Articles: Graphics

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Now that Nvidia has issued a symmetric response to ATI’s Radeon HD 4870 X2, it is clear that the multi-GPU paradigm is utterly victorious or close to that in the premium graphics card sector. However, the ordinary single-chip architecture hasn’t yet completely given up. In one of our previous reports we tested Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 280 and ATI’s Radeon HD 4850 X2 belonging to the same price category. Nvidia’s product lost, but the main reason for that defeat seemed to be not in the G200 architecture as such, but in the low frequencies of the GPU.

Even before we published that review, EVGA’s graphics cards with the new 55nm revision of the G200 chip had landed on the market. The first of them was the GeForce GTX 260 Core 216. Although its default frequencies had been left intact at 576MHz for the main domain and 1240MHz for the shader domain, our attempt to overclock it was a tremendous success. Effortlessly and without any extreme overclocking methods we managed to lift the clock rates up to 715/1541MHz, which was sufficient proof of the significantly improved frequency potential of the G200b chip. When overclocked, the new GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 not only caught up with but outperformed the GeForce GTX 280 in most of our tests! Of course, we began to look forward to a successor to the GeForce GTX 280, too.

January 13, Nvidia began to ship two new G200b-based graphics cards, GeForce GTX 295 and GeForce GTX 285. The former was a response to ATI’s Radeon HD 4870 X2 as a classic dual-chip solution that traced its origin back to the GeForce 7950 GX2. The GTX 285 resembled the GeForce 8800 Ultra as it was only different from its predecessor GeForce GTX 280 with increased GPU and memory frequencies.

As opposed to the GeForce GTX 260 Core 216, the core of the GeForce GTX 285 works in its full configuration including 240 unified shader processors, 80 texture processors and 32 raster back-ends.

Considering the recommended prices, the GeForce GTX 285 is the direct opponent to the Radeon HD 4850 X2, but it would be too optimistic to expect the same performance from the new card considering the modest frequency growth. If this is so, what frequencies would a G200b-based card need to be competitive to the RV770 duo? Good for us, EVGA has issued one of the fastest versions of GeForce GTX 285 available. It is called EVGA GeForce GTX 285 SSC.

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