NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295 Unleashed

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There's no doubt that the 3D Graphic Card business is what you'd call a proverbial "tough gig".  There was a time when discreet graphics card options were available from numerous GPU vendors, but over the years, the relentless pace of technology and fierce competition has homogenized the market down to virtually two primary suppliers.  In mainstream 3D Graphics, there is but one mantra--keep pace or exceed, execute or die.  It's a simple equation that keeps product refreshes ongoing and a natural progression of the graphics food chain that results in continuously improved product offerings, at both the hardware and software levels.

NVIDIA is obviously one of the few companies, along with AMD's ATI graphics division, that has executed amazingly well over the years.  The continuous strike / counter-strike battle that rages on between the two companies affords consumers increasingly more powerful products, as well as more realism in 3D games, as developers take advantage of each new technology update.  In 2008, NVIDIA had the fastest single GPU solution on earth with the GeForce GTX 280, while AMD's ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 took the most powerful single card performance spot with its dual, 55nm RV770 GPU solution.

Today, fresh out of the gate for 2009, NVIDIA returns AMD's volley with their own optimized, multi-GPU, single card solution that aims to trump their rivals once again.  NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 295 is unleashed today.  With a pair of 55nm GT200B GPUs under its hood in a pseudo-single card, dual slot height configuration, it's direct competition for the ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2.  We'll step you through the technology behind NVIDIA's new single card SLI-enabled beast and then clock it around the benchmark track with some of the latest, most popular game titles on the market.

 

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295
Specifications and Features
GPU:
Fabrication Process: 55nm
Processor Cores: 480
ROP Units: 56
Texture Filtering Units: 160
Core Clock (MHz): 576 MHz
Shader Clock (MHz): 1242 MHz
Texture Filtering Rate: 92.2Giga Texels/s

Memory:
Memory Clock (MHz DDR): 1998 MHz
Total Memory Config: 1792 MB
Memory Interface Width: 448-bit per GPU
Total Memory Bandwidth: 223.8GB/s

Display Support:
Maximum Digital Resolution: 2560x1600
Maximum VGA Resolution: 2048x1536

Standard Display Connectors:
2 x Dual-Link DVI-I, 1 x HDMI
Feature Support:
NVIDIA SLI-ready: Quad-SLI
NVIDIA PureVideo Technology-HD
NVIDIA PhysX-ready
NVIDIA CUDA Technology
HybridPower Technology
GeForce Boost
Microsoft DirectX 10
OpenGL 2.1

Bus Support: PCI-E 2.0 x16

Standard Graphics Card Dimensions:
Height: 4.376 inches (111 mm)
Length: 10.5 inches (267 mm)
Width: Dual-slot

Thermal and Power Specs:
Maximum GPU Temperature (in C): 105
Maximum Graphics Card Power (W): 289
Power Connectors: 6-pin x1, 8-pin x1


Looking closely at the spec list above, you'll note that the GeForce GTX 295 looks like a double-shot of the GeForce GTX 280 on a single card but with GTX 260 core clock and memory speeds, as well as the GTX 260's slightly narrower memory interface.  More details on this later, but beyond that we should also point out that the new GeForce GTX 295 also has a texture fillrate that comes close to a pair of GeForce GTX 280s in SLI.

In terms of the underlying technology behind NVIDIA's GT200 family of GPUs, as well as detailed explanations on many of their features, we'd suggest perusing one or more of the following HotHardware articles covering NVIDIA's previous GPU architectures:

Our GeForce 8800 GTX launch article goes in depth on NVIDIA's previous generation G80 GPU architecture and explains NVIDIA's CUDA GPGPU technology.  Also, our GeForce GTX 280 and GTX 260 article covers much of the base NVIDIA GT200 GPU architecture, that is employed in 55nm technology now on the new GeForce GTX 295 we'll be covering for you in the pages ahead.
 

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Awesome. I've actually seen this beast in a few systems about 2 weeks ago already. They perform amazingly.

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Is it possible to use the HDMI and both DVI connections at the same time? I.e. connect three monitors?

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the 295 consumes less power, and is more quiet than the 4870x2, however, all things considered, i think the 4870x2 holds the top. two 295 would completly overpower 2 4870x2 (mostly because games dont use all 4 cores). but one 4870x2 is cheaper, and performs better.

on the other hand nvidia has physx and cuda, which could play a role in the games of 09...

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Both the ATI and Nvidia cards have there advantages. Youd say that spending a bit more now and going with the Nvid card is a bit more future proof, While the ATI card is the best bag for the $ at the moment going off strictly price.

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basically, thats the way i see it der, nvidia got the extreme top performance (when you sli them), but the best bang in the "normal" high end is still with ati.

i dont know how well the extra features nvidia has will play out, since physx has been rather useless so far, but this could turn out to be a bit like the x800 series sm 3.0 fiasco (though, on a smaller scale).

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