Conclusion: Fast Cards Need Water
Here's a short summary of our findings:
BFG's offering is the price/performance leader in the high-end graphics card segment because it is both fast and quiet, plus it closes the gap between the GeForce GTX 260 216 SP and the GeForce GTX 280/285 cards. It keeps up with the big boys, but costs a lot less.
The EVGA GTX 295 Hydro Copper is the unchallenged performance leader because water cooling gives this card maximum headroom for overclocking. Anybody who's after the strongest dual-GPU card, owns a powerful multi-core CPU, wants to run a minimum resolution of 1920x1200 for gaming, and has the necessary cash, should buy one of these and order a water-cooling system at the same time (using it as a standard air-cooled GeForce GTX 295 card is simply asking for trouble). EVGA boosts its 3D performance by a significant margin and consequently raises the bar in our performance measurements. Our brand-new i7 CPU still can't completely load both GPUs all the way down, despite being overclocked to 3.8 GHz. We'll see how long this lasts.
The MSI GTX HydroGen is a very nice card, and thanks to its water cooling, is quiet. Thanks to its overclocking, the card is fast enough to keep up with newer GeForce GTX 285 models. All in all, it strikes a very good compromise between performance and noise levels, especially for a single-chip card.
We're also waiting on water-cooled GeForce GTX 285 models with considerable anticipation. Anybody who's after the fastest single-chip card and who doesn't mind some fan noise might find that the Zotac GeForce GTX 285 AMP makes a great 3D graphics component. The MSI GeForce GTX 285 SuperPipe enables high performance without requiring expensive liquid cooling. It's just a little slower than the AMP Edition from Zotac, but thanks to its dual fans and extra-long heatpipes, it has extra headroom for further overclocking, yet still runs very quietly. Palit's Revolution 700 should make ATI fans happy, thanks to its capable cooling, even under heavy loads, and its high performance for some games.
When it comes to handing out any editor's recommendations, we had a hard time because all these products are well-designed in their own rights. If forced to pick the best card, we'd have to dig deeply into the details from our tests, because that's primarily where the differences really lie. The price/performance leader is clear, though: this honor goes to the BFG GeForce GTX 275. For those in search of high performance but who don't have unlimited budgets, this card does the job. We also give an Editor's Choice to the MSI GeForce GTX 285 SuperPipe because of its great balance between performance and cooling, which shows that even an air-cooled high-end graphics card can still be very quiet.