NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285 & 295 video cards tested: expensive but awesome

Jan 16, 2009
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NVIDIA's recently shrunken 55nm GT200 GPU has found its way into the GeForce GTX 285 and GTX 295 video cards, and those cards have ambled onto The Tech Report's testing bench.  Each card takes advantage of a different aspect of the new GT200 version: the single-chip GTX 285 benefits from the increased speed, while the dual-chip GTX 295 uses the smaller die to fit two GPUs onto one card. 

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285, then, gets clock boosts all round, with the main GPU clock up to 648MHz, shaders up to 1476MHz, and memory up to 1242MHz.  That's faster than its GTX 280 predecessor, but with lower power requirements (and therefore a less tricky PSU socket).  Meanwhile the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295 manages not-quite-as-much power as two 285's, thanks to the loss of a ROP partition, but still plenty; you can also repurpose one of the chips to handle PhysX calculations.

In use, the GTX 285's main competition seemingly comes from cheaper dual-chip graphics cards, but beats them on stability, power consumption and, often, acoustics (as it should for $379).  Paired up in an SLI setup and things get even more impressive.  As for the GTX 295, The Tech Report are keen to award it the "dual-slot, dual-GPU, single-card performance crown", though it's a category with little competition.  What they do suggest is that you should be looking at a 30-inch monitor at least in order to make the most of it, which given the card's roughly $499 tag makes for an expensive proposition.  Both cards, though, perform very well; check out the full test at the link above.


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