XFX GTX295 PCIe Graphics Card

Test Setup & Analysis

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: DFI X58 UT T3eH8
Memory: 3x2GB Corsair DDR3 1600mhz @ 8-8-8-24
HD : Hitachi Deskstar 7k160 7200rpm 80GB
GPU: XFX GTX295
Graphics Drivers: GeForce 181.22
PSU: Gigabyte ODIN 1200w
 
During the testing of the setups 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. For the 3DMark and gaming tests a single card configuration was used.

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

• Race drive: GRID
• 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 from the graph above, the GTX295 consumes up to 50w less power than the 4870x2. This is a stunning achievement by Nvidia made even greater when you consider that the card is actually 2 cards in one.


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.
 

 
 
As expected, being a dual PCB design, the card runs hot, topping 90c when under load. The fan was left on auto throughout the testing which was noticeable when idle but did not become too loud even when put under extreme load. It certainly wasn't as loud as the vacuum cleaner 4870x2. I should point out that the GX2 seemed to exhaust the majority of the heat out of the back of the card whereas the 4870x2's memory sinks got very hot and would dissipate that heat freely into a case. Something you may want to consider when choosing either of these cards if, as I suspect, you will be using them in a closed case environment.


Overclocking

stock overclocked


The card overclocked effortlessly past the 650MHz core speed mark but here is where things began to get a little tricky, most likely due to linking the shader clock to the core clock. We did manage to squeeze a further 40MHz out of the card but anymore and the card began to show faults. Much the same story was to be had with the memory where we managed a maximum clock speed of 1250MHz. This improved the COD4 FPS by an average 12% thereabouts which is nothing to be sniffed at, especially when gaming at max resolutions with plenty of AA.

Let's move on to our suite of benchmarks where we pitch it up against the ATI 4850x2, GTX285 and stock GTX280...



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Most Recent Comments

10-02-2009, 16:34:52

w3bbo
The current undisputed king of performance is the mighty 4870x2. It has consistently held off the GTX280, most recently the GTX285 but now the scales are balanced, 2 cores vs 2 cores, mano a mano. In a no holds barred, head to head stand off we pitch the best against the best, card against card to see who holds the winning hand in an OC3D clash of the titans.

http://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/artic...202721460s.jpg

Review here

10-02-2009, 16:41:19

Hassan

10-02-2009, 17:53:49

zak4994
Compare the price of the GTX295 against the 4870X2. You should have also overclocked the ATI card to make it more fair.

Still a solid good card. ATI's reply to be recieved soon?

10-02-2009, 18:00:44

w3bbo
Why would I overclock the ATI to make it fair? Both cards were run stock throughout apart from the overclocking section which showed the possibilities of overclocking the GTX295 (which was the card being reviewed!).

10-02-2009, 18:05:08

zak4994
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='w3bbo'
Why would I overclock the ATI to make it fair? Both cards were run stock throughout apart from the overclocking section which showed the possibilities of overclocking the GTX295 (which was the card being reviewed!).
Yeah I meant the overclocking section just to see how the card fares/fairs (Sp?)

10-02-2009, 18:11:40

Diablo
I think that review was pretty balanced TBH...BTW I want that card. Just thought, you could stick two of these bad boys in (quad SLI) then have a GTX 285 for a third/PPU/fifth GPU.

Only problem is the price...anybody want a kidney?

10-02-2009, 18:24:49

VonBlade
Not much to choose between them. Having had a Nvidia for a few years, and now got a ATI, I'd probably pick the Nvidia just because the drivers seem easier to work with. Either that or I haven't got my head around the CCC.

Anyway, ace review and anyone with either of those cards is going to be thrilled. Shame that, once again, reference design coolers suck twenty kinds of expletive deleted. I can understand companies having rubbish ones on the bottom end to keep Zalman in business and give ASUS and Sapphire something to tweak, but at 400 notes I want the biggest, baddest, quietest cooler technology can build.

11-02-2009, 03:06:06

premiumgfx
Both the 4870 and GTX295 look great, although I like the 4870X2 better.(I'm a fanboy )

11-02-2009, 03:15:54

Diablo
At least now there's a bit of choice for the discerning enthusiast/fanboy...

11-02-2009, 03:16:19

fruityness
ATI then Nvidia, then ATi then Nvidia.. And the fight goes on.

Cant find the price of this specific card, not that I did a huge in depth search but:

Sapphire HD 4870X2 2GB GDDR5 £340

BFG GTX295 1792MB DDR3 £440

Zotac GTX295 1792MB DDR3 £420

EVGA GTX295 1792MB GDDR3 £433

All those prices from ebuyer. Are the 295's really worth THAT much more for so little performance boost - especially considering the only benefit of the 295 seems to be at high resolution with lots of AA?

For me if it were my bucks on the line, not that I am looking for new graphics right now, I'd say no way hosť.

11-02-2009, 04:44:04

w3bbo
It's a tough one to call tbh. Anyone who spends that amount of cash on a GPU, be it the 4870x2 or the GTX295 would be mad not to first purchase a large screen and then apply large amounts of AA. With that respect then the GTX295 is the better card. However if you only have a mid size screen say 19-22" and like your AA then the 4870x2 would be more than enough but then so would many other cards.

11-02-2009, 07:21:31

Jaster
were not taking price performance ratio...yes the cost is an issue...but you dont play down the baddest boxer in the world cos his mrs says hes crap in bed...yes for most of us mortals this will be an issue...but when it comes to manufacturers reigning top spot performance is the only issue...bragging rights are everything...still I see no reason to shift from my gx2 yet...and yes that is a price related statement...but its a beast of a card...lets see how long nvidia can hold it...because AMD/ATI are seeming to be closing the gap in many many areas

11-02-2009, 11:48:03

zak4994
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Jaster'
were not taking price performance ratio...yes the cost is an issue...but you dont play down the baddest boxer in the world cos his mrs says hes crap in bed...yes for most of us mortals this will be an issue...but when it comes to manufacturers reigning top spot performance is the only issue...bragging rights are everything...still I see no reason to shift from my gx2 yet...and yes that is a price related statement...but its a beast of a card...lets see how long nvidia can hold it...because AMD/ATI are seeming to be closing the gap in many many areas
4970x2 anyone

11-02-2009, 11:56:34

monkey7
Yeah, I'm waiting on news on that too

11-02-2009, 11:56:49

Rastalovich
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='zak4994'
4970x2 anyone
Nope. Unless I was given one perhaps.

I don't have any extreme prejudice against the ATI camp for the sake of it, for me it's all to do with confidence in the product in so much as I install it and anything else I do to it maintenance wize will be looking to improve the performance over an existing stable platform.

nVidias drivers do go through their rotations, but if the ccc were as-good, I'd have no hesitation. And to be fair I hear they've vastly improved over the last few years - needless to say, improved and being as-good are two different things.

Plastic benchmarks and claims of the likes of 4870x2 don't impress me tbh.

Time spent messing on a pc costs money too, more importantly time u can't get back for a priceless amount. Spend £150+ more for the card ? For me, if it means this priceless time is not lost - then yes.

11-02-2009, 15:24:03

Allargando
Cost per frame was a nice metric imo...but then again if you're going to shell out £400 for a card I guess that doesn't matter so much

CPF would push me towards a 4870x2

11-02-2009, 17:10:11

zak4994
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='fruityness'
ATI then Nvidia, then ATi then Nvidia.. And the fight goes on.

Cant find the price of this specific card, not that I did a huge in depth search but:

Sapphire HD 4870X2 2GB GDDR5 £340

BFG GTX295 1792MB DDR3 £440

Zotac GTX295 1792MB DDR3 £420

EVGA GTX295 1792MB GDDR3 £433

All those prices from ebuyer. Are the 295's really worth THAT much more for so little performance boost - especially considering the only benefit of the 295 seems to be at high resolution with lots of AA?

For me if it were my bucks on the line, not that I am looking for new graphics right now, I'd say no way hosť.
Well if you are going to be running at those high resolutions, then we can expect you to have an expensive screenie and be willing to pay the £100-ish more for the higher AA capabilities.

12-02-2009, 03:54:31

fruityness
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Jaster'
were not taking price performance ratio...yes the cost is an issue...but you dont play down the baddest boxer in the world cos his mrs says hes crap in bed...yes for most of us mortals this will be an issue...but when it comes to manufacturers reigning top spot performance is the only issue...bragging rights are everything...still I see no reason to shift from my gx2 yet...and yes that is a price related statement...but its a beast of a card...lets see how long nvidia can hold it...because AMD/ATI are seeming to be closing the gap in many many areas
The thing is though, it is NOT the baddest boxer in the world. The x2 pimp slaps it in 3dmark`05 and 06, Its even holding its own in a physx enabled game - UT3 - quote "All the games above, even the PhysX enabled UTIII favoured the 4870x2, that was until the resolution was increased and AA applied".

More standard resolutions and the 295 looses out not by a little but by a lot, its only at 2560x1600 and 4AA that 295 seems to have a lead, and then thats not the case in Grid. And I'd be willing to bet that if you used those resolutions and that level of AA then the game would jitter and lag anyway - you know how it is, fighting away, hear a sound from behind so you spin about quickly - the game lags temorarily etc etc..

As for bragging rights? I'd chuckle if a friend say they bought this, its no performance gain really, it looses out by a big margin at resolutions the majority use.

Waste the £100 extra, many will, if it were me I'd wait for a card which blows the other out the water THEN cough up the money. Not for a trickle of extra (and I bet real world unusable) performance.

12-02-2009, 06:24:08

Rastalovich
People do need to take their regular resolutions into account. And perhaps resolutions they're gonna get soon.

24" is quality aspiration for most imo. Whilst 20" is a solid standard.

I do think it's about time the 1024x768, and possibly even 1280x1024 were less concentrated on for runs or standards for benching tools.

Believe OC3D use a pretty good range of resolutions for their tests. The 2560 ranges are quite silly to be fair, but interesting.

*peers at w3bb0's monitor*

12-02-2009, 06:43:48

Diablo
Bear in mind, the people likely to buy the highest end kit will probably have other high end kit e.g. that 30" monitor. If you think the 4870x2 drivers have had more time to mature, its not surprising the 295x2 drivers are a little behind

12-02-2009, 07:07:38

Sleekit
I got a nVidia 260 black edition but I was this!!!

*drools*

*claws screen*

12-02-2009, 08:06:05

Rastalovich
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Diablo'
Bear in mind, the people likely to buy the highest end kit will probably have other high end kit e.g. that 30" monitor. If you think the 4870x2 drivers have had more time to mature, its not surprising the 295x2 drivers are a little behind
Lookup how much the Dell 30" costs, I`d be half as likely to own one of those than a 295x2.

I'd not see much point in going for a cheap 30" that just upscales a 24" screen.

Quality 24" are more like the similar price for top cards.

12-02-2009, 10:03:51

w3bbo
I can see both sides of the discussion. On the one hand if you have a 20-22" screen then either of these two cards is overkill. 24" and especially a 30" monitor then both these cards come into their own and this is who the cards are targetted at. Alot more money is to be made by selling mid range cards as this is where the majority buy. Much better to sell 20 or 30 midrange cards than 1 or 2 top end ones (I don't know if thats the correct ratio, it would most likely be alot more).

However, both these cards are Flagship products. Products that advertise who is best. It's willy waving at the most extreme scale. At the moment that title goes to Nvidia, recently it was ATI and no doubt when the 5 series arrive ATI will reclaim that crown. This is great news for us, the consumer as competition is healthy.

Whether you 'need' these cards is pretty much irrelevant when it comes to enthusiasts. I mean who really needs 24gb of ram and a 4ghz top of the line cpu. Very few, if anyone actually needs that kind of power but it doesn't stop us all from WANTING.

I want a Maclaren F1. Do I need one? No but if I could afford one, it would be highest on my shopping list. Not so much for bragging rights (ok maybe it would be a little bit) but because 'it's the best'.

12-02-2009, 10:12:46

Diablo
Also with the arrival of stereo output (3d woot) massive processing power suddenly makes sense
Reply
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