505, $495, $430, $480

    Now those are the BEST prices.

    I think your lies need some work.

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