GeForce GTX 295 Performance: Previewed

An Early Look Into Next Year

Bear a couple of things in mind regarding the preceding benchmarks. To begin, this is meant to serve as a performance preview, not as a review. Our official review will follow early next year when the GeForce GTX 295 is finalized and boxed up for retail distribution.

We’ve presented the results from six games. Five of them were mandated by Nvidia as a sample of the most-anticipated titles for the 2008 holiday season. Four of those five are part of Nvidia’s The Way It’s Meant to Be Played program. Two are already staples of our own benchmark suite. And we picked one game, Crysis, to add to the mix. This is still engineering-sample hardware and, according to Nvidia, the final fan speeds haven’t yet been set.

What makes something like this okay? All of the titles chosen are, in fact, popular games and we can understand the frustration of seeing the same three-year old apps tested over and over again simply because they’re recognized performance metrics. Even still, we want to stay transparent to our readers. In fact, it was a breath of fresh air to see some new software instead of the same Supreme Commander savegame or the World in Conflict fly-through.

Further, TWIMTBP is nothing more than one of Nvidia’s competitive advantages. A developer relations program that seeks to optimize the performance of independently-written software on proprietary hardware is logical, so long as it doesn’t simultaneously seek to handicap competition. And given the number of times we’ve seen AMD’s cards beat Nvidia’s in the last year, the program doesn’t seem to be pursuing such malicious avenues. In fact, Nvidia recently gave us a breakdown of what TWIMTBP meant to the development of Far Cry 2. From on-site consultation to performance testing to regular driver updates, Nvidia added its efforts up to three cumulative man-months of cooperation. As a result, GeForce GTX cards didn’t encounter nearly as much trouble as Radeon boards did (these issues were well-documented as the game launched in my own exploration of Core i7 gaming performance with up to four-way CrossFire and three-way SLI).

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  • NarwhaleAuYour conclusion was, at best, poor. Nvidia's "fastest single card" is two 280s on a single PCB, selling at the price point that ATI is selling their 4870x2 at right now?It is a lot cheaper to produce the 4870 GPU, so I am sure you will see ATI cut their price down by at least $50, and maybe $100. Nvidia will then have the same problem - a monolithic GPU that is expensive to produce and not really any faster than the 4870.


    Why was it poor? Are you saying the 295 is invalid because nvidia uses two boards on their dual-GPU card and Ati uses a single board?

    Are you also saying Nvidia won't be willing to price match performance, when that's exactly what they've done with their current line-up?

    While it'll likely hurt Nvidia's bottom line more than Ati's to lower pricing, that hasn't stopped them up until now, and doesn't really have an impact on the article's conclusion does it?

    As long as it's readily available at launch, kudos to Nvidia. But Chris' conclusion looks bang on to me. I'm not sure what part of it you have a problem with.
    18
  • First!?

    Why do I get the feeling AMD is already working on something to bust Nvidia again?
    12
  • good to see that nvidia whipped back into submission. Their prices were ridiculous when they were on the top for a long time.
    11
  • Other Comments
  • wait until ATI updates their drivers again. 4870x2 FTW
    -4
  • First!?

    Why do I get the feeling AMD is already working on something to bust Nvidia again?
    12
  • 8.12 was definitely a nice update!
    6
  • Your conclusion was, at best, poor.

    Nvidia's "fastest single card" is two 280s on a single PCB, selling at the price point that ATI is selling their 4870x2 at right now?

    It is a lot cheaper to produce the 4870 GPU, so I am sure you will see ATI cut their price down by at least $50, and maybe $100. Nvidia will then have the same problem - a monolithic GPU that is expensive to produce and not really any faster than the 4870.
    -2
  • I totally agree with him on the Physx and CUDA comment. It would be really nice to have a game like Tiger Woods support Physx.

    I have 2 x 4850 in crossfire, it kicks ass.
    0
  • good to see that nvidia whipped back into submission. Their prices were ridiculous when they were on the top for a long time.
    11
  • NarwhaleAU:

    You clearly need to re-read this article.
    And cutting prices $50? $100? Yea, born yesterday? Not happening.

    @Article

    Thanks for the preview! I've been looking out for the GTX295 to surface. Two GTX260's should perform right on par with the thing, and I was wondering what the price would turn out to be. You can get GTX260's for $219 from the Egg right now (or $440 for two). If the GTX295 is only a single card at $499 (likely to be 20 less at the Egg), it's right on the same price area as buying two 260's separately. And in that situation, I'd rather have a single card with the same power. As would most folk I wager. So looks like the 295 is gonna be a real winner in the enthusiast market.

    Very best,
    -7
  • Thanks for being open and honest, and mentioning nVidias mandate. It looks as expected, and is a shame we dont have a larger picture of full performance, since nVidia hamstringed you guys. Good to see some competition at the highend
    3
  • The problem with ATI is that they release good products but give them incomplete/unoptimized drivers.. to see games where the difference between the 4870 and the X2 is almost nil, but the GTX 295 is doing well in it, well, that's no excuse for ATI.. it's too bad though.. i really hope they could just give us good drivers from the beginning, instead of giving us "performance upgrade packages"..

    I hope that their next driver will see more optimization, and then a showdown! CROSSFIRE X vs. QUAD SLI!!!! MUAHAHAHA!

    Bets down please?
    3
  • I'll be impressed if it costs less than the Radeon HD 4870 X2. ~470 atm
    8
  • NarwhaleAuYour conclusion was, at best, poor. Nvidia's "fastest single card" is two 280s on a single PCB, selling at the price point that ATI is selling their 4870x2 at right now?It is a lot cheaper to produce the 4870 GPU, so I am sure you will see ATI cut their price down by at least $50, and maybe $100. Nvidia will then have the same problem - a monolithic GPU that is expensive to produce and not really any faster than the 4870.


    Why was it poor? Are you saying the 295 is invalid because nvidia uses two boards on their dual-GPU card and Ati uses a single board?

    Are you also saying Nvidia won't be willing to price match performance, when that's exactly what they've done with their current line-up?

    While it'll likely hurt Nvidia's bottom line more than Ati's to lower pricing, that hasn't stopped them up until now, and doesn't really have an impact on the article's conclusion does it?

    As long as it's readily available at launch, kudos to Nvidia. But Chris' conclusion looks bang on to me. I'm not sure what part of it you have a problem with.
    18
  • If anyones seen other previews on this, the minimum fps in Crysis is horrible on this card. One could make same claims as to nVidias drivers for this too. The G200 series is 1 driver ahead of ATI, so give it time, just as Im sure nVidia will have the minimum fps cleaned up for Crysis with this card 1 month from now
    1
  • SO..........i see nvidia still has not figured out how to use GDDR5?!?! If they could get that worked into the GTX295, i dont think ANYONE would be able to top that for a while.

    Still dissappointed that nvidia has said nothing about GDDR5...Toms already did an article a while ago on how Hynix is now making 1gb DDR5 low latency chips somewhat cheap..whats the hold up Nvidia
    0
  • sparky2010The problem with ATI is that they release good products but give them incomplete/unoptimized drivers


    Drivers seem fine to me. Remember, the 4870 wasn't designed to be as powerful as the GTX280. It was made to be more efficient, cheaper to manufacture, and scalable.

    The 4870 X2 still shows up the GTX280, and that was their goal. The GTX 295 adds more spice to the mix, and kudos to Nvidia, but Ati never claimed to that the 4870 GPU would be the fastest GPU available; they went for cost effective scalability, and that's what they got.

    Not much to do with the drivers.
    8
  • scook9SO..........i see nvidia still has not figured out how to use GDDR5?!?! If they could get that worked into the GTX295, i dont think ANYONE would be able to top that for a while.Still dissappointed that nvidia has said nothing about GDDR5... ...whats the hold up Nvidia


    As I understand it, the ability to use GDDR5 is a design-level decision, and Nvidia's current lineup has been designed some time ago. The 55nm refresh won't involve a major redesign, just a die shrink.

    You can bet Nvidia's next gen products will likely be designed around GDDR5 though.
    7
  • Great write up. Thanks guys! This is why I visit Tom's hardware everyday.
    5
  • wow , this card doesn't consumption any power when u playing far cry 2 ?

    Im getting this card !
    -5
  • Have to agree, this preview is nice, open and honest. Nicely done fellas. Its an open ended preview, not the review, and its done so in that form
    4
  • CleeveDrivers seem fine to me. Remember, the 4870 wasn't designed to be as powerful as the GTX280. It was made to be more efficient, cheaper to manufacture, and scalable.The 4870 X2 still shows up the GTX280, and that was their goal. The GTX 295 adds more spice to the mix, and kudos to Nvidia, but Ati never claimed to that the 4870 GPU would be the fastest GPU available; they went for cost effective scalability, and that's what they got.Not much to do with the drivers.


    True, but i'm comparing the 4870 to its big brother, the X2.. there are games where the difference is almost nothing.. so basically multi-gpu optimization for some games is, well, there isn't any... I know that the GTX 280 is superior to the 4870.. but i think that it's a shame that ATI could get better numbers from their cards but instead refuse to put the effort.. instead of their 6 month old card being already 100%, nVidia has a card that's not even released yet, on a new die, that has beta drivers that seem to function alot better than ATI's, that's all.. Yet we receive drivers from ATI every now and then that "unlock" more performance.. i don't know, it's like buying a car and the dealer telling you "Hey! Come back after 10k and i'll give you 20 more HP! XD" lol..
    1
  • Read my link. The minimum fps sucks on this card, the 295. Its a driver issue. It happens, even when youre working with devs early on in the dev of a new game, like nVidia does with its TWIMTBP program
    0