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Going back to today’s original question “wasn’t a gig enough?” the answer is: usually a one gigabyte graphics card will have all the memory it can use. We did however find two games where a combination of the highest settings and enormous 2560x1600 resolutions overtaxed graphics memory: Tom Clancy’s HAWX and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear Sky.
The damage from HAWX only occurred at 8x AA however, which is something most people probably don’t need at 2560x1600 resolution, and also something that isn’t even available in Clear Sky.
These problems only occurred at such high GPU loads that even our “winner” couldn’t produce smooth game play, but there's a silver lining here, and it might very well be SLI. We didn't have a second 2 GB board to test, but for the hardcore gamer looking for the highest resolutions and the super-demanding configurations we tested here, SLI could prove to be the perfect compliment to Gigabyte’s memory increase.
With only 896 MB per graphics processor, our GeForce GTX 295 proved the value of SLI in HAWX at everything but the highest test setting, where it simply ran out of memory. Tripling-up on 2 GB GeForce GTX 285 goodness should easily overcome that obstacle. With a little more overclocking effort, we wouldn’t be surprised to see smooth gaming happen using only two 2 GB GeForce GTX 285s.
As for the benefit of 2 GB in Clear Sky, we don’t believe even three graphics processors can take the game from 14.8 FPS to something that resembles fluidity.
Gigabyte produced a great product, but the overall value question appears to concern bragging rights. How much would you pay to be able to tell your friends you can play the latest titles with everything (including resolution) maxed? For those who'd answer "a lot," Gigabyte's GV-N285OC-2GI is a solid path to the best performance possible.