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Nvidia GeForce GTX 295 vs. ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2: Face to Face

Nvidia lost the previous round where its GeForce GTX 280 wrestled with ATI’s Radeon HD 4850 X2. The new contender sports more impressive parameters but faces a dangerous opponent, Radeon HD 4870 X2. Let’s compare their specifications:

So, both fighters are impressive but each in its own way. The Radeon HD 4870 X2 has a huge advantage in terms of computing resources (which is, however, partially negated by the peculiarities of the superscalar architecture of its shader processors) whereas the GeForce GTX 295 is theoretically superior in texture-mapping and rasterization operations. Considering the higher clock rate of the execution subunits, the new card has a high chance of winning under real-life conditions. The support for hardware PhysX acceleration is a nice bonus. The GeForce GTX 295 can either distribute the computing resources dynamically or assign the job of physics acceleration to one GPU and free the other’s resources for graphics acceleration.

There is one parameter in which the GeForce GTX 295 is inferior to the Radeon HD 4870 X2, though. It is the amount of local graphics memory available to 3D applications. It has only 896 megabytes as compared to the opponent’s 1024 megabytes. Theoretically, this should affect the new card’s performance at high resolutions with full-screen antialiasing, especially in newer games that demands lots of graphics memory. As for memory bandwidth, the GeForce GTX 295 is almost as good as the Radeon HD 4870 X2 thanks to its 448-bit memory buses. It also does not support DirectX 10.1, has no integrated audio core and no full-featured VC-1 decoder, but these drawbacks are insignificant. After all, the GeForce GTX 295 is meant to be the fastest gaming card rather than a HTPC-ready solution.

The GeForce GTX 295 has the same implementation of SLI technology as its predecessor GeForce 9800 GX2. You can read our There Will Be Speed: The Clash of Modern Multi-GPU Technologies review for details.

All in all, the newcomer is strong and prepared to push the Radeon HD 4870 X2 off the 3D king’s throne. Before we see if it succeeds, let’s take a closer look at one of its versions. It is the GeForce GTX 295+ graphics card from EVGA.

 
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