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GTX 260/280/9800 GTX+ hardcore review

Geforce GTX 260 and 9800 GTX+: Extreme FSAA Benchmarks and OC

Lately PCGH tested, how the Geforce GTX 280, compared to an 8800 Ultra, deals with extreme FSAA modes. Now we deliver results of the GTX 260 and the new Geforce 9800 GTX+, too.
The FSAAA modes and tests weren't changed: Starting with 16xQ, we increased the load with 16xS, 32xS and 16x OGSSAA. 16xS is a hybrid mode, which consist of 4x Multisampling (FSAA) and 4x Supersampling (SSAA). 32xS also has 4x SSAA but combines it with 8xQ MSAA. Among gamers paying special attention to quality, this mode isn't just seen as beautiful but also as extremely hardware hungry. That isn't really surprising. Because of 4x SSAA the whole scenery is calculated with four times the size of the actual resolution. The combination with the 8x Multisampling results in a setting that breaks the neck of graphics cards with only 512 MiByte video memory. On top of that we also activate Transparency Anti Aliasing based on Supersampling.

16x respectively 4x4 Supersampling forces the graphics card to calculate every axis with the quadrupled resolution. This results in an excellent texture and shader smoothing. Combined with 16:1 AF via the driver the anisotropic filtering is de facto done at a rate of 64:1. You might guess that even the GTX 280 gets into trouble there.

All the Supersampling modes can be activated via the tool Nhancer only.

Candidates and clock speeds
Modern art? This happens when an overclocked Geforce GTX 280 gets too hot. (picture: PCGH)
 
Modern art? This happens when an overclocked Geforce GTX 280 gets too hot. (picture: PCGH) [Source: view picture gallery]
Modern art part 2: This happens when Grid runs out of video memory. (picture: PCGH)
 
Modern art part 2: This happens when Grid runs out of video memory. (picture: PCGH) [Source: view picture gallery]
In addition to the cards of the last test, now there are a default Geforce 9800 GTX+ and a Geforce GTX 260, which we simulated with a Geforce GTX 280 via BIOS flash. The former is based on the G92b, which is a 55 nanometer structure. The "old” G92 uses 65 nanometer technology and the G80 90 nanometer. The one new thing about the 9800 GTX+, which cracks Nvidia's nomenclature, is the clock speeds: 738/1,836/1,102 MHz are about 9 percent higher than the clock speeds of the old 9800 GTX.

All the candidates with their clock speeds:

- Geforce GTX 280 (1,024 MiByte) @ 750/1,512/1,296 MHz
- Geforce GTX 280 (1,024 MiByte) @ 602/1,296/1,107 MHz (default)
- Geforce GTX 260 (896 MiByte) @ 702/1,512/1,296 MHz
- Geforce GTX 260 (896 MiByte) @ 576/1,242/999 MHz
(default)
- Geforce 9800 GTX+ (512 MiByte) @ 864/2,214/1,296 MHz
- Geforce 9800 GTX+ (512 MiByte) @ 738/1,836/1,102 MHz
(default)
- Geforce 8800 Ultra (768 MiByte) @ 675/1,674/1,080 MHz
- Geforce 8800 Ultra (768 MiByte) @ 612/1,512/1,080 MHz (default)

Results
Crysis with 4x TSSAA/16:1 AF (picture: PCGH)
 
Crysis with 4x TSSAA/16:1 AF (picture: PCGH) [Source: view picture gallery]
Fear with 32xS + TSSAA/16:1 AF (picture: PCGH)
 
Fear with 32xS + TSSAA/16:1 AF (picture: PCGH) [Source: view picture gallery]
The Geforce GTX 260 affirms what we predicted within our comparison between the GTX 280 and the 8800 Ultra: The higher the workload gets, the better the new card gets, compared to the G80 flagship. Especially with 32xS FSAA the GTX 260 dominates the 8800 Ultra - this could be because of the ROPs (Raster Operators). The GT200 got 32, the G80 24 and the G92 only 16 of those calculation units, which are especially important for 8x MSAA.
Race Driver Grid with 16xS + TSSAA/16:1 AF (picture: PCGH)
 
Race Driver Grid with 16xS + TSSAA/16:1 AF (picture: PCGH) [Source: view picture gallery]
HL2 Fakefactory Cinematic Mod 8.3 with 32xS + TSSAA/16:1 AF (picture: PCGH)
 
HL2 Fakefactory Cinematic Mod 8.3 with 32xS + TSSAA/16:1 AF (picture: PCGH) [Source: view picture gallery]

The Geforce 9800 GTX+ is doing well at 16xS and 16x Supersampling, it often can beat the 8800 Ultra. That's the effect of the superior filling rate. If bandwidth and VRAM are the deal - especially with 32xS - it is slower, even when overclocked. In the worst case the 512 MiByte video memory don't suffice - this is as a general more often the case with 32xS.
Quake 4 (dt.) with 16xS/16:1 AF (picture: PCGH)
 
Quake 4 (dt.) with 16xS/16:1 AF (picture: PCGH) [Source: view picture gallery]
UT2004 with 32xS + TSSAA/16:1 AF (picture: PCGH)
 
UT2004 with 32xS + TSSAA/16:1 AF (picture: PCGH) [Source: view picture gallery]

Conclusion: Extreme FSAA and OC
32xS and 16x OGSSAA are GTX 280 territory. A heavily overclocked GTX 260 can reach this level most of the time. Graphics cards like the Geforce 8800 GTX/Ultra or 9800 GTX(+) can deal with 16xS well enough.

--
Author: Raffael Vötter (Jun 23, 2008)






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Comments (2)

Read all comments here!
ruyven_macaran Re: Geforce GTX 260 and 9800 GTX+: Extreme FSAA Benchmarks and OC
Super Moderator
21.05.2011 14:39
You mistook the direction: Not 280 on 260, but 260 on 280. The later one is easy, because a 260-bios on a 280-board will simply use only the shaderunits expected from a 260. An 280-bios on a 260 board however would try to use units, that are permanently deactivated on a 260 -> impossible.
lukegoodman Re: Geforce GTX 260 and 9800 GTX+: Extreme FSAA Be...
Junior Member
21.05.2011 00:47
i noticed you said you simulated 280 on 260 how is this done? i have a inno3d gtx 260 192 896mb freezerX2 and having no luck with OC.

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