When the first GeForce GTX 295 rumors surfaced on the internet, it was widely expected that NVIDIA would base the card entirely off the 216-shader GeForce GTX 260. Using this GPU as the foundation for the card made the most logical sense in order to keep costs as well as power consumption and heat down.
However, NVIDIA ultimately ended up borrowing aspects of both the GTX 260 and the GTX 280 for the GeForce GTX 295.
Like the GeForce GTX 280, the GPUs inside GTX 295 contain 240 stream processors apiece, with a grand total of 480 stream processors for the entire 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 unchanged from the GeForce GTX 260, with the GTX 295 featuring a 448-bit memory interface with 1.792GB of GDDR3 memory (896MB per GPU) clocked at 1.0GHz (2.0GHz effective).
As a result, its paper specs lie somewhere between the GeForce GTX 280 and the GTX 260. The following chart summarizes the differences among the various GeForce GTX 200 GPUs:
|GeForce GTX 200 Series Comparison|
|GeForce GTX 295||GeForce GTX 280||GeForce GTX 260 216-core|
|# of Shaders||480||240||216|
|Memory Size||896MB x 2 ||1GB||896MB|
|Total Memory Bandwidth||112GB/sec x 2||141.7GB/sec||111.9GB/sec|
|Texture Filtering Units||160||80||64|
|Texture Filtering Rate||92.2 GigaTexels/sec||48.2Gigatexels/sec||36.9Gigatexels/sec|
|Display Connectors||2 x Dual-Link DVI-I|
1 x HDMI
|2 x Dual-Link DVI-I||2 x Dual-Link DVI-I|
|Power Connectors||1 x 6-pin|
1 x 8-pin
|1 x 6-pin|
1 x 8-pin
|2 x 6-pin|
|Max Board Power||289W||236W||182W|
|Availability||Jan 8th, 2009||Now||Now|
As you can see, despite the graphics horsepower inside the GeForce GTX 295, the board has a respectable power consumption figure: 286W. For those of you keeping score, this is the exact same power rating as the Radeon 4870 X2. NVIDIA’s specifications recommend a 680W PSU for the GeForce GTX 295.
Priced at $499, the GeForce GTX 295 is also priced right in the middle of GTX 280 SLI and GTX 260 SLI. In comparison Radeon 4870 X2 cards start right around $460 on Newegg, which is where all of our pricing data comes from. The GeForce GTX 295 will hit retailers on January 8th of next year, but we were granted access to a preproduction board to run some preliminary benchmarks to whet your appetite ahead of the launch.
This early access did come with a few conditions however. Namely game titles tested were limited to five holiday launch games: Call of Duty: World at War, Dead Space, Fallout 3, Far Cry 2, and Left 4 Dead, plus one title of our own choosing. Naturally since it’s still the most demanding game on the market we chose Crysis.
The final condition was that we couldn’t run power consumption and acoustic tests. Don’t worry though, our preproduction card scored well here with the card running quietly and with respectable power draw. NVIDIA said they wanted to save something for us to talk about for the official launch day. How nice of them. NVIDIA didn’t tell us we couldn’t OC the board, which is one of the aspects we were most interested in anyway. First let’s take a peek under the board’s black shroud though…