If it wasn’t clear enough from the recent price drops on both NVIDIA and ATI video cards our review today should put it all in perspective, it’s time for another round of new video cards. Today we’ve got NVIDIA launching their latest bit of high-end technology, the GeForce GTX 295. This is the successor to the late 9800 GX2 and 7950 GX2 before it in the dual GPU, single video card segment. It promises to be the fastest video card to ever grace a single PCI-E slot, trying to outpace the reigning heavyweight champ, ATI’s Radeon HD 4870X2.
While NVIDIA had a great single card solution in the GeForce GTX 280, the existing design and production technology behind it didn’t lend itself well to doubling up the GPU’s into a single card. Today NVIDIA has finally caught back up in the war to shrink its GPU’s into the smallest manufacturing process currently available, 55nm. With the die shrink they were able to reign in power consumption and with just 289W TDP (Total Dissipated Watts) I’d say they’ve done a great job.
The front of the GeForce GTX 295 is covered by a black metal front cover for no reason other than to offer protection for the components located behind it. What makes this cover different than say the one found on the GeForce 9800 GX2 is the fact that soft touch paint is used for a matte look and feel. Looking at the GTX 295, I have to say that its more appealing than the 9800 GX2.The upper exhaust area is larger on the GTX 295 as well which should help keep this monster cooler. The fan looks to be a carryover from the old GX2 and does a great job staying quiet, yet keeping everything cool.
The two GPUs used in the GeForce GTX 295 have specifications that sit between the GeForce GTX 260 and GTX 280. Each GPU features the full array of 240 processing cores and 80 texture filtering units. The processor cores and filtering units operate at 1242 MHz and 576 MHz respectively. Each GPU features seven ROP and framebuffer partitions. Each ROP partition contains four ROP units, providing each GPU with 28 ROP units. Each framebuffer partition is connected to 128 MB of memory, totaling 896 MB of video memory for each GPU. That brings the overall memory on the card up to 1792 MB, which is no doubt a strange amount of memory. The total number of processing cores would be 480 and that makes this card one that should perform with the best of them.
The back of the card is not covered at all, which is strange considering the GeForce 9800 GX2 was covered by a metal casing on all sides.
At an MSRP of $499 for reference models, we have a great looking card that should have the power to back up the price tag. Is it enough to give the ATI Raedeon HD 4870X2 a black eye? Let’s take a look.