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GeForce GTX 295 Performance: Previewed

Test System and Benchmarks

Our system setup for this preview reflects what an enthusiast in the market for a $500 video card will likely run—either a full-blown i7 965-based system or an i7 920 overclocked to those levels. In either case, the platform does a good job letting all four of our tested graphics setups breathe in most situations. Naturally, if you sprang for four-way SLI (which the GTX 295 does support) or four-way CrossFireX, you’d need to worry more about processing horsepower.

But for now, we’re worrying about the fastest single card moving into 2009.

Hardware Configuration
ProcessorIntel Core i7 965 Extreme (3.2 GHz)
MotherboardAsus Rampage II Extreme
Memory6 GB DDR3-1333 7-7-7 (triple-channel)
StorageSeagate 250 GB Barracuda 7200.10 7200 RPM
OpticalLite-On DH-4O1S BD-ROM
PowerCooler Master UCP 1100 W
GraphicsNvidia GeForce GTX 295 1.8 GB
Nvidia GeForce GTX 280 1 GB
AMD Radeon HD 4870 X2 2 GB
AMD Radeon HD 4870 512 MB

We're again relying on the 64-bit version of Vista in this setup with 6 GB of system memory.

Software Configuration
Operating SystemWindows Vista x64 w/ Service Pack 1
Graphics DriversAMD: Catalyst 8.12 / Nvidia: GeForce 180.87 Beta
Platform DriversIntel X58: 9.1.0.1007

Our benchmark suite for this one, as follows:

Benchmark Configuration
CrysisVery High Quality Settings, No AA / No AF, vsync off, 1900x1200 / 2560x1600, Patch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit executable, benchmark tool
Very High Quality Settings, 4x AA / 8x AF, vsync off, 1900x1200 / 2560x1600, Patch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit executable, benchmark tool
Call of Duty: World at WarHighest Quality Settings, No AA / No AF, vsync off, 1920x1200 / 2560x1600, Patch 1.1, FRAPS/saved game
Highest Quality Settings, 4x AA / 8x AF, vsync off, 1920x1200 / 2560x1600, Patch 1.1, FRAPS/saved game
Dead SpaceHighest Quality Settings, No AA / No AF forced in drivers, vsync off, 1920x1200 / 2560x1600, FRAPS/saved game
Highest Quality Settings, 4x AA / 8x AF forced in drivers, vsync off, 1920x1200 / 2560x1600, FRAPS/saved game
Fallout 3Ultra Quality Settings, No AA / No AF, vsync off, 1920x1200 / 2560x1600, Patch 1.0.0.15, FRAPS/saved game
Ultra Quality Settings, 4x AA / 8x AF, vsync off, 1920x1200 / 2560x1600, Patch 1.0.0.15, FRAPS/saved game
Far Cry 2Very High Quality Settings, No AA / No AF, vsync off, 1920x1200 / 2560x1600, DirectX 10, Steam Version, in-game benchmark
Very High Quality Settings, 4x AA / 8x AF, vsync off, 1920x1200 / 2560x1600, DirectX 10, Steam Version, in-game benchmark
Left 4 DeadHighest Quality Settings, No AA / No AF, vsync off, 1920x1200 / 2560x1600, timedemo
Highest Quality Settings, 4x AA / 8x AF, vsync off, 1920x1200 / 2560x1600, timedemo
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
    Reply
  • Tindytim
    First!?
    Why do I get the feeling AMD is already working on something to bust Nvidia again?
    Reply
  • cangelini
    8.12 was definitely a nice update!
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • trainreks
    good to see that nvidia whipped back into submission. Their prices were ridiculous when they were on the top for a long time.
    Reply
  • malveaux
    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,
    Reply
  • JAYDEEJOHN
    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
    Reply
  • 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?
    Reply
  • drysocks
    I'll be impressed if it costs less than the Radeon HD 4870 X2. ~470 atm
    Reply