EVGA GeForce GTX 295 Performance Preview
After providing us with a sneak peek into the features and performance of their GeForce GTX 295 last month
, as promised today is officially unveiling their 55-nm dual GPU GeForce GTX 295 to the general public, with cards going on sale today.
In case you’re just now getting back from holiday break and didn’t know about the GTX 295, we’ll provide a quick refresher.
The GeForce GTX 295 is NVIDIA’s answer to the ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2. Like the 4870 X2, the GTX 295 fuses dual GPUs together onto one graphics card in order to deliver breakthrough performance. This is actually NVIDIA’s third-generation dual GPU card, following the GeForce 7950 GX2 and last year’s 9800 GX2. The layout/design of the GeForce GTX 295 is actually pretty similar to the GeForce 9800 GX2, with the card actually featuring two PCBs, each sporting a GT200b GPU. One PCB is inverted so it faces the other, with a dual-slot heatsink/fan unit sandwiched in between responsible for cooling both GPUs. For added performance, the cooler is outfitted with copper heatpipes for each GPU. In fact, so much copper is used to cool this board it’s pretty heavy, even in comparison to other dual GPU cards like the 9800 GX2 and Radeon 4870 X2.
The GPU(s) used for the GeForce GTX 295 is a hybrid, mixing features from the GTX 260 and GTX 280. Like the GeForce GTX 280, the GPUs inside GTX 295 contain 240 stream processors apiece, for a grand total of 480 stream processors for the entire GTX 295 card. Unlike the GTX 280 however, the GeForce GTX 295 shares the same clock speeds as the GeForce GTX 260 – 576MHz for the graphics core, while the stream processors operate at 1242MHz. The memory subsystem is also carried over from the GTX 260, with the GTX 295 sporting a 448-bit memory interface with 1.792GB of GDDR3 memory (896MB per GPU) clocked at 1.0GHz (2.0GHz effective).
Based on these specs, the GeForce GTX 295 performs somewhere between the GTX 260 and the GTX 280. In our tests back in December, we found the GTX 295 ran roughly 4-5% faster than a pair of 216-shader GeForce GTX 260 cards running in SLI, although there were a few cases in Crysis where that margin opened up to 8%. For more details on the GeForce GTX 295, including a closer look at its board design/cooling and single card performance with cards ranging all the way back to the GeForce 8800 GTX, we highly suggest you check out our early performance test article
In this article we’re going to be taking a look at the first retail board to grace our testbed, EVGA’s GeForce GTX 295 Plus. Since we focused on single-card performance in the first article, we’re also going to devote more of our time in this article to extremely high-end multi-GPU setups like 3-Way and Quad SLI, as well as 2, 3, and 4-Way CrossFire. We’re also going to test with a few additional games that we didn’t get a chance to look at last month. We’ve included STALKER: Clear Sky, because next to Crysis it’s pretty much the most graphically-demanding game out there. BioShock because we wanted to include a game based on Epic’s Unreal Engine 3, and Call of Duty 4, which replaces our tests with CoD: World at War. CoD 4 is the more popular game, so including it was an easy decision. NVIDIA’s up by a pretty large margin in Dead Space, so we’re just going to go ahead and call that game in their favor.
With that out of the way, let’s take a closer look at the EVGA card.