GeForce GTX 275 and Radeon HD 4890 Round-Up
ASUS ENGTX275 and EVGA GeForce GTX 275 1792MB
Much like what we saw and reported with the HD 4890s, three of the four GeForce GTX 275s in our round-up look almost exactly the same. The Gigabyte, ASUS, and EVGA branded cards are all using the same stock cooler and fan, and clock in at the default speeds of 633 MHz for the GPU, 1404 MHz for the shader cores, and 1134MHz for the GDDR3 (2268MHz effective). There is, as they say, more than meets the eye with each of these models, however.
ASUS' ENGTX275 was shipped to us in a box that at once gives you the impression of the true length of the GTX 275 packaged within. A fully armored knight astride his equally armored horse reflects the message displayed prominently on the cover: this card is equipped with "Ultimate Armaments". These "armaments" include an EMI shield that reduces EMI interference for more stable signals, covered chokes and low RDS(on) MOSFETs that guarantee more power efficiency and less heat generation, and finally solid capacitors that not only reduce power loss, but the construction of which should result in longer usage under both normal and extreme conditions.
In addition to all of the above, the ENGTX275 is the first ASUS card to feature device-Fuse protection, helping eliminate any chance of excessive or dangerous rises in temperatures in the card's conductors. Should any of the three over-current controllers malfunction, one of the three fuses present on the circuit board would "break", thus interrupting the flow of the electrical current. So, while the exterior looks quite familiar (other than the same warrior graphic used on the decal), Asus does put their own spin on things. Completing the package, ASUS has included two discs, one with the drivers and another containing a multi-language manual as a backup to the written version. There is also a brief on using the HDMI and S/PDIF connectors that come in the bundle, a DVI-to-VGA adapter, a TV-out cable, as well as a dual Molex to single 6-pin PCI Express power adapter.
EVGA ships all four versions of their GTX 275 cards in relatively similar packaging. As such, one needs to look closely at the details and the price tag to ensure they are getting the expected variant. They include a plain vanilla version, a slight overclock in the Superclocked model, a much better overclock in their FTW release, and finally a double-sized frame buffer model, increasing the onboard memory to 1792MB. This is the model we received for testing. The card, like the box, is primarily done up in black, from the PCB to the shroud with a piston-like graphic on it and a red plastic inlay along the top. The red plastic doesn't appear to serve any other function other than to be an eye-catcher, as this is the edge that would be facing outward in an open-windowed chassis. A company logo stylized "e" finds its way to the top of the fan, but otherwise we're looking at another stock cooler.
Theoretically, the extra memory should help at higher resolutions when additional pixel processing is enabled, and since this extra memory comes at an increased price, we will definitely be keeping an eye on overall performance. We wrap up our look at the EVGA GTX 275 with a review of the package contents; Full installation and quick installation guides, a drivers CD, DVI-to-VGA adapter, and two MOLEX to PCI-E power cables. There's a S/PDIF audio cable included, but oddly no HDMI adapter to go along with it. Although no game is included, per se, there is a special bonus included in the form of a coupon used to gain a discount on some popular games. In our box, we found a code good for 20% off a copy of Mirror's Edge, which when combined with the new lower price on the EA Store website (19.95) is a pretty good deal.