Move over ATI Radeon 4870 X2, you're just too slow.
We all knew it was only a matter of time before nVidia launched a successor to the Geforce 7950 GX2 and GeForce 9800 GX2 based on its GT200 chip, as powers the GeForce GTX 280, to take on the AMD ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 – the current fastest GPU available to buy. With the launch of the GTX 295, nVidia will be snatching back that performance crown.
On paper the GeForce GTX 295 looks like this:
- Fabrication Process: 55 nm
- Core Clock (texture and ROP units): 576 MHz
- Shader Clock (Stream Processors): 1242 MHz
- Memory Clock (Clock rate / Data rate): 2000 MHz
- Total Video Memory 1792 MB
- Memory Interface 448-bit per GPU
- Total Memory Bandwidth 224 GB/s
- Processor Cores: 480
- ROP Units: 28
- Texture Filtering Units: 160
- Texture Filtering Rate 92.2 GigaTexels/sec
- Connectors: 2 x Dual-Link DVI-I, 1 x HDMI
- Max Board Power (TDP): 289 watts
The individual cards used to make the GTX 295 are a sort of hybrid between the GTX 280 and GTX 260, in that the clock speeds and memory interface match the latter, but the number of stream processors is the same as the former. The shrink to 55nm is an important one as almost definitely the only reason nVidia was even able to fit two GT200 chips next in such close proximity, thanks to the lesser heat output of the smaller dies. And, of course, it means that this two-in-one card draws less power than two separate GTX 280s in SLI, which it should be performance competitive with. 55nm also means nVidia can get more chips out of each silicon wafer it uses, meaning better profitability and, hopefully, not too expensive a price tag on the GTX 295.
Against the 4870 X2, nVidia has two advantages. First, nVidia’s top-range single card solution is faster than AMD’s and second, nVidia’s SLI dual-GPU performance is generally better than AMD’s Crossfire, in terms of scaling. The upshot should be a pretty decent performance advantage nvidia’s way. We’ll have to get a sample in to benchmark to see if that prediction holds true, though.
Add, if such things are of interest, Quad SLI support and PhysX and nVidia has a pretty compellign offering. I can only hope the lack of an MSRP so far isn’t an ominous portent.
I’ve just heard back from our friendly local nVidia representative. the US MSRP is $499 (£325), which is really very good and about in line with the 4870 X2 over there. That considered, it seems likely we’ll be looking at the £400 region when the card is available here – not too bad all things considered.