Galaxy GeForce GTX 275 Overclocked Tri-Fan Graphics Card

Galaxy ramp up the clocks on the GTX 275 while at the same time updating the cooler. Let's see what this does for performance.
| Apr 14, 2009 at 8:23 am CDT
Rating: 94%Manufacturer: Galaxy

Introduction

Galaxy GTX 275 Overclocked Graphics Card
IntroductionIt hasn't taken long for NVIDIA partners to start spicing up the GTX 275. Come launch day we already saw that Gainward had opted for aftermarket cooling. Galaxy has kicked up a notch, though; this not only by including a pretty mean cooling setup on the card, but also taking the time to increase the core and memory clock.While the card was designed to compete directly against the HD 4890, what we're seeing is that in the retail channel the GTX 275 is slightly more expensive. While this might be a bad thing considering the fact that the GTX 275 is designed to compete head to head with the HD 4890, it isn't really, as that little bit of extra cost carries with it that little bit of extra performance.Today we'll see if Galaxy can make the gap between the HD 4890 and GTX 275 even larger with the help of an increase in clock speeds. So, let's have a quick look at the package before we take a closer look at the card along with its cooler and clock speeds.

The Package

The PackageAs usual we have the standard Galaxy box which is just spiced up with some stickers to let us know exactly what we have here. Across the top we have the Galaxy logo along with mention that the card is overclocked. Moving down, we have a sticker that tells us some of the features the card offers like PhysX, CUDA and more.
Galaxy GTX 275 Overclocked Graphics Card

(Click the above image for the large version)
Moving to the bottom, we have the model; in this case it's the GTX 275. Here we also see that the card comes with 896MB of GDDR3 memory on a 448-bit bus. We also have mention of Xtreme Tuner being included which is Galaxy's own overclocking software. Finally we see a bunch of NVIDIA logos along with mention that the card is HDMI ready.
Galaxy GTX 275 Overclocked Graphics Card

(Click the above image for the large version)
Turning the box over, we have the standard run down of information like some of the main features the GTX 200 series of cards offer. We also have a bit of a blurb on what's needed to get SLI and Tri SLI setups up and running. Across the bottom of the box we have a bit of a blurb on the series in a number of languages.
Galaxy GTX 275 Overclocked Graphics Card

(Click the above image for the large version)
As far as paperwork goes we've got a fair bit of information; user manual, quick setup guide, a guide on setting up HDMI along with information on Xtreme Tuner and how to use it. In the CD department we have a driver disc along with another disc which includes the Xtreme Tuner software.
Galaxy GTX 275 Overclocked Graphics Card

(Click the above image for the large version)
In the cable department we have an S-Video out cable, S/PDIF loopback cable so you can get sound through your HDMI port, one dual molex to 6-Pin PCI-E connector, one dual molex to 8-Pin PCI-E connector along with a DVI to VGA and S-Video to Component dongle.

The Card

The CardMoving onto the card, we can see Galaxy has opted to go with the Arctic Cooling Accelero Xtreme cooler which packs three 92mm fans. If you look carefully behind the fans you can not only see a number of aluminum fins but also the copper heat pipes that help keep the core as cool as possible.
Galaxy GTX 275 Overclocked Graphics Card

(Click the above image for the large version)
We can see that Galaxy have added their own sticker to the fan with their website URL, but apart from that there isn't much else to see due to how large the cooler is. We can see that it covers just about every bit of the PCB. As for the thickness of it, the cooler does take up just over two slots, so making use of the third slot on your motherboard may be a bit of an issue. For some it's going to be a deal breaker; for others it's not going to matter.
Galaxy GTX 275 Overclocked Graphics Card

(Click the above image for the large version)
Towards the back of the card we have two power connectors, one a 6-Pin and the other an 8-Pin. Also back here we can see another small connector that is used in conjunction with the S/PDIF loopback cable so that you can get sound along with video through the HDMI port.
Galaxy GTX 275 Overclocked Graphics Card

(Click the above image for the large version)
Closer to the front of the card we have two SLI connectors; due to the size of the cooler, though, you're probably going to find it a bit difficult to use this if your second card needs to go into the third slot on the motherboard.
Galaxy GTX 275 Overclocked Graphics Card

(Click the above image for the large version)
Looking at the front of the card, we can see that Galaxy have again decided to mix it up. While we have the standard S-Video TV Out port and Dual Link DVI port, they have also taken the time to include a HDMI port natively on the card. This just makes using HDMI connectivity a lot cleaner without the need to have a connector hanging off the back of your card.SpecificationsOpting for such a mean looking cooler, it doesn't come as any surprise that Galaxy has taken the time to overclock the card. Below we can see that the core has been increased from the stock 633MHz to 648MHz; this has in turn increased the shader clock from 1404MHz to 1476MHz.
Galaxy GTX 275 Overclocked Graphics Card
As for the 896MB of GDDR3 memory, that has been increased from 1134MHz or 2268MHz DDR to a more rounded 1200MHz or 2400MHz DDR. This overclock should result in a nice little increase in performance.

Test System Setup and 3DMark Vantage

Test System SetupProcessor(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-BitDrivers: ForceWare 182.50, Catalyst 9.3Today we're comparing the Galaxy GTX 275 OC against two cards; the first is a stock clocked model from Gainward to see what kind of performance increase the overclock gives us. The second is the HD 4890 which is supposed to be the direct competitor to the model. We'll see if the overclock helps extend the gap between the two models today.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.
Galaxy GTX 275 Overclocked Graphics Card
Straight away we can see a bump in performance. Thanks to PhsyX support under Vantage we can see that the NVIDIA cards already have a big jump on the HD 4890. The Galaxy version just makes that lead a bit bigger again.

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.
Galaxy GTX 275 Overclocked Graphics Card
Galaxy GTX 275 Overclocked Graphics Card
With PT Boats already favoring the NVIDIA offerings, Galaxy just helps make the performance difference between the HD 4890 and its own card even greater.

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).
Galaxy GTX 275 Overclocked Graphics Card
CINEBENCH doesn't get any use from the increased clocks, so we see that both GTX 275s perform quite similar to each other.

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.
Galaxy GTX 275 Overclocked Graphics Card
Galaxy GTX 275 Overclocked Graphics Card
Across the board we see the Galaxy card offers us gains with it getting that extra FPS at 2560 x 1600 to break into the 30 FPS minimum.

Benchmarks - Crysis Warhead

Crysis WarheadVersion and / or Patch Used: unpatchedTimedemo or Level Used: AirfieldDeveloper Homepage: http://www.crytek.comProduct 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.
Galaxy GTX 275 Overclocked Graphics Card
Galaxy GTX 275 Overclocked Graphics Card
We again see movement across the board for the Galaxy GTX 275 with the best gains being seen at 1680 x 1050.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2

Far Cry 2Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch LongDeveloper 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.
Galaxy GTX 275 Overclocked Graphics Card
Galaxy GTX 275 Overclocked Graphics Card
Far Cry 2 gives us a bit of movement, but nothing major. We continue to see that it's able to offer us a playable setup at 2560 x 1600, which is something the HD 4890 can't do here.

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

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Clear SkyVersion and / or Patch Used: 1.5.07Timedemo or Level Used: Custom TimedemoDeveloper 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.
Galaxy GTX 275 Overclocked Graphics Card
Galaxy GTX 275 Overclocked Graphics Card
Clear Sky has always favored the ATI offerings and while the GTX 275 does lag behind here, we continue to see a little bump in performance from the Galaxy offering.

Benchmarks - Left 4 Dead

Left 4 DeadVersion and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam UpdateTimedemo or Level Used: Custom TimedemoDeveloper 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.
Galaxy GTX 275 Overclocked Graphics Card
At the highest resolution we can see the Galaxy GTX 275 comes out in front, while as we drop down it performs almost in line with the HD 4890.

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.Far Cry 2
Galaxy GTX 275 Overclocked Graphics Card
Galaxy GTX 275 Overclocked Graphics Card
A slight increase in performance that still manages to kill the HD 4890 under these settings.World In Conflict
Galaxy GTX 275 Overclocked Graphics Card
Galaxy GTX 275 Overclocked Graphics Card
Again we see that 1 FPS bump in WIC which puts us on the edge of that 30 FPS minimum.Left 4 Dead
Galaxy GTX 275 Overclocked Graphics Card
While sitting slightly behind the HD 4890, we've again got a little bump in performance when compared to the stock model.

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.
Galaxy GTX 275 Overclocked Graphics Card
Galaxy GTX 275 Overclocked Graphics Card
Again across the board we see a bump in performance with the Galaxy offering just extending the lead it has on the HD 4890.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2 - XP

Far Cry 2Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch LongDeveloper 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.
Galaxy GTX 275 Overclocked Graphics Card
Galaxy GTX 275 Overclocked Graphics Card
We continue to see that bump in performance; we do find that the best gains are happening in the minimum department.

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

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Clear SkyVersion and / or Patch Used: 1.5.07Timedemo or Level Used: Custom TimedemoDeveloper 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.
Galaxy GTX 275 Overclocked Graphics Card
Galaxy GTX 275 Overclocked Graphics Card
Finally we leave our gaming benchmarks with Clear Sky and it comes of no surprise that the GTX 275 again lags behind the ATI offering. We do continue to see that increase in performance, though.

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.
Galaxy GTX 275 Overclocked Graphics Card
The huge cooler gives us a massive 10c drop, making the card run extremely cool.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).
Galaxy GTX 275 Overclocked Graphics Card
The temperature drop hasn't come at the cost of more noise either with the card coming in as the quietest.

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.
Galaxy GTX 275 Overclocked Graphics Card
Power draw between the cards at load is similar with the Galaxy offering drawing slightly more. At idle we can see the NVIDIA ones sit a fair bit back and the Galaxy one is drawing just a little less than the other.

Final Thoughts

Final ThoughtsIt's nice to see that it hasn't taken Galaxy long to ramp up the GTX 275 in both the looks and clocks department. It's also excellent to see that the cooler they use isn't just there for looks; it does a fantastic job of keeping temps down while giving us even less noise. As usual, all this comes at a cost and again it's at a cost that is higher than the HD 4890. This can be pretty easily justified, however, with the extra performance on offer. If that wasn't enough already, the big drop in noise and temperature should entice you that bit more to seal the deal.Galaxy have done a really good job with this card; the clocks have been rounded off to a more even number and while the performance jump isn't huge, it's consistently present which is what we like to see. And we're also finding that at those times where we're only a smidgen away from that 30 FPS minimum, we're either there now or right next to it.While the package doesn't consist of any games, we've got Galaxy's own overclocking software in the event you want to ramp the clocks up even higher along with all the standard cables we need. What makes the card no doubt stand out from the rest, however, is the cooler and the performance that it offers. Just to keep it fresh, though, Galaxy have gone that little bit further and given us a native HDMI port on the I/O side of things. If you're looking for a GTX 275 that's going to stand out from the pack, this is one well worth looking at.
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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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