BFG's GTX 295 H2OC: Water-Cooled Graphics

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Test Bed Configuration and Crysis

HOW WE CONFIGURED THE TEST SYSTEM: All tests were performed using the same platform and hardware. An Asus M3A78-T Deluxe and a Phenom II X4 955 were the basis of the testbed, along with 4GB of OCZ DDR2-1067. All drivers, benchmarks, and the OS itself were installed fresh; benchmark results were run three times and averaged. Manual playthroughs were performed 3x and averaged as well; repetition should cancel out the individual differences from each run.

When one of your cards isn't too far from the $1000 mark, it's tough to find appropriately priced competition. In the end, we settled for a stock GTX 295, courtesy of NVIDIA, and a Radeon HD 4870X2. As we noted at the start, the BFG H2OC has its work cut out for it, and we don't expect performance alone to settle the question of whether or not this card is worth the money. Anisotropic filtering was locked at 16x in all benchmarks at all resolutions, antialiasing settings varied slightly depending on the benchmark and the available options. Generally, we targeted 1680x1050/4xAA for a lower-end option, or for those with smaller monitors, and 1900x1200/8xAA at the upper end.

HotHardware's Test Systems
Phenom II Powered

Hardware Used:
Phenom II X4 955 (3.2GHz)

Asus M3A78-T Deluxe
(AMD 790GX chipset)

NVIDIA GTX 295 Stock
ATI Radeon HD 4870X2

4GB OCZ DDR2-1067
(2 X 2GB)

Integrated Audio
Integrated Network

Seagate 7200.10 750GB
(7200 RPM - SATA)

Relevant Software:
Windows Vista Ultimate SP2 64-bit

ATI Catalyst v9.8
NVIDIA GeForce Drive v190.62

Benchmarks Used:

FarCry 2
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars v1.5*
Tom Clancy H.A.W.X.
Left 4 Dead*

* - Custom benchmark

Crysis v1.21
DirectX 10 Gaming Performance


If you're at all into enthusiast computing, the highly anticipated single player, FPS smash-hit Crysis, should require no introduction. Crytek's game engine produces some stunning visuals that are easily the most impressive real-time 3D renderings we've seen on the PC to date. The engine employs some of the latest techniques in 3D rendering like Parallax Occlusion Mapping, Subsurface Scattering, Motion Blur and Depth-of-Field effects, as well as some of the most impressive use of Shader technology we've seen yet. In short, for those of you that want to skip the technical jib-jab, Crysis is a beast of a game. We ran the full game patched to v1.21 with all of its visual options set to 'High' to put a significant load on the graphics cards being tested. A custom demo recorded on the Ice level was used throughout testing.

It's not surprising to see the Radeon HD 4870X2 trailing the GTX 295 in Crysis; the game has never been known as a Team Red favorite. What is interesting, however, is the performance hit we see from both of the GTX's when we move from 4x to 8x FSAA—ATI might start at a lower framerate, but it drops far less when we increase the resolution and the AA levels, at least initially. While all three cards are fairly well-matched at 1900x1200 and 8xAA, ATI slips behind again once we move to higher AA levels.

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