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MSI N295GTX Review - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295 1792 tested Print E-mail
Written by Dimitar Dinchev a.k.a. Veseliq   
Monday, 02 February 2009

Between 2006 and 2008, NVIDIA hat a two years of comfortable rule over the video card market always maintaining their positions a step ahead of AMD/ATI in technology, performance and price. AMD were always big, yet review results inevitably assured the users of the superiority of some GeForce family model. Until the AMD RV770 core bearing the trade name of HD48xx was released in the summer of 2008. After AMD began to dominate in the middle and mid-high class with HD4870, by offering awesome balance between price and performance, it soon took also the performance crown by releasing the dual-cored HD4870X2 card. Time passed and now NVIDIA are announcing their claims over that crown. Two cores manufactured by new 55nm process, working in SLI mode, 1792MB memory and 480 scalar processors - enough of physical potential to be successful. But are they? Well, that's our favourite part - let's find out!

GeForce GTX 295 is the new NVIDIA lead model and it will be appropriate when we speak of it, to properly explain to the users of what exactly does it provides and at what price. As with any generation of video cards in the new millennium (or at least the last 5-6 years), models of each series that are released are split in three major groups. Low, medium and high class that is.

The low class is usually targeted at the common users, which don't load their computers with heavy applications such as games and professional software - in the past we used to talk about word processing, Internet browsing, some music and movies perhaps, but nowadays the most-important task a low end video card has is то be able to deal with decoding of high quality video streams (1080P) or in other words to allow you to watch a Blu-Ray movie with resolution of 1920x1080 without lagging or jumping even in intense scenes involving lots motion, explosions and effects.

The middle class of video cards is usually aiming for the best price/performance ratio and is often the best choice for the common gamer. Marvelous cards like 8800GT, HD3850/3870 and HD4850 from the last two years had great success namely because of their sweet price and great performance, that allowed the latest games to be played at high resolution like 1680x1050 and with enviable amount of effects too.

And finally there is The high class, to which the GeForce GTX 295 belongs. Now this class is all about performance, close to none thought about price is given here. Through the last two years the software (Drivers to be precise) allowing use of configuration of two ore more video cores and mostly NVIDIA's SLI and AMD's Crossfire platforms had advanced a lot and combining two cards on one PCB had become modern and not uncommon at all. Years ago NVIDIA made their first attempt at SLI and QUAD SLI in the form of OEM 7900GX2 an the later reworked for the mass users GeForce 7950GX2 model, but back then the drivers were far from ready and the card turned out to be a failure. Later AMD released HD3870X2, which for months lacked appropriate drivers and was too not without trouble. Still the 9800GX2, HD4870X2 and the very recent HD4850X2 managed to show quite a potential and subsequently differentiated in their own market class.

When we talk about NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295 (or rather MSI N295GTX) the price/performance ratio is not the main concern, the card is in no way targeted at the sensible user, on the contrary it is for the one that is willing to pay the scary price for getting the best there is. And since NVIDIA are attempting to represent it as product equal or better than AMD ATI HD4870X2, today we'll be accenting on the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295 vs. AMD ATI HD4870X2 mostly.

Specifications if the last video card generation from AMD and NVIDIA
Model GeForce
9800 GT
HD 4850
9800 GTX
8800 GTX
GTX 260
HD 4870
GTX 280
HD 4870 X2
GTX 285
GTX 295
Shaders 112 800 128 128 192 800 240 2x 800 240 2x 240 2x 240
Rasterizing operators (ROPs) 16 16 16 24 28 16 32 2x 16 32 2x 28 2x 28
Core model G92 RV770 G92 G80 GT200 RV770 GT200 2x RV770 GT200b 2x GT200b 2x GT200b
Transistors in the core (millions) 754M 956M 754M 681M 1400M 956M 1400M 2x 956M 1400M 2x 1400M 2x 1400M
Memory capacity 512 MB 512 MB 512 MB 768 MB 896 MB 512 MB 1024 MB 2x 1024 MB 1024 MB 2x 896 MB 2x 896 MB
Memory bus width 256 bit 256 bit 256 bit 384 bit 448 bit 256 bit 512 bit 2x 256 bit 512 bit 2x 448 bit 2x 448 bit
Core frequency 600 MHz 625 MHz 675 MHz 575 MHz 576 MHz 750 MHz 602 MHz 750 MHz 648 MHz 576 MHz 576 MHz
Memory frequency 900 MHz 993 MHz 1100 MHz 900 MHz 999 MHz 900 MHz 1107 MHz 900 MHz 1242 MHz 999 MHz 999 MHz
Price $120 $140 $160 $220 $240 $200 $330 $430 $400 $500 $529

As you can see, MSI N295GTX-M2D1792 is identical with the referent NVIDIA model in any way. And now before proceeding to the most important and fun part of the review - namely the tests and their results, we'll get a closer look at the NVIDIA GTX 295 anathomy.

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