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GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 295 Graphics Card

We look at our second GTX 295 and have a closer look at how it compares to the HD 4870 X2.

@ShawnBakerTW
Published Wed, Jan 7 2009 11:00 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 7:04 PM CST
Rating: 90%Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Introduction


GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 295 Graphics Card



The GTX 295 is impressive; we now know that, so we're at the point in time where we begin to see what other companies are doing with the card. This early in the game it's more the packaging, since it's a bit too early to have overclocked models or something with different cooling.

Now we're looking at the GIGABYTE offering and we will follow the same formula we normally do; first we will have a look at their package before having a closer look at the card. From there we will check out the specifications and then get stuck into the benchmarks.

What we're going to do this time is have a closer look at how the GTX 295 performs against the HD 4870 X2. Having a look at just the two cards actually makes it easier to break down the performance numbers. We will go into a bit more detail when it comes to our test system, but for now let's have a look at the package.

The Package




The release of the GTX 295 doesn't bring anything new to GIGABYTEs packaging; they actually only revised it a few months ago. The majority of the box is taken up with a picture of a female, while across the top we have the GIGABYTE and NVIDIA logo.

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 295 Graphics Card


Moving down, we have the PhysX logo and below that we have the model and the amount of memory that comes with the card, in this case the GTX 295 and 1792MB of GDDR3.

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 295 Graphics Card


Turning the box over, we have a bit of a blurb on the card and again the model and some NVIDIA logos across the top. As we move down we have some information on the features that the card offers and a bit of a run down on what's needed to get SLI working.

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 295 Graphics Card


GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 295 Graphics Card


Moving inside the package, much like what we found with the Gainward, there isn't a whole lot going on. Apart from the Driver CD and manual, we have a molex to 6-pin PCI Express power connector and DVI to VGA connector.

The Card




As we mentioned in our look at the Gainward GTX 295, come launch day there isn't going to be much going on as far as overclocks and separate designs go. We see the same large cover that goes over the card and to the right a hole where our fan is.

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 295 Graphics Card


To the left side we have a sticker that lets us know the brand of the card and of course the model. Again we see the perforated holes in the cover that helps let the air escape and not get trapped in.

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 295 Graphics Card


GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 295 Graphics Card


Looking around the card, we have two power connectors at the back; a single 8-pin one and a single 6-pin one. Here we also have a connector for the S/PDIF loop back cable, while closer towards the front of the card we have a single SLI connector that lets us install two of these cards in a system, giving us a grand total of four GPUs.

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 295 Graphics Card


Finally, moving over to the I/O side of things we have our two Dual-Link DVI connectors across the top with a HDMI connector and a number of vents across the bottom half.


Specifications

As you may have guessed, the GIGABYTE card carries with it the reference clocks which can be seen below.

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 295 Graphics Card


The core comes in at 576MHz while the shader carries a clock of 1242MHz and the two lots of 896MB GDDR3 memory come in at 1998MHz DDR.

Test System Setup and 3DMark Vantage


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 XP Professional SP2, Windows Vista SP1 64-Bit
Drivers: Catalyst 8.12, ForceWare 180.48 (Windows XP), ForceWare 181.20 (Windows Vista)


Since we've had a good look at the GTX 295 and seen how it's compared to other cards like the GTX 280 and HD 4870 along with how it reacts with some of the drivers we've seen floating around the net at the moment, we thought this time we would put the GTX 295 in a simple head-to-head against the HD 4870 X2, only so we can clearly see how the two cards differ.

With a bit of a clearer picture painted thanks to only two results on each graph, let's find out just how good the GTX 295 is against our once beloved HD 4870 X2.


3DMark Vantage

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product 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 295 Graphics Card


Under Vantage we can see that the GTX 295 has a big advantage over the HD 4870 X2. There's no denying that this is one of the least important tests, though, due to it being synthetic. What ultimately matters is real world performance in games that you can play.

Benchmarks - PT Boats: Knights of the Sea


PT Boats: Knights of the Sea

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Developer 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 295 Graphics Card


GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 295 Graphics Card


PT Boats has always favored the NVIDIA offerings and here is no different with the HD 4870 X2 lagging quite far behind the GTX 295 that offers quite a large increase in performance.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH R10


CINEBENCH R10

Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10
Developer 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 295 Graphics Card


CINEBENCH on the other hand has always favored the ATI offerings and with it not being able to make use of SLI or Crossfire configurations we see that the HD 4870 X2 is able to come out ahead here.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict


World in Conflict

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0.5
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer 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 295 Graphics Card


GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 295 Graphics Card


Across the board we see the GTX 295 get a good increase in performance with gains of over 20% being seen at the highest resolution. While the HD 4870 X2 is on that 30 FPS barrier, the GTX 295 manages to fly right past it.

Benchmarks - Crysis Warhead


Crysis Warhead

Version and / or Patch Used: unpatched
Timedemo or Level Used: Airfield
Developer Homepage: http://www.crytek.com
Product Homepage: http://crysiswarhead.ea.com/
Buy It Here




Crysis Warhead updates and refines the gameplay of the original game through a sidestory plot involving Psycho, one of previous protagonist Nomad's allies. The game is a parallel story that follows Sergeant Michael "Psycho" Sykes, a character from the original Crysis, as he faces his own trials and challenges on the other side of the island during the time period of the first game.

It also showcases a new, enhanced and optimized version of CryEngine 2 using full DX10 extensions and is the first game developed by Crytek's Budapest studio.

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 295 Graphics Card


GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 295 Graphics Card


Crysis Warhead is another game that sees some good gains with the GTX 295 installed; we can actually see at the highest resolution that in the minimum department the GTX 295 is almost 100% faster and giving us the difference between a playable setup at this resolution and a non playable one.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2


Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01
Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long
Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.farcry2.com/
Buy It Here




The Dunia Engine was built specifically for Far Cry 2 by the award-winning Ubisoft Montreal development team. It delivers the most realistic destructible environments, amazing special effects such as dynamic fire propagation and storm effects, real-time night-and-day cycle, dynamic music system, non-scripted enemy A.I. and so much more.


GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 295 Graphics Card


GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 295 Graphics Card


Far Cry 2 sees the GTX 295 continue to shine nice and brightly with it offering some big performance gains when compared to the ATI based offering. It's clear there's some serious power behind the GTX 295.

Benchmarks - S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Clear Sky


S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Clear Sky

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.5.07
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage: http://www.gsc-game.com/
Product Homepage: http://cs.stalker-game.com/en/
Buy It Here




S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, is the stand-alone prequel for S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, a first-person shooter computer game by Ukrainian developer GSC Game World.[3] The game consists of a roughly 50/50 mix of new areas and old, remodeled areas from the previous game. The X-ray graphics engine has been updated to version 1.5 and includes DirectX 10 support (later patch 1.5.06 included DirectX 10.1). Additionally, the AI received an overhaul to accommodate the new faction wars feature.

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 295 Graphics Card


GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 295 Graphics Card


We've seen the GTX 295 perform quite poorly under Clear Sky which has resulted in the HD 4870 X2 chalking up a win here. We don't doubt, though, that this is going to be an issue that NVIDIA will fix in upcoming driver releases.

Benchmarks - Left 4 Dead


Left 4 Dead

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage: http://www.valvesoftware.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.l4d.com/
Buy It Here




Left 4 Dead uses the latest version of Valve's Source engine, with improvements such as multi-core processor support and physics-based animation to more realistically portray hair and clothing, and to improve physics interaction with enemies when shot or shoved in different body parts. Animation was also improved to allow characters to lean realistically when moving in curved paths.

Rendering and artificial intelligence were scaled up to allow for greater number of enemies who can navigate the world in better ways, such as climbing, jumping or breaking obstacles. Lighting has been enhanced with new self-shadowing normal mapping and advanced shadow rendering that is important to convey information about the environment and player actions.

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 295 Graphics Card


Left 4 Dead finds both cards performing very close to each other. While on a whole the GTX 295 wins each resolution, it's only by a few FPS which equates to nothing at these 100+ FPS scores.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF


High Quality AA and AF

Our 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.


Far Cry 2

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 295 Graphics Card


GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 295 Graphics Card


With the settings cranked up under Far Cry 2 we see the GTX 295 continue to perform extremely well.


World In Conflict

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 295 Graphics Card


GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 295 Graphics Card


We also see the GTX 295 continue to perform well under WIC with some good gains when compared to the older HD 4870 X2.


Left 4 Dead

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 295 Graphics Card


Under Left 4 Dead we again see the cards perform quite close to each other. This time, though, the HD 4870 X2 manages to take the win.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict - XP


World in Conflict

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0.5
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer 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 295 Graphics Card


GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 295 Graphics Card


Moving to Windows XP, we can see under WIC that the GTX 295 really shines when it gets to stretch its legs at 1920 x 1200 and 2560 x 1600.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2 - XP


Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01
Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long
Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.farcry2.com/
Buy It Here




The Dunia Engine was built specifically for Far Cry 2 by the award-winning Ubisoft Montreal development team. It delivers the most realistic destructible environments, amazing special effects such as dynamic fire propagation and storm effects, real-time night-and-day cycle, dynamic music system, non-scripted enemy A.I. and so much more.


GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 295 Graphics Card


GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 295 Graphics Card


It's interesting to see that under XP Far Cry 2 performance for the GTX 295 is behind the HD 4870 X2, but you have to remember that the driver we use for Vista wasn't available for XP, so hopefully with an official updated XP driver this issue will be fixed.

Benchmarks - S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Clear Sky - XP


S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Clear Sky

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.5.07
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage: http://www.gsc-game.com/
Product Homepage: http://cs.stalker-game.com/en/
Buy It Here




S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, is the stand-alone prequel for S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, a first-person shooter computer game by Ukrainian developer GSC Game World.[3] The game consists of a roughly 50/50 mix of new areas and old, remodeled areas from the previous game. The X-ray graphics engine has been updated to version 1.5 and includes DirectX 10 support (later patch 1.5.06 included DirectX 10.1). Additionally, the AI received an overhaul to accommodate the new faction wars feature.

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 295 Graphics Card


GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 295 Graphics Card


We continue to see under Clear Sky that the HD 4870 X2 chalks up another win. One of the very few tests where we see the HD 4870 X2 beat out the GTX 295.

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 295 Graphics Card


We can see that the GTX 295 runs at a similar temperature to the HD 4870 X2.


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 295 Graphics Card


Unfortunately the similar temperature has come at the cost of increased noise; nothing too loud, but increased none the less.

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 295 Graphics Card


It's interesting to see that NVIDIA has been able to keep the power levels below the HD 4870 X2 which is impressive considering the performance it offers.

Final Thoughts




Having a look at the GTX 295 against the HD 4870 X2 in a more one on one environment, our view of the card doesn't change. It really does truly kick butt and is going to be a force to be reckoned with.

As far as the GIGABYTE offering goes, it's exactly what you would expect; there isn't anything that moves away from the reference design and the package is a bit on the light side. There's no denying, though, that come time to purchase your GTX 295, you're going to be less worried about a game you don't want to play and more focused on getting that new card in your system.

It's worth noting a few things when comparing the card to the HD 4870 X2; not every benchmark is a win. Under Left 4 Dead we can see that both cards perform quite similar; with the high FPS this doesn't really matter, but the game is part of NVIDIAs hot holiday titles so we don't doubt that they're going to try and push out a couple more FPS to make sure they can get the win.

Clear Sky performance on the GTX 295 is also terrible; this performance is seen on other NVIDIA cards, though. Hopefully this is something that NVIDIA choose to address, but for the moment under this game the HD 4870 X2 is the better card. With that said, though, it really is the only game out of the ones we test where it's better.

Lastly, there's the Far Cry 2 performance under XP; we can see that HD 4870 X2 manages to pull out a win here, but we're sure that NVIDIA are going to fix this very soon. We know it has the ability to beat the HD 4870 X2 due to the performance numbers we see under Vista. Really, though, who turns around and buys a GTX 295 and doesn't take advantage of the DirectX 10 capabilities under Vista?

The GTX 295 from GIGABYTE manages to impress and we're looking forward to seeing what the company does with the card and if they also choose to do something with the clock speeds in the near future.

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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.

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