Perhaps the one area where AMD/ATI may have been hoping its HD 4870 X2 would still hold its own would be in power consumption, this having been a strong point recently. However, with its move to a 55nm manufacturing process and a bit of tweaking nVidia has even trumped ATI here as well.
Although idle power is much of a muchness, under load the GTX 295 consumes a significant chunk less power than the HD 4870 X2. In isolation this is good but when you consider the performance advantage you get as well the GTX 295 is a very clear winner.
So, the GTX 295 is the fastest graphics card on the planet and it consumes less power than the competition. That would seem like a sure fire ticket to recommendation land then. Well, yes, expect there's price to consider and even with the particular Asus card I'm looking at coming in a little cheaper than most GTX 295s, it still costs a whopping £450, which is quite a staggering amount of money. However, the HD 4870 X2 has actually gone up in price since we reviewed it and when you do a rough price/performance comparison you'll see that, at least in the games we've tested, the GTX 295 averages out at giving you more performance for your money. So out of the two, it's a clear choice of which to go for. That said, we'd still say both are a little too expensive to ever recommend.
nVidia has aimed for the gaming performance crown with the GTX 295 and it has certainly succeeded, though some of its victories have been modest. Most importantly, though, nVidia has also regained the price/performance crown, making this the clear choice of ultra high-end graphics card - assuming you could ever consider spending £450 on a graphics card sensible.