XFX 280GTX XXX Edition

Packaging and Appearance

Packaging & Appearance
 
XFX have long been the leaders in packaging, so it should come as no surprise that the XFX 280GTX XXX edition, costing £356.69 from Scan, be packaged with the same high standards XFX have previously set. True to form, the product arrives in a very sleek matt and gloss finished outer package with neon green trademarks, along the Alpha Dog set as the backdrop. The only difference between this box and the stock 280GTX is a very subtle additional sticker, no doubt making it a nightmare for warehouse staff to identify! To the rear, we see the usual 'Key Features' along with the claim that the GTX280 is 50% faster than previous generations.
 
Box Front Box Rear
 
The sides of the packaging are nothing extra ordinary with the 'Nsist on NVidia' emblem to the left hand side and the recommended requirements along with a PSU advisory situated along the bottom of the box. A 630W PSU with a 12v current rating of 40A or more is the order of the day or if you are rich enough for SLI 280GTX XXX's, a 680W PSU will be required.
 
Side small Side large
  
Taking the outer sleeve off the package, we find a traditional but sturdy lime green box emblazoned with the XFX logo. Opening that box, we find a very securely packed GTX280 GTX XXX, contained in an anti-static bag. There is not a chance in hell, bar a nuclear blast, that the card would get damaged in transit with excellent packing like this. Beneath the card and the layer of foam, we find the driver CD, the excellent Assassins Creed game and manuals for the card
 
A cardboard separator houses a molex-6 pin adapter, HDMI Audio cable and VGA-DVI adapter. So everything you need to get started. There is a little minor point and that is there is no molex-8 pin adapter so please make sure your PSU has an available PCIe 8pin before buying as unlike the ATI cards which can be powered via 6pin, the GTX280 definitely needs an 8 pin supply or it will not post.
 
Inner Box Nvidia Inside
 
Accessories
 
The card itself measures 10.5" x 4.4" x 1.5" (LxWxH) so will fit in any case that an 8800GTX will. The actual card is fully encased in a plastic and metal frame that serves to both channel air through over the card and lower the possibility of static discharge. The case is then emblazoned with full length XFX 'stickery' that is going to be there for the duration. I was tempted to rip the sticker off to gain access to the GTX's innards but I doubt I would have been able to do so without destroying the look of the card, which I'm certain XFX wouldn't have been too happy about! Rest assured the stickers will not come off on their own accord.
 
Card front Card back
 
Side View Horizontal view
 
Taking a closer look at the card, we see that the fan is the same size and specification as it's sibling GTX260's, in fact, apart from the stickers and obviously the performance, you would be hard pushed to tell one card from the other. Nowhere on the card is there any notification that this is a XXX edition either which is a little surprising but given the clockspeed attained it would be doubtful that there are many yields capable of such a speed that would warrant a different design.
 
Card end 2 Card end 1
 
 A neat little touch on the 200 series of cards is an SLI tab. This removable tab gives access to the SLI keys should you wish to use them. If not, then the rubber tab keeps them hidden away out of harms way without destroying the sleek lines of the card.
 
Access denied access granted
  
Last of all, we come to the business ends of the card. Firstly and as stated previously, you will need both a 6pin and 8Pin PCIe power cables. Disappointingly, the PCIe power sockets do not light up red/green as with the 9800GX2 but it is really only cosmetic, as the card will refuse to allow your PC to post should you not supply it with the correct power cables.
 
The backplate is a pretty standard affair with 2x DVI ports (1 x VGA adapter included) and an S-Video port. There is also a tiny green LED that notifies you when the card is powered on. Below the connections is the main vent area.
 
Power requirements Backplate
  
So, a very strong showing from XFX with class leading packaging and a stunning looking card. Although the card is a  reference design, the stickers are top quality glossy affairs and not some dodgy, paper type ones that peel off after an hours use. The card feels solid, heavy (but not overly so) and because of the casing should last the test of time. I do have some concerns about the heatsink getting clogged with dust and the inevitable cleaning required. With no easy access to the card itself, the only way to clean the heatsink would be by the use of compressed air cannisters but even then you have no way of knowing that the heatsink is clean and dust free. Not really a concern initially and not XFX's fault as it is a standard design but something worth thinking about if you intend to keep the card for a few years.
 
Overall, I'm very impressed with the presentation and as stated previously, it is something we have become accustomed to with XFX who are without doubt, second to no-one in this department.
 
Lets take a look now at the main feature of the review, PhysX.
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Most Recent Comments

16-09-2008, 07:57:41

Mr. Smith
Q. What is innovative about this product?

I don't understand why it was given that award. Decent review, lacking on game benchmarks though /Quote

16-09-2008, 08:15:24

w3bbo
No offence intended m8 but did you actually read the review or just skim over it? The review was aimed more towards PhysX, something I don't feel has had enough exposure. I could easily have benched it against a number of other cards which has been done time and time again. We have already reviewed a stock GTX280 so the overclocked 280 would give a predictable increase in scores and make for some pretty bland reading. I did include some benchmarks against other cards at the end to show the 'predictable' outcome so felt little need to emphasize that fact by running it on 6 or 7 titles. I would like to have seen some more benchmarks run on PhysX enabled games but they are few and far between as it is new and INNOVATIVE technology, incorporating PhysX into a GPU.

I just wanted to show some of the benefits other than raw FPS otherwise every review would be the same, which is not what people want to read imo - maybe I'm wrong?Quote

16-09-2008, 08:44:39

Rastalovich
Good review, I like the smell of this card.

Thing Mr.Smith may be leaning at with the PhysX aspect is.. well.. the 9800GTX will do the PhysX too, and so on.

%age of "good" games that come out and those games that utilize PhysX isn`t that big a margin. Sure it isn`t wildly touted as it could be, but I`m often surprised to notice the blue spinning lights of the PhysX card come on in games I had no idea used it. In particular users of the UT3 engine, and there have been a few.

I`d buy this card over a 4870x2 whenever presented the choice tbh.Quote

16-09-2008, 08:45:09

Bungral
I had a little read of this before bed last night. Some of the physics stuff looked good like shooting the cloth.. That was pretty cool. Will have a proper read later though.

One thing I did notice was that on the opening page I think it is when you mention how much it's overclocked from factory stock speeds you only actually mention how much one of the clocks is up by MHz.. You give 11% but I really couldn't be dealing with working it out and had to go find the other review for stock clocks as I couldn't remember (even though I owned one ).

Very small thing and just me being picky Quote

16-09-2008, 08:54:57

w3bbo
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Rastalovich'
Good review, I like the smell of this card.

Thing Mr.Smith may be leaning at with the PhysX aspect is.. well.. the 9800GTX will do the PhysX too, and so on.

%age of "good" games that come out and those games that utilize PhysX isn`t that big a margin. Sure it isn`t wildly touted as it could be, but I`m often surprised to notice the blue spinning lights of the PhysX card come on in games I had no idea used it. In particular users of the UT3 engine, and there have been a few.

I`d buy this card over a 4870x2 whenever presented the choice tbh.
The thing is PhysX has not really been touched on in any great detail in graphics cards reviews, at least none that I have read and what better way to try it out than with a flagship card? This is something I thought would be of interest to folk aswell as put a different take on the review rather than stick to the norm. A predicatble review is a boring review that no one wishes to read - hence the emphasis on PhysX which hopefully some folk have found interesting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Bungral'
I had a little read of this before bed last night. Some of the physics stuff looked good like shooting the cloth.. That was pretty cool. Will have a proper read later though.

One thing I did notice was that on the opening page I think it is when you mention how much it's overclocked from factory stock speeds you only actually mention how much one of the clocks is up by MHz.. You give 11% but I really couldn't be dealing with working it out and had to go find the other review for stock clocks as I couldn't remember (even though I owned one ).

Very small thing and just me being picky
Fixed - cheers m8.Quote
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