NVIDIA GTX 280 Performance Revealed - MSI N280GTX
Have no doubts, the GTX 280 (and indeed the MSI N280GTX used in today's review) is one awesome card. Designed to annihilate its predecessors, the 9800GTX and 8800GTX, it does this effortlessly, sometimes by up to 80FPS. However, as the results over the previous pages have shown, this flagship card comes up against some stiff competition from NVIDIA's own dual-GPU 9800GX2. Maybe it's unfair that we should pit this single-GPU card against the monstrous dual-GPU 9800GX2, but when you consider that the cost of the GX2 will be around £60 cheaper than the GTX 280 at launch, we can't help but feel that NVIDIA may well have shot themselves in the foot.
With this said, the GTX 280 does have some advantages over the 9800GX2 in other areas. For starters, it consumes less power both at idle and under load. It's quiet (which is more than can be said for the GX2 at times), and it doesn't raise the temperature inside your PC case like you've got a three-bar heater in there.
NVIDIA will also be keen to tell you about the other areas the card excels in, for example its ability to transcode video's up to 7x faster using their very own "BadaBoom" software and the whole host of other applications that will be able to take advantage of the GTX 280 via CUDA. While this is an area that we haven't really explored in today's review due to time restrictions, we can't help but wonder how these applications would run on a 9800GX2. After all, it too is CUDA-ready.
So, at the end of the day the GTX 280 has left us with some very mixed up feelings. On one hand, we want to praise the card, give it awards and recommend it to all and sundry for its excellent advances over the 8800GTX and 9800GTX. NVIDIA have done exactly what they set out to do and not only smashed the performance of their previous GPU's, but also made a mockery of ATI's current dual-GPU offerings (3870x2 / 3850x2). But yet on the other hand, we feel slightly disappointed that there is still a faster card out there. Yes, OK, it's one of those cheatin' dual-GPU cards, but at present it's currently £60 cheaper than the GTX 280's expected £420 launch price.
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- It wipes the floor with the 8800GTX and 9800GTX.
- It can - in some games - beat out the 9800GX2.
- ATI better have something good cooking in their next-gen.
- Power efficiency and fairly silent cooling.
- For £60 less you can get a 9800GX2 which performs on-par or better.
- The price, as with all new releases, is more than premium.
All things said and done, this card most certainly deserves an award, and although we're hesitant to give it "Editors Choice", it deserves recognition for its excellent performance out of a single GPU, despite its hefty launch price.
Thanks to MSI
for providing the N280GTX for review. Discuss this review in our forums
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