As we know, ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 didn’t have any competitors for a while: any Nvidia solutions with similar price point couldn’t compete against it in performance. At the same time, the idea to design a dual-processor accelerator on G200 chips that would be able to challenge the flagship “red” solution and possibly defeat it kept failing because of enormous size and extremely high heat dissipation of 65 nm GPUs each featuring 1.4 million transistors.
Luckily for Nvidia, Advanced Micro Devices graphics division got too carried away by their undefeated victory, which gave Nvidia some time to regroup and catch up. As a result, G200 was transferred to more progressive 55 nm manufacturing process, which lowered its heat dissipation and power consumption levels quite seriously. It finally became possible although still pretty hard to design an ideological successor to GeForce 9800 GX2. Nvidia simply had no choice and at last they dared do it. This is how GeForce GTX 295 came around that we first discussed in our article called “The King Is Dead, Long Live the King: EVGA GeForce GTX 295+ Graphics Card Review”.
The newcomer featuring two G200b processors tied together using SLI technology managed to defeat the 3D king – Radeon HD 4870 X2. However, it was a true Pyrrhic victory: GeForce GTX 295 turned out extremely complex in design and expensive to manufacture. Remember that it used two PCBs, one per GPU, that were tied together into a high-tech “sandwich” with a cooler inside. This cooler is also result of a compromise. Yes, formally, Nvidia took over the leadership, but in reality GeForce GTX 295 didn’t become very popular neither among the manufacturers, nor among consumers, and even turned out unprofitable for Nvidia. Its high production cost was one of the factors that determined such outcome, because a graphics accelerator with complex design like that couldn’t be cheap. As a result, the new solution was pretty hard to find in retail, and even if you did find it, then its price could be way higher than the recommended one. Moreover, the investment was not worth the performance advantage in games over Radeon HD 4870 X2. Another indication of the crisis is the fact that EVGA GeForce GTX 295+ remained the only such graphics solution that we managed to get into our lab.
So, Nvidia once again became the victim of their own strategy that was targeting the development and production of the most complex and most powerful graphics processors. But at that point it was impossible to give in, especially after AMD stroke a pretty tangible blow with their new Radeon HD 4890. It was impossible to make G200 any simpler; besides, Nvidia didn’t have any adequate replacement for it that is why they had to simplify everything else other than the GPU (see this news story for details).
The company decided to do the impossible: they attempted to design a simpler and cheaper version of a GeForce GTX 295 and they succeeded! Moreover, it could also be sort of a trial run, preparation for production of a new generation of dual-processor Nvidia graphics cards, since the initial GeForce GTX 295 design couldn’t be taken as a basis for them because of its extreme complexity and high production cost.
In our today’s review we will try to find out how Nvidia managed to turn defeat into victory that is why we will discuss the new GeForce GTX 295 revision in detail. Looks like the new design did indeed turn out a success: we managed to get three different graphics cards o0n the flagship “green” solution at the same time. The first one we got was Inno3D GeForce GTX 295 Platinum, so it will do the honor of representing the new solution in X-bit Laboratories.