MSI GeForce GTX 295 Graphics Card

We have a look at the stock GTX 295 from MSI and see how it goes in the performance department.
| Jun 7, 2009 at 11:39 pm CDT
Rating: 91%Manufacturer: MSI

Introduction

MSI GTX 295 Graphics Card
IntroductionSince the launch of the GTX 295 ATI has done little to combat the card and while the HD 4890 is a very good card, the price of it doesn't put it anywhere near the level that the GTX 295 is at, nor the GTX 285 for that matter.Today we'll be checking out MSI's version of the card and like every other one we've looked at there hasn't really been anything done to the card. This is due to the general design of the card; it's not easy to mix it up in the cooling department since it essentially sits between two PCBs.It's been a while since we've had a look at the GTX 295 and there's been a few driver updates since then. Today we'll be seeing how it performs against some of the top single GPU cards from both NVIDIA and ATI including the HD 4890 and GTX 285. We'll quickly begin by having a closer look at the package MSI has put together before having a closer look at the card. From there we'll be looking at the all important performance side of things to see how the powerful GTX 295 is looking these days.

The Package

The PackageLooking at the front of the box we don't see anything new when it comes to overall design. Across the top of the box we have the MSI logo along with some NVIDIA ones on the other end. The rest of the box is taken up by a picture of some kind of monster.
MSI GTX 295 Graphics Card

(Click the above image for the large version)
Across the bottom we have a few stickers like Live Update, OC Ready and that the card is part of the gaming series. Above that we have some of the main features like 1792MB of GDDR3 memory, PhysX support and more. Finally, above that we have the model which is of course the GTX 295.
MSI GTX 295 Graphics Card

(Click the above image for the large version)
Looking at the back of the box we've got some of the main features that the card offers along with minimum system requirements. We have a bit of info on Live Update and MSIs DVI port. The other main piece of information we see on the back is what's needed to get Quad SLI up and running along with the requirements as far as the cards power goes.
MSI GTX 295 Graphics Card

(Click the above image for the large version)
In the paperwork department we've got two quick user guides. We also have a driver CD included in the package, but as always we recommend people take the time to visit the NVIDIA website and grab the latest driver, especially for these high-end models where new drivers can really give us a boost in performance.
MSI GTX 295 Graphics Card

(Click the above image for the large version)
The connector side of things gives us everything we need. Starting from the top left we have a S/PDIF loopback cable that lets us get sound when using HDMI connectivity on the card. We also have a DVI to HDMI and DVI to VGA connector along with two power connectors; one a 6-pin to 8-pin and the other a duel molex to 6-pin.

The Card

The CardHaving a look at the GTX, we see there really isn't anything we haven't seen before. As always the case is covered with a shroud that takes up the whole card from left to right and top to bottom.
MSI GTX 295 Graphics Card

(Click the above image for the large version)
MSI has of course added its own sticker to the cooler which sees the brand and model on the left side of the shroud. On the right side we see the fan which pushes air across the two cores and out the back of the card.
MSI GTX 295 Graphics Card

(Click the above image for the large version)
MSI GTX 295 Graphics Card

(Click the above image for the large version)
Moving to the back of the card, we can see two power connectors; one is a 6-pin that sits on one PCB while the other an 8-pin connector which sits on the other PCB that holds another GPU. Closer to the front we have a SLI connector; unlike other NVIDIA cards we only have one and this is due to the fact that we can only have two of these cards together, meaning a second connector isn't needed.
MSI GTX 295 Graphics Card

(Click the above image for the large version)
In the I/O department we're split into two sections; one section has two Dual-Link DVI connectors while the other consists of a number of vents that let the hot air escape along with a HDMI connector that some people may find useful.SpecificationsAs mentioned previously, the MSI GTX 295 carries with it the stock clocks that we've become accustomed to seeing. The core is 576MHz, the shader clock 1242MHz and the memory comes in at a nice 1998MHz DDR.

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 185.85, Catalyst 9.4As we've mentioned already, we'll be seeing how the GTX 295 goes against some of the top single GPU cards from both NVIDIA and ATI. Those cards include the GTX 285 overclocked from Galaxy, the stock GTX 275 from Gainward along with the stock clocked HD 4890 from GIGABYTE.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.
MSI GTX 295 Graphics Card
Straight away in our first test we can see the serious amount of power on offer from the GTX 295 with it really blitzing all of the competition in both presets.

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.
MSI GTX 295 Graphics Card
MSI GTX 295 Graphics Card
Against the GTX 285 we can see that there isn't a whole lot of difference in performance here when it comes to the lower resolution. As we move up, though, we can see that it manages to be ahead by a more noticeable amount at 2560 x 1600.

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).
MSI GTX 295 Graphics Card
Here we see the NVIDIA cards sit quite closely together, while the ATI offering does come out ahead slightly.

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.
MSI GTX 295 Graphics Card
MSI GTX 295 Graphics Card
We again see across the board the GTX 295 shine. Like we saw in PT Boats, though, the best gains are seen at the highest resolution.

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.
MSI GTX 295 Graphics Card
MSI GTX 295 Graphics Card
We can see here that the GTX 295 is the only card that's able to put out playable FPS at 1920 x 1200 and above. Coding for Warhead is pretty bad but the bottom line is that the GTX 295 has so much power we see it's able to offer some good numbers across the board.

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.
MSI GTX 295 Graphics Card
MSI GTX 295 Graphics Card
While all NVIDIA cards are able to offer us over 30 FPS at every resolution, there's no doubt that the big numbers on offer are always appreciated.

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.
MSI GTX 295 Graphics Card
MSI GTX 295 Graphics Card
In the minimum department we can see that the GTX 295 and the HD 4890 perform quite close to each other. For the most part we can see that the ATI offering is able to come out ahead slightly and that's mainly due to the fact that Clear Sky performs so much better on ATI based graphics cards.

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.
MSI GTX 295 Graphics Card
Across the board we can see some serious performance from the GTX 295 at all resolutions.

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
MSI GTX 295 Graphics Card
MSI GTX 295 Graphics Card
We can see here all the other cards struggle to hit that 30 FPS minimum that we need, but the GTX 295 just screams past it and gives us a minimum of over 40 FPS which is simply fantastic.World In Conflict
MSI GTX 295 Graphics Card
MSI GTX 295 Graphics Card
We don't see the huge numbers here like we did in FC2, but the GTX 295 gives us a good bump over the GTX 285 which puts us 5 FPS over the minimum we want.Left 4 Dead
MSI GTX 295 Graphics Card
With the AA and AF cranked up we see the GTX 295 is able to offer some serious performance here.

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.
MSI GTX 295 Graphics Card
MSI GTX 295 Graphics Card
Under XP we again see at the lower resolutions there isn't much between the minimum FPS, but at the higher 2560 x 1600 resolution we see it screams ahead.

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.
MSI GTX 295 Graphics Card
MSI GTX 295 Graphics Card
We can see across the board two things here; the GTX 295 continues to offer some serious power and what we can also see is that at all resolutions we're above that 30 FPS minimum we want and need.

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.
MSI GTX 295 Graphics Card
MSI GTX 295 Graphics Card
We see the GTX 295 and HD 4890 fight it out here with numbers very similar between the two cards. Again, though, this is due to Clear Sky really favoring the ATI based graphics cards.

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.
MSI GTX 295 Graphics Card
It doesn't come as much of a surprise the GTX 295 runs pretty warm.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).
MSI GTX 295 Graphics Card
As for noise levels it gives us similar numbers to the HD 4890, which is above average in the noise department.

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.
MSI GTX 295 Graphics Card
It doesn't come of any surprise that the GTX 295 sucks some serious power from our power supply.

Final Thoughts

Final ThoughtsTime has been kind to the GTX 285 with the model continuing to still push out some serious power in our games. The biggest thing to remember, though, is unless you're running 2560 x 1600 the card does quickly become a waste of money, which can do all kinds of things when it comes to value for money. If you're running a 22" monitor that only supports 1680 x 1050 there is absolutely no value in the card because you could get something cheaper that will perform better.On the other side of the spectrum, if you're running a monster 30" monitor with a native resolution of 2560 x 1600 you're not going to get a better card. For the most part it's really impossible to contemplate adding a second card to get even more performance. With that said, though, there's always room for improvement in games when it comes to detail. We can move from 2560 with settings at very high to the same settings with AA and AF cranked up. The MSI version, for the most part, isn't really a surprise. It's stock in all departments from the cooler to the clock. We also see that MSI hasn't done a whole lot with the package which might be disappointing to some people who spend excess of $500 U.S. - The lack of bundle and stock clocks do keep price a little lower compared to models that pack a game you might not even play and you still have the ability to overclock the card yourself.All in all we've got a good GTX 295 because it sticks to the working formula that NVIDIA put out. While it might have been nice to see the bundle a bit bigger, we do have everything we need in the cable department and as mentioned, the lack of any games does keep the price down which is commonly appreciated more.
What do TweakTown awards and ratings mean? Click!

Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 at 12:28 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