Nvidia GTX295 Quad SLI

Test Setup

Test Setup

To ensure that all reviews on Overclock3D are fair, consistent and unbiased, a standard set of hardware and software is used whenever possible during the comparative testing of two or more products. The configurations used in this review can be seen below:

i7 Rig

CPU: Intel Nehalem i7 920 Skt1366 2.66GHz (@3.835 GHz)
Motherboard: Gigabyte X58 UD5
Memory: 3x1GB Kingston HyperX DDR3 2000MHz @ 9-9-9-24
HD : Hitachi Deskstar 7k160 7200rpm 80GB
GPU: Zotac GTX295 / XFX GTX295
Graphics Drivers: GeForce 182.06
PSU: Gigabyte ODIN 1200w
 
Setting up SLI was a painless experience. I simply plugged the first card in, installed the latest drivers from Nvidia (182.06), shut down the system and installed the second card. The second card was identified and after a few automatic screen refreshes later the installation was complete. I then went into the Nvidia control panel to enable SLI and to set the PhysX acceleration and went to the device manager to check all GPU's were present (see below) and that was it, job done.
 
4x295 SLI Setup

Power requirements

You will most certainly need a powerful PSU to run two of these cards in SLI along with a high end base system. Luckily for us our test rig's PSU, a Gigabyte Odin 1200w was up to the job but Nvidia recommend a 1000W PSU for these cards with good cause as we show below.

Below right I took a shot of the SLI'd cards to highlight the Blue LED which is redundant in single card configuration. While not exactly ground breaking it is a useful add-on that reduces the trial and error when plugging in your primary monitor.
 
Power SLI
 
During the testing of the setup above, special care was taken to ensure that the BIOS settings used matched whenever possible. A fresh install of Windows Vista was also used before the benchmarking began, with a full defrag of the hard drive once all the drivers and software were installed, preventing any possible performance issues due to leftover drivers from the previous motherboard installations.

To guarantee a broad range of results, the following benchmark utilities were used:
 
3D / Rendering Benchmarks
• 3DMark 05
• 3DMark 06
• 3DMark Vantage

3D Games
• Crysis
• Far Cry 2
• Oblivion

• Bioshock
• Call of Duty IV
• Unreal Tournament III


Power Consumption

Power consumption was measured at the socket using a plug-in mains power and energy monitor. Because of this, the readings below are of the total system, not just the GPU. Idle readings were taken after 5 minutes in Windows. Load readings were taken during a run of Crysis.
 

 
As you can see the full system draw of our test rig with two GTX295's is massive. A 'normal' high end test rig is likely to be even higher than this as our rig had no extra fans, hard drives, watercooling etc to power so ensure you have a meaty PSU to power your setup.
 
Temperatures

Temperatures were taken at the factory clocked speed during idle in Windows and after 10 minutes of running Furmark with settings maxed out (2560x1600 8xMSAA). Ambient temperatures were taken with a household thermometer. As we use an open test bench setup consideration should be given to the fact that the temperatures would likely increase further in a closed case environment.
 
 

Surprisingly, adding a second GTX295 did little to affect the temperatures of the cards. I should state however that the noise output of the cards, even at idle, was clearly audible. On full load the cards were noisy enough to become distracting but this is outside of a case environment so it is likely the cards noise would be subdued somewhat in an enclosed space. I would still recommend a good set of headphones or speakers to drown out the whooshing noise nonetheless.
 
Let's move on to our suite of benchmarks where we pitch it up against the ATI 4870x2 and XFX GTX295 in our full suite of GPU benchmarks...
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Most Recent Comments

03-03-2009, 04:55:36

JN
"Have the problems of linking four GPU's been ironed out? Was heat still an issue? How do they scale? Is it a worthy purchase. Find out in our Quad SLI GTX295 review..." - by webbo

http://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/artic...215431918s.jpg

Nvidia GTX295 Quad SLI

03-03-2009, 06:20:16

Brooksie
holy crap at the fps it gives

insane price though, maybe if i win the lottery lol

03-03-2009, 06:24:31

VonBlade
Tis a strange set of results. Part of me, the "more power" part, loves that the Quad SLI scales at insane resolutions and allows for the AA and AF to be cranked up whilst still providing enormous frame-rates in everything on the planet.

The "I'm a pauper" part of me is surprised that as a single 295 still provides fully playable frame-rates (over 60fps) in everything so I wonder why anyone would bother paying for another one to Quad it. Even the 30" brigade have no real need to go Quad-SLI.

So I'm in absolute awe of the results, demonstrating that PC hardware has reached a peak we couldn't have possibly forseen a year ago. But I'm still aghast that anyone would even consider going Quad for anything other than bragging rights.

Phenomenal all around. And 4.2ghz on air! You hero

03-03-2009, 06:33:04

GavX
Lovi'n the "Balls to teh Wall" section, nice touch

Good review, but I agree with VB, 30fps is ample, as nice as 260 or something ludicrus in CoD4 is, my 4870 can make that game playable.

Still, if I also won the lottery...

03-03-2009, 08:00:14

FarFarAway
Great review as usual. This looks to be the peak in performance at the moment and whilst I have never been a fan of multiple card setups, it is insane

03-03-2009, 11:52:06

w3bbo
Need and want are always going to be debatable points when it comes to the pinnacle of hardware.

Do we really 'need' 4ghz CPU's and quad sli - I doubt it. Wanting however is another matter entirely and with that thought Jim is going to have to move hell and earth to get me to return these cards.

Do I need them? No, I'm quite happy with my 280SLI rig thank you very much, do I want them...too bloody right I do.

03-03-2009, 12:35:54

monkey7
600w mains draw? Less than I actually expected, assuming 85% efficiency that's 510w system draw. My 700w real power could even handle that.

Good review with even better hardware, and other ace review to add to OC3D's collection

Btw: you don't happen to have a pic of the rig with 2*gtx295 and a gtx285?

03-03-2009, 13:09:16

w3bbo
Test rig pics never look pretty m8 as I have little time for cable tidying etc when reviews need to be written.

03-03-2009, 13:14:20

Ham
Get some of them scores up on hwbot!:whack: I can see at least 15 points there.

Nice review anyhow. £800 really is just too much though...

03-03-2009, 14:14:28

zak4994
So I'm guessing that it si good but with current limitations of CPU, its not being utilised fully.

Well i7 let us down :P

Hoping Larrabee will come useful.

03-03-2009, 18:51:17

Bungral
Nice review Rich. It looks like the drivers have come on some since the first Quad SLI 295 reviews came about so fair play to Nvidia on that one.

One lil question though. On the normal phase of testing you have CoD4 with results of:

1680x1050 – 295 188fps and quad 295 236fps

1920x1200 – 295 151fps and quad 295 208fps

2560x1600 – 295 114fps and quad 295 170fps

But then when it comes to the ball to the wall the results look a bit odd as the standard clock results change to: :S

1680x1050 – 295 188fps and quad 295 194fps then OC 295 227fps

1920x1200 – 295 151fps and quad 295 165fps then OC 295 221fps

2560x1600 – 295 114fps and quad 295 126fps then OC 295 174fps

See what I mean?? The original standard clocked quad SLI 295 results were much higher than the standard clocked quad SLI 295 results in the BTTW graph.

Even the original standard clocked quad SLI 295 results at 1680x1050 are better than the BTTW OC results at the same resolution.

Please correct me if I’m being dumb anyone as it’s quite possible, and I’m pretty tired but if it’s not just me, what caused it?

03-03-2009, 18:55:24

Sleekit
Must have been amazing to test these out, maybe one day....maybe just

03-03-2009, 19:13:31

FarFarAway
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Bungral'
But then when it comes to the ball to the wall the results look a bit odd as the standard clock results change to: :S

1680x1050 – 295 188fps and quad 295 194fps then OC 295 227fps

Not CPU limited - random FPS difference

1920x1200 – 295 151fps and quad 295 165fps then OC 295 221fps

CPU limited, more FPS

2560x1600 – 295 114fps and quad 295 126fps then OC 295 174fps

CPU limited, more FPS
My explanation for this difference. 1680 x 1050 puts more on the cards than the CPU and I would think it's just a random FPS difference.

04-03-2009, 14:53:02

w3bbo
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Bungral'
Please correct me if I’m being dumb anyone as it’s quite possible, and I’m pretty tired but if it’s not just me, what caused it?
Nah m8 you were bang on, for whatever reason I uploaded the single overclock GTX295 scores instead of the standard GTX SLI. Thx for the heads up. Corrected the review now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Sleekit'
Must have been amazing to test these out, maybe one day....maybe just
I would be lying if I said I didn't get a kick out of it

04-03-2009, 16:35:26

zak4994
Call of Duty 4 on drugs....

lawlz.

05-03-2009, 04:37:23

Saviour
where's the 4870x2 and 4870x2 crossfire comparison results ?

nice review but i agree on this one, completely unnecessary upgrade even for 30"ers

a friend in the states was running this setup but swapped one of the gtx 295's for a phase change system

and hes got it up to 4.5ghz on air

05-03-2009, 07:05:38

w3bbo
The 4870x2 Crossfire results will be coming soon hopefully.

05-03-2009, 11:29:24

BiscuitCookie
I would love to see that tested on this

www .sharp. net.au/ product-catalogue/ products/ LB1085/

(remove spaces)

09-03-2009, 15:49:51

stevej696
Unbelievable frame rates! Nvidia rules!

09-03-2009, 15:54:10

Rastalovich
w3bbo gets all the great kit

(posted here twice already I'm sure)

09-03-2009, 16:08:12

zak4994
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='stevej696'
Unbelievable frame rates! Nvidia rules!
£800.

nVidia sucking money from us.

But awesome performance none-the-less.

13-03-2009, 06:53:45

garethar
Excellent review - very useful and readable

I am in an odd position atm (probably due to being back on the bike today - but I digress). I have just built a new i7 rig and will soon be moving over to WC. However, the 295 I ordered was recalled and it was replaced (with option to swap back) with a 285. After reading up a bit more (I have been out of the OC scene for about 10 years ) I noticed that the 285 can get some insane OC's - especially WC.

As I will be using this rig to power 3*19" monitors in 3840*1024, would I see better results from quad SLI 295's, or triple SLI 285's ?

(I think the P6T deluxe board does triple - not sure about that yet)

Sorry to go on, but has anyone got a guide that shows how to set up WC loops for the CPU, GPU's and RAM? (Totally new to WC in case you hadn't guessed).

13-03-2009, 07:05:07

sprento
I'm sure if you have a look at the cooling section of these forums you will find a guide on water cooling, if not then you should probably head over to watercooling.co.uk

13-03-2009, 07:07:00

garethar
ok thanks.

13-03-2009, 07:27:22

Toxcity
Pure hardware sex.

13-03-2009, 09:52:58

monkey7
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='garethar'
I am in an odd position atm (probably due to being back on the bike today - but I digress).
Having a bit of pain in the back end? I know the feeling, used to do 32km/day. Ouchies after a 2 month holiday

Quote:
Originally Posted by name='garethar'
As I will be using this rig to power 3*19" monitors in 3840*1024, would I see better results from quad SLI 295's, or triple SLI 285's ?
I do not think you will need this kind of overkill for such a monitor setup to be honest. You probably will only be playing a game on one monitor (?), so the real graphics performance is just on a third of the screen surface. I'd say dual 285 would be more than sufficient.

Personally I'm running 22+24" on a HD4850 which copes perfectly. Yes I have to turn AA down in most games, but apart from that I can max nearly everything out at 1920x1200.

EDIT: and make sure to post some pics of that setup when you reach 15 posts

13-03-2009, 11:13:29

garethar
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='monkey7'
Having a bit of pain in the back end? I know the feeling, used to do 32km/day. Ouchies after a 2 month holiday

I do not think you will need this kind of overkill for such a monitor setup to be honest. You probably will only be playing a game on one monitor (?), so the real graphics performance is just on a third of the screen surface. I'd say dual 285 would be more than sufficient.

Personally I'm running 22+24" on a HD4850 which copes perfectly. Yes I have to turn AA down in most games, but apart from that I can max nearly everything out at 1920x1200.

EDIT: and make sure to post some pics of that setup when you reach 15 posts
oops, forgot to mention 1)it's *motor*bike :P (doing 100 miles a day) and 2)I've got TH2GO, so all three screens are in use (hence the resolution of 15:4)

When it's all set up and benchmarked (assuming I don't fry anything) I'll post a full set of pics and reviews for the kit. There isn't much out there when researching the th2go* really, might save someone some time.

*not wrt to 3 nineteen inch monitors with the thinnest bezels possible and the type of mounting kits that are around. The mounting alone cost £210 !!

23-03-2009, 07:13:04

Lynx
You just did this test for the funsies!

23-03-2009, 11:53:57

w3bbo
I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy this review

23-03-2009, 14:24:25

Lynx
Haha i bet u played a couple of games before you sent them back eh?

23-06-2009, 09:08:32

Lynx
Man thats hardcore.. soon to see the 300 series in octo sli

18-05-2010, 16:44:09

hadesan
Looking forward to seeing how the GTX480s compare against the quad setup

19-05-2010, 11:21:45

AMDFTW
lol thread revival or what

19-05-2010, 11:33:53

tinytomlogan
aye, just as bad when the members say that too though

19-05-2010, 15:58:03

Steve-O-
He has revived a ton of old threads though. /end off-topic for me.

20-05-2010, 11:26:03

thewoolard
Your over a year late to the party...

20-05-2010, 11:58:04

AMDFTW
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='tinytomlogan'
aye, just as bad when the members say that too though :d
lol

03-06-2010, 18:00:11

w3bbo
To be fair though it was a great write up
Reply
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