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The Fastest VGA Setups Examined

By: Shawn Baker | Editorials in Video Cards | Posted: Jan 28, 2009 5:00 am

Test System Setup


Processor(s): Intel i7 920 @ 3.8GHz (190MHz x 20)


Cooling: Noctua NH-U12P (Supplied by Noctua)


Motherboard(s): GIGABYTE EX58-UD5 (Supplied by GIGABYTE)


Memory: 3 X 2GB OCZ Technology PC-12800 DDR-3 8-8-8-24 (OCZ3G1600LV6GK)


Hard Disk(s): Western Digital 300GB Velicorapter (Supplied by Western Digital)


Operating System: Windows Vista SP1 64-Bit


Drivers: ForceWare 181.20, Catalyst 8.12 w/ Hotfix


I actually found myself in quite a predicament here. It was a given that the Tri-SLI setup comprising the GTX 285 was going to be included along with the monster four-GPU configuration offered by NVIDIA in the form of two GTX 295s.


However, the real question was whether or not we include the HD 4870 X2 in CrossFireX as the setup is quite aged now. Ultimately, though, it seemed unfair not to include it. We know it's up there in the performance department and you can now pick up a Sapphire X2 for just 449 USD at Newegg, but compared to the new NVIDIA setups, we didn't know just how close it would be.


But really, I don't doubt for a second that the ATI configuration will be able to chalk up a few wins and Clear Sky should surely be one.


Till today, however, we haven't compared GTX 285 in Tri-SLI against GTX 295 in Quad SLI, nor a CrossFireX HD 4870 X2 setup for that matter. Over the next 10 pages we will figure out exactly where your hard earned money should be going.


3DMark Vantage


Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1


Developer Homepage:


Product Homepage:


Buy It Here



3DMark Vantage is the new industry standard PC gaming performance benchmark from Futuremark, newly designed for Windows Vista and DirectX10. It includes two new graphics tests, two new CPU tests, several new feature tests, and support for the latest hardware.


3DMark Vantage is based on a completely new rendering engine, developed specifically to take full advantage of DirectX10, the new graphics API from Microsoft.




Straight away it doesn't come as any real surprise that the NVIDIA setups are putting out some massive numbers. While the HD 4870 X2 CFX setup lags behind, the Tri-SLI setup utilizing three GTX 285 cards actually comes out on top.


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