GeForce GTX 295 Performance: Previewed


Nobody likes being second place, especially Nvidia. Back when the company launched its GeForce GTX 260 and 280 boards, AMD was huffing fumes with its Radeon HD 3870. Not surprisingly, the GT200-based gamer cards extended Nvidia’s lead. Nobody would have guessed that AMD would come back with its Radeon HD 4850 and 4870 boards—neither of which was actually faster than Nvidia’s flagship, by the way—and still steal the spotlight away from the massive, monolithic chip.

Having already professed its preference for smaller, more scalable graphics processors, AMD didn’t take long to unveil its Radeon HD 4870 X2, a single board boasting two RV770 chips, 2 GB of GDDR5 memory, and a PCI Express (PCIe) bridge over which to communicate. Suddenly, the tables had turned and AMD was the one with the fastest individual card on the market. Not only that, but it's been a full six months and a full lineup of RV770 derivatives have taken the battle to Nvidia’s once-untouchable mainstream armada, headlined by the G92.

From there, things only get messier, and the hardcore gamer can spend thousands of dollars in an effort to procure the best graphics performance. Want to beat a 4870 X2 with an Nvidia solution? Buy a couple of GeForce GTX 280s. Want to beat that with an AMD solution? Buy another 4870 X2 and run four-way CrossFireX. Want to go faster still? Add a third GTX 280. And now you’re talking about an expensive motherboard and a powerful CPU able to keep up with all of that graphics horsepower. Aye carumba. Where does the madness end?

That single-card classification seems like a good place to dig in and determine a winner for now. Just know that, right up to four-way CrossFire and four-way SLI, there’s always room to spend more money, eat up more power, and enjoy an extra 10 or 20 percent performance boost.

2009 Resolutions: Nvidia Wants Its Crown Back

Nvidia really hasn’t done much about the Radeon threat in 2008, save updating the GeForce GTX 260 to compete more aggressively against AMD’s 1 GB HD 4870. According to the company, all GTX 260s will employ the 216-shader processor configuration in the future. The 192-SP card will disappear as the channel exhausts the remaining inventory. Given a similar price point, Nvidia expects that the new GTX 260 standard will be enough to usurp fascination over AMD’s current value.

But more pertinent to today’s piece, Nvidia wants its single-card performance crown back and has invested substantial effort in making sure that happens. What we have here is a preview of hardware Nvidia plans to launch during CES. The GeForce GTX 295 is Nvidia’s answer to AMD’s Radeon HD 4870 X2, and it employs a similar construction as the company’s GeForce 9800 GX2.

Chris Angelini
Chris Angelini is an Editor Emeritus at Tom's Hardware US. He edits hardware reviews and covers high-profile CPU and GPU launches.
  • titdoctor
    wait until ATI updates their drivers again. 4870x2 FTW
  • Tindytim
    Why do I get the feeling AMD is already working on something to bust Nvidia again?
  • cangelini
    8.12 was definitely a nice update!
  • NarwhaleAu
    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.
  • xsane
    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.
  • trainreks
    good to see that nvidia whipped back into submission. Their prices were ridiculous when they were on the top for a long time.
  • malveaux

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


    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,
    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
  • sparky2010
    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?
  • drysocks
    I'll be impressed if it costs less than the Radeon HD 4870 X2. ~470 atm