GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 280 Graphics Card

The GTX 280 price continues to fall, so we take the time today to look at a stock clocked model from GIGABYTE.
| Aug 17, 2008 at 11:00 pm CDT
Rating: 91%Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Introduction

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 280 Graphics Card
IntroductionThe other day we looked at the GTX 260 from GIGABYTE. Today we're going to be looking at the slightly more expensive GTX 280 version from them. Since launch, we haven't really seen any companies do much with the GTX 280. While a few have come overclocked, we have found that they've all stuck to the reference cooling option.Today we're going to be looking at the GTX 280 from GIGABYTE which follows the reference design down to a tee. The good news is that the price is also extremely competitive and for the most part the overclocks a lot of companies offer can be achieved by using a program like Rivatuner on your stock card.What we'll do today is have a look at the package to see what GIGABYTE have included and then take a quick look around the card before we see how it performs. So let's not delay any longer and get straight into it.

The Package

The PackageAs we've seen with the last few GIGABYTE reviews, they've gone through a bit of a box change over the last few weeks. Across the top of the card we have the GIGABYTE logo and next to that we have mention that they are an authorized board partner for NVIDIA.
GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 280 Graphics Card
The middle of the box is taken up by a picture of a girl and below that we have the model along with mention that the card comes with 1GB of GDDR3. Below this we have the model mentioned again, but in an extended version.
GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 280 Graphics Card
Turning the box over, we have the main features of the card along with a bit of a blurb on the card and a bit more detail on some of the features. We also have mention of SLI and Tri SLI along with what you need to get it up and running.
GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 280 Graphics Card
Inside the package there isn't a whole lot going on for such a high-end card. Paperwork wise, we have an installation guidebook and manual along with a driver CD.
GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 280 Graphics Card
GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 280 Graphics Card
In the cable department we're greeted with a component / S-Video out dongle, two DVI to VGA connectors and two power connector convertors; one that goes to 6-pin and the other going to 8-pin.

The Card

The CardPulling the card out of the box and straight away you notice the fact it uses the reference GTX 280 cooler. The cooler actually covers the card completely, including the front and back so there isn't a whole lot to see.
GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 280 Graphics Card
GIGABYTE have of course put a sticker on the main part of the cooler to let you know the brand and the model and they have also placed another sticker on the fan which mentions GIGABYTE again.
GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 280 Graphics Card
GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 280 Graphics Card
Looking around the card, everything is sitting where it's supposed to. We have 8-pin and 6-pin PCI-E connectors sitting at the back of the card and towards the front under a rubber cover we have two SLI connectors hiding away.
GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 280 Graphics Card
The I/O department also doesn't hold any surprises with two Dual-Link DVI connectors present alongside a single S-Video TV-Out port. Above the connectors we have a vent that helps let some of the hot air escape.SpecificationsThe card as mentioned follows the reference design which means we have reference clocks. This puts the core at 602MHz, the shader at 1296MHz and the 1GB of GDDR3 memory at 2214MHz DDR.

Test System Setup and 3DMark06

Test System SetupProcessor(s): Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 @ 3GHz (333MHz x 9)Cooling: Corsair Nautilus500 (Supplied by Corsair) with Arctic Cooling MX-2 Thermal Compound (Supplied by Arctic Cooling)Motherboard(s): GIGABYTE X48-DQ6 (Supplied by GIGABYTE)Memory: 2 X 1GB Kingston PC6400 DDR-2 3-3-3-10 (KHX6400D2ULK2/2G) (Supplied by Kingston)Hard Disk(s): Seagate 250GB 7200RPM SATA-2 7200.10 (Supplied by Seagate)Operating System: Windows XP Professional SP2, Windows Vista SP1Drivers: ForceWare 177.41 (GTX Series), ForceWare 175.19 (9 Series)Today we'll be having a look at the GIGABYTE GTX 280 against the overclocked AMP! Edition from ZOTAC. We'll also compare it against the older dual GPU based 9800 GX2 from ASUS and a heavily overclocked 9800 GTX from BFG Tech.3DMark06Version and / or Patch Used: Build 110Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.comProduct Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark06/Buy It Here
3DMark06 is the worldwide standard in advanced 3D game performance benchmarking. A fundamental tool for every company in the PC industry as well as PC users and gamers, 3DMark06 uses advanced real-time 3D game workloads to measure PC performance using a suite of DirectX 9 3D graphics tests, CPU tests, and 3D feature tests.3DMark06 tests include all new HDR/SM3.0 graphics tests, SM2.0 graphics tests, AI and physics driven single and multiple cores or processor CPU tests and a collection of comprehensive feature tests to reliably measure next generation gaming performance today.
GIGABYTE GTX 280
Apart from the 9800 GTX, we can see that most of the cards are bunched up quite close together.

Benchmarks - 3DMark Vantage

3DMark VantageVersion and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.comProduct Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmarkvantage/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.
GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 280 Graphics Card
Moving to something a little more intensive, we can see the cards begin to separate a bit with the GIGABYTE offering sitting just behind the overclocked ZOTAC. We can see it's also beating out the dual GPU 9800 GX2.

Benchmarks - PT Boats: Knights of the Sea

PT Boats: Knights of the SeaVersion and / or Patch Used: Benchmark DemoDeveloper Homepage: http://en.akella.com/Product Homepage: http://www.pt-boats.net/
PT Boats: Knights of the Sea is a naval action simulator that places gamers in charge of a mosquito fleet of the Allied Forces, Russia or Germany during the height of World War II.Using the latest Direct X 10 technology PT Boards - Knights of the Sea manages to apply a lot of stress to the components of today which in turn gives us quite an intensive benchmark.
GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 280 Graphics Card
GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 280 Graphics Card
PT Boats sees both GTX 280s score very close together with the OC doing little for the ZOTAC. The 9800 GX2 is also up there with the cards coming in front at some points and slightly behind in others.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH R10

CINEBENCH R10Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10Developer Homepage: http://www.maxon.net/Product Homepage: http://www.maxon.net
CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer's performace capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software, CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.MAXON CINEBENCH runs several tests on your computer to measure the performance of the main processor and the graphics card under real world circumstances. The benchmark application makes use of up to 16 CPUs or CPU cores and is available for Windows (32-bit and 64-Bit) and Macintosh (PPC and Intel-based).
GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 280 Graphics Card
CINEBENCH puts all the single GPU cards quite close together with the dual GPU 9800 GX2 falling to the back of the pack.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict

World in ConflictVersion and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0.5Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in TestDeveloper Homepage: http://www.massive.se Product Homepage: http://www.worldinconflict.com
World in Conflict is a real-time strategy video game by Massive Entertainment and to be published by Sierra Entertainment for Windows (DX9 and DX10) and the Xbox 360.The game is set in 1989 where economic troubles cripple the Soviet Union and threaten to dissolve it. However, the title pursues a "what if" scenario where, in this case, the Soviet Union does not collapse and instead pursues a course of war to remain in power. It is an intensive new game is sure to put plenty of stress on even the latest graphics cards and we use the built-in benchmarking for our testing.
GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 280 Graphics Card
GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 280 Graphics Card
Firing up WIC, we can see that the overclock of the ZOTAC offering has really only come in handy at 2560 x 1600. At the lower resolutions we see the two cards are almost identical with the GIGABYTE coming out slightly better in the averages.

Benchmarks - Crysis

CrysisVersion and / or Patch Used: 1.2.1Timedemo or Level Used: Custom time demoDeveloper Homepage: http://www.crytek.com/ Product Homepage: http://www.ea.com/crysis/Buy It Here
From the makers of Far Cry, Crysis offers FPS fans the best-looking, most highly-evolving gameplay, requiring the player to use adaptive tactics and total customization of weapons and armor to survive in dynamic, hostile environments including Zero-G.Real time editing, bump mapping, dynamic lights, network system, integrated physics system, shaders, shadows and a dynamic music system are just some of the state of-the-art features the CryENGINE™ 2 offers. The CryENGINE™ 2 comes complete with all of its internal tools and also includes the CryENGINE™ 2 Sandbox world editing system.
GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 280 Graphics Card
Crysis gives the ZOTAC OC model about a 5% jump on the stock clocked GIGABYTE offering. Apart from 2560 x 1600, though, the 9800 GX2 is able to sneak out ahead of the stock clocked GIGABYTE offering.

Benchmarks - Unreal Tournament 3

Unreal Tournament 3Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1Timedemo or Level Used: Developer Homepage: http://www.epicgames.com/ Product Homepage: http://www.unrealtournament3.com/Buy It Here
Following the formulae that made Unreal Tournament so great the third installment to the series has hit us recently with better than ever graphics. The games uses the latest Unreal Engine which like most modern day games when maxed out puts the pressure on our lineup of graphics cards.
GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 280 Graphics Card
While the GX2 performs well at the lower resolution, as more load is placed on the card we can see that the GTX 280s are able to pull out ahead. The GIGABYTE stock clocked offering sits a just behind at the lower resolutions with it falling back a little bit more at the higher one.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF

High Quality AA and AFOur high quality tests let us separate the men from the boys and the ladies from the girls. If the cards weren't struggling before they will start to now.3DMark06
GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 280 Graphics Card
Turning on AA and AF under 3DMark06, we can see that the 9800 GX2 is performing the best. The ZOTAC 280 just trails behind with the GIGABYTE 280 just trailing a little bit more behind.World In Conflict
GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 280 Graphics Card
GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 280 Graphics Card
Turning on AA and AF under WIC sees the 9800 GX2 really struggle and the two GTX 280s come out ahead. The overclock on offer does put ZOTAC's offering noticeably in front of the GIGABYTE in this situation.

Benchmarks - 3DMark06 - XP

3DMark06Version and / or Patch Used: Build 110Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.comProduct Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark06/Buy It Here
3DMark06 is the worldwide standard in advanced 3D game performance benchmarking. A fundamental tool for every company in the PC industry as well as PC users and gamers, 3DMark06 uses advanced real-time 3D game workloads to measure PC performance using a suite of DirectX 9 3D graphics tests, CPU tests, and 3D feature tests.3DMark06 tests include all new HDR/SM3.0 graphics tests, SM2.0 graphics tests, AI and physics driven single and multiple cores or processor CPU tests and a collection of comprehensive feature tests to reliably measure next generation gaming performance today.
GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 280 Graphics Card
Firing up 3DMark06 under Windows XP shows us similar results to Vista with the two 280s and 9800 GX2 performing quite close to each other.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH R10 - XP

CINEBENCH R10Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10Developer Homepage: http://www.maxon.net/Product Homepage: http://www.maxon.net
CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer's performace capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software, CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.MAXON CINEBENCH runs several tests on your computer to measure the performance of the main processor and the graphics card under real world circumstances. The benchmark application makes use of up to 16 CPUs or CPU cores and is available for Windows (32-bit and 64-Bit) and Macintosh (PPC and Intel-based).
GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 280 Graphics Card
Unlike Vista, CINEBENCH performance between the cards are in reverse with the 9800 GX2 coming out ahead and the other three cards sitting less than 100 points within each other.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict - XP

World in ConflictVersion and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0.5Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in TestDeveloper Homepage: http://www.massive.se Product Homepage: http://www.worldinconflict.com
World in Conflict is a real-time strategy video game by Massive Entertainment and to be published by Sierra Entertainment for Windows (DX9 and DX10) and the Xbox 360.The game is set in 1989 where economic troubles cripple the Soviet Union and threaten to dissolve it. However, the title pursues a "what if" scenario where, in this case, the Soviet Union does not collapse and instead pursues a course of war to remain in power. It is an intensive new game is sure to put plenty of stress on even the latest graphics cards and we use the built-in benchmarking for our testing.
GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 280 Graphics Card
GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 280 Graphics Card
We again see that the only time the overclock really comes into play for the ZOTAC GTX 280 is at the highest resolution. Apart from that, we see the two cards actually score quite similar to each other.

Benchmarks - Unreal Tournament 3 - XP

Unreal Tournament 3Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1Timedemo or Level Used: Developer Homepage: http://www.epicgames.com/ Product Homepage: http://www.unrealtournament3.com/Buy It Here
Following the formulae that made Unreal Tournament so great the third installment to the series has hit us recently with better than ever graphics. The games uses the latest Unreal Engine which like most modern day games when maxed out puts the pressure on our lineup of graphics cards.
GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 280 Graphics Card
Our final game test shows at the lower resolutions the 9800 GX2 and two GTX 280 offerings performing quite close to each other. At 2560 x 1600, though, we see the GX2 come out ahead with the ZOTAC just behind. The GIGABYTE stock offering just trails behind the ZOTAC.

Temperature and Sound Tests

Temperature Tests
With the TES 1326 Infrared Thermometer literally in hand we found ourselves getting real-world temperatures from the products we test at load (3D clock speeds).There are two places we pull temperature from - the back of the card directly behind the core and if the card is dual slot and has an exhaust point we also pull a temperate from there, as seen in the picture.
GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 280 Graphics Card
Temps on the GTX 280 are considerably better than the GX2 with the GIGABYTE one coming in a little cooler than the ZOTAC.Sound Tests
Pulling out the TES 1350A Sound Level Meter we find ourselves quickly yelling into the top of it to see how loud we can be.After five minutes of that we get a bit more serious and place the device two CM away from the fan on the card to find the maximum noise level of the card when idle (2D mode) and in load (3D mode).
GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 280 Graphics Card
The noise level between the two GTX 280s is identical. They both come in a little lower under load when compared to the GX2 and considerably quieter than the 9800 GTX.

Power Consumption Tests

Power Consumption Tests
Using our new PROVA Power Analyzer WM-01 or "Power Thingy" as it has become quickly known as to our readers, we are now able to find out what kind of power is being used by our test system and the associated graphics cards installed. Keep in mind; it tests the complete system (minus LCD monitor, which is plugged directly into AC wall socket).There are a few important notes to remember though; while our maximum power is taken in 3DMark06 at the same exact point, we have seen in particular tests the power being drawn as much as 10% more. We test at the exact same stage every time; therefore tests should be very consistent and accurate.The other thing to remember is that our test system is bare minimum - only a 7,200RPM SATA-II single hard drive is used without CD ROM or many cooling fans.So while the system might draw 400 watts in our test system, placing it into your own PC with a number of other items, the draw is going to be higher.
GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 280 Graphics Card
Power draw on the GIGABYTE offering also manages to be a little lower than the ZOTAC.

Final Thoughts

Final ThoughtsAs mentioned in another GTX 280 reviews, if this card was reviewed a few weeks earlier the overall thought process on the card would be completely different. But thanks to the recent price drop, the GTX 280 really begins to resemble a bit of value for money.What's going to be interesting now, though, is what AMD do with the HD 4870 X2. This card could really shake the GTX 280 up a bit. It's going to depend on a lot of things though; like price, availability and of course performance.Like most companies, GIGABYTE haven't done a whole lot with the GTX 280, but their pricing is competitive and they offer an extra years warranty over some off the cheaper brands, which for some people is a plus.It would have been nice to see a game bundled with the card, but really, we have everything we need to get up and running. If you find yourself looking for a GTX 280 that follows the reference mould at a good price, the GIGABYTE GTX 280 is a good option.If you find yourself wanting a bit more power and don't really want to spend any more money, take the time to download a free program like Rivatuner and overclock the card yourself for some free FPS or 3Dmarks.You can't really go wrong with a reference designed GTX 280. With that said, you can't really go wrong with the GIGABYTE one.
What do TweakTown awards and ratings mean? Click!

Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 at 12:27 pm CDT

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com

UKUnited Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.co.uk

AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

ABOUT THE AUTHOR -

Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

Related Tags

Go to top of the page