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Geforce GTX 295 performance review

Geforce GTX 295 - Review of Nvidia's final dual graphics card

Three weeks ago we published a preview of Nvidia's Geforce GTX 295 and now it's time for a full review of the card. What is the Geforce GTX 295 capable of in matters of power consumption, loudness and micro stuttering?

Geforce GTX 295 - Review of Nvidia's final dual graphics card
[Source: view picture gallery]
Today Nvida's new dual GPU card based on two 55 nanometer GT200b GPUs is finally launched. It is the first of Nvidia's gaming cards that exceeds the TFLOPS limit. This is achieved by two GPUs each of which has 240 Shader ALUs, 80 texture units and 28 ROPs with a 448 bit memory interface each. The Geforce GTX 295 is supposed to win back the performance crown for Nvidia since currently AMD has the fastest card with the dual GPU model Radeon HD 4870 X2.

Furthermore the GTX 295 is the first 55 nanometer product introduced to Nvidia's enthusiast section. The two GT200b chips are produced in the finer structure and thus can be run with on lower power consumption. Nvidia specifies the TDP of the card with 289 watt. This actually is three watt higher than the HD 4870 X2 is said to need, but a lot less than two GTX 260s with 182 watt each. And compared to the latter ones the GTX 295 has additional functional units. All important details are listed in the chart below.

GTX 295 reviewed at PC Games Hardware
GTX 295 reviewed at PC Games Hardware [Source: view picture gallery]

As it has been the case with the Geforce 9800 GX2, Nvidia uses a so called sandwich design for the GTX 295 (without the GX2 tag) Two PCBs with the two GPUs between them are cooled by a single cooling solution. Nvidia says this design has thermal benefits compared to AMD's tandem design. In contrast to the 9800 GX2 Nvidia uses bigger areas on the slot cover and the upper side of the card to exhaust the heated air from between the two PCBs of the GTX 295. The noise of the radial fan is rather unobtrusive and could be described as hissing; we couldn't hear drumming noises. If you are afraid of getting deaf because of the cooling, we can give an all clear even for our pre-production sample. From a subjective point of view we already had much louder cards in our Test Lab. At full workload the card is not - as expected - the appropriate choice for silent PCs, but in idle it is surprisingly quiet. See "Power Consumption, Loudness and Cooling” for more details.

Comparison: theoretical specifications              
  Nvidia Geforce         AMD Radeon  
  9800 GTX+ 8800 Ultra GTX 260-216 GTX 280 GTX 295* HD 4870 X2* HD 4870
Chip G92 G80 GT200 GT200 2xGT200b 2xRV770 RV770
Architecture (Nanometer) 65/55nm 90 65 65 55 55 55
Transistors (Mio.) 754 681 1,400 1,400 ??? 2x965 965
Core frequency (MHz) 738 612 576 602 576 750 750
Shader ALU frequency (MHz) 1,836 1,512 1,242 1,296 1,242 750 750
Memory frequency (MHz) 1,100 1,080 999 1,107 999 1,800 1,800
Shader version 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.1 4.1
Shader ALUs 128 128 216 240 2x240 2x800 800
VRAM (MiByte) 512 768 896 1,024 2x896 2x1,024 512
Memory bus (Bit) 256 384 448 512 2x448 2x256 256
MAD performance (GFLOP/s) 470 387,1 536,5 622,1 2x596,2 2x1,200 1,200
MAD+MUL/ADD performance (GFLOP/s) 705** 580.7** 804.8** 933.1** 2x894,2 2x1,200 1,200
Texture fillrate (MTex/s) 47,232 19,584 41,472 48,160 2x46,080 2x30,000 30,000
Memory bandwidth (MiByte/s) 70,400 103,680 111,888 141,696 2x111,888 2x115,200 115,200
Multi GPU SLI, 3-W.-SLI SLI SLI SLI, 3-W.-SLI Q-SLI Crossfire X Crossfire X
PCI-E. power connector (6-Pin/8-Pin) 2x/0x 2x/0x 2x/0x 1x/1x 1x/1x 1x/1x 2x/0x

Two NVIO chips are working in the PCB sandwich of the GTX 295. According to Nvidia one is feeding the two Dual-Link DVI ports, while the other one is supplying data to the additional HDMI port. So up to three displays can be connected to the card.

Picture gallery  (enlarge to view source)

Author: Spille, Vötter, Sauter (Jan 08, 2009)

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