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Game performance of the GT200

Geforce GTX 280/260: The great PCGH Benchmark Review

It's the result that matters in the end - according to this PCGH reveals the strengths and weaknesses of the GT200. The chip of the Geforce GTX 280 and GTX 260 has to master games as well as challenging tests and settings.

Geforce GTX280 reviewed: Can it beat its predecessors? (picture: PCGH)
 
Geforce GTX280 reviewed: Can it beat its predecessors? (picture: PCGH) [Source: view picture gallery]
Geforce GTX280 reviewed: Can it beat its predecessors? (picture: PCGH)
 
Geforce GTX280 reviewed: Can it beat its predecessors? (picture: PCGH) [Source: view picture gallery]
This article delivers simple facts. We checked some of the later games in the DX10 mode and some older games, which are still quite demanding, on modern high-end graphics cards against the Geforce GTX 280. Among our benchmarks are Futuremark's 3DMark Vantage, Crysis, Bioshock, World in Conflict, UT3, Call of Duty 4, Need for Speed Carbon, Oblivion with Quarls texture-pack 1.3, Half-Life 2 (dt.): Episode 2 with Fakefactory's Cinematic Mod 8, the OpenGL title Prey and Call of Juarez with the DirectX 10 Enhancement-Pack. The two older games are upgraded by mods to fit the current optical demands.

The top games Age of Conan, Assassin's Creed and Mass Effect aren't part of this review because testing them in an appropriate way takes too much time. So they will be dealt with in an extra article.

Geforce GTX280 reviewed: Geforce driver 177.34 - via mod running with all cards (picture: PCGH)
 
Geforce GTX280 reviewed: Geforce driver 177.34 - via mod running with all cards (picture: PCGH) [Source: view picture gallery]
Geforce GTX280 reviewed: Geforce driver 177.34 - via mod running with all cards (picture: PCGH)
 
Geforce GTX280 reviewed: Geforce driver 177.34 - via mod running with all cards (picture: PCGH) [Source: view picture gallery]

According to the target group of high-end gamers we chose our hardware and the resolutions. Normally we start our tests with widespread resolution of 1,680x1,050 with 4x FSAA and 16:1 AF - the same is done with a 24 inch LCD with a resolution of 1,920x1,200 and finally the premium class 2,560x1,600 - all of them are additionally checked, according to the application, with 8x FSAA, a setting known to cause problems with the Geforce cards up to now. As long as nothing else is indicated, the real 8x MSAA aka 8xQ mode is in use.

Call of Duty 4 and Unreal Tournament 3, two of the most popular games, were tested with several additional graphics cards. Thus you can see where your own card is placed in comparison against Nvidia's latest model.

Our review system was equipped with an overclocked Dual Core CPU, since we thought this to be more appropriate and realistic than an overclocked Quad Core for more than 1,000 Euros (ca. 1,500 US-Dollar). Windows Vista x64 and 4 GiByte RAM take care of the data handling.

Test system and Configuration
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 @ 3600 MHz (400x9)
Board: Asus P5N-D (Nforce 750i SLI chipset)
RAM: 4x 1.024 MiByte DDR2-800 (5-5-5-15)
OS: Windows Vista 64 Bit
Driver:
• Forceware 177.34 (HQ)
• Catalyst 8.5 (AI def.)

VGA:
Geforce GTX280, 1.024 MiB GDDR3, 602/1.296/1.107 MHz
• Geforce 9800 GX2, 2x512 MiB GDDR3, 600/1.512/1.000 MHz
• Geforce 8800 Ultra, 768 MiB GDDR3, 612/1.512/1.080 MHz
• Geforce 9800 GTX, 512 MiB GDDR3, 675/1.674/1.100 MHz

• HD3870 X2, 2x512 MiB GDDR3, 825/901 MHz
• HD3870, 512 MiB GDDR4, 776/1.125 MHz

As always we use the high quality settings of the Nvidia driver for all the Geforce cards. With AMD's Radeon models we stick to the Catalyst A.I. default settings, because else bugfixes and the application specific optimizations wouldn't take effect.

We would have liked to deliver further results for the GTX 260 but the Nvidia sample was not fully functional when it reached our office. Only very few tests could be made with the card, which reached critical temperature within seconds most of the time and shut down. The card itself didn't heat up actually. Even a remounting of the cooler didn't solve the problem. Therefore think the problem is caused by a defective temperature sensor or because the Die doesn't have contact to the heatspreader.





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Author: Carsten Spille (Jun 16, 2008)






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