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First Look: Nvidia GeForce GTX 295 1,792MB

First Look: Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 295 graphics card

Manufacturer: Nvidia
Expected Pricing: $499 MSRP
Release Date: 8th January 2009

Nvidia will release its next high-end graphics card at CES in Las Vegas on January 8th and the company has given us the opportunity to give bit-tech’s readers a sneak peek at how the GeForce GTX 295 will perform. However, because the card is not available on the market yet, and won’t be until January 8th at the earliest, the company has asked us to adhere to a number of restrictions.

Rather than hide away from these, we decided that it would be best to put them out in the open so that you can understand why we haven’t done a full-blown performance disclosure on the card. This is what we were asked to agree to before publication:
  • Top 5 Games benchmarks only
  • Plus one other title of their choosing
  • No other benchmarks period
  • No acoustic measurements
  • No power measurements
  • No PhysX testing or benchmarks
When we asked why we weren’t given free reign with the card, Nvidia said that the drivers we've used for testing the card are not final and the hardware is a very early engineering sample. The clock speeds are final though and the hardware is unlikely to change a great deal at this stage.

First Look: Nvidia GeForce GTX 295 1,792MB Nvidia's GeForce GTX 295 1,792MB graphics card First Look: Nvidia GeForce GTX 295 1,792MB Nvidia's GeForce GTX 295 1,792MB graphics card
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We assume the reason why Nvidia doesn’t want us to publish either power measurements or acoustics at this early stage is because both can change between now and the final hardware. Power consumption generally improves when yields get better and the card’s acoustics can be tweaked in the BIOS – finding the optimal setting requires a lot of testing on Nvidia’s part.

The Top 5 Games benchmarks is a list of games that Nvidia asked bit-tech, and a number of other publications, to test exclusively upon the release of Nvidia’s Forceware 180 series drivers. It includes Call of Duty: World at War, Dead Space, Fallout 3, Far Cry 2 and Left 4 Dead – these are the games that Nvidia felt were going to be the biggest sellers and also happened to perform best on Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 200 series hardware – at least, until AMD released ATI Catalyst 8.12.

First Look: Nvidia GeForce GTX 295 1,792MB Nvidia's GeForce GTX 295 1,792MB graphics card First Look: Nvidia GeForce GTX 295 1,792MB Nvidia's GeForce GTX 295 1,792MB graphics card
Click to enlarge

At the time, we declined the offer for a number of reasons – one being we’re generally pretty sceptical whenever a manufacturer comes to us with a list of benchmarks because they usually paint said company in the best possible light. Instead, we decided to work towards a bigger article with more than just those games included and that’s where our Core i7 Christmas 2008 Graphics Performance article came from.

We don’t test Dead Space because, after some preliminary testing, we just found it wasn’t intensive enough to warrant an inclusion in the aforementioned graphics performance guide that we published yesterday. The other four are part of the test suite we put together for yesterday’s article, though, so we will be showing you how Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 295 performs in those titles.

The fifth title we’ll be testing is Crysis, mainly because it’s still the benchmark when it comes to graphics fidelity and no single slot graphics card has been able to handle the ‘Very High’ setting comfortably at 1,920 x 1,200 with anti-aliasing enabled. Maybe the GeForce GTX 295 will be able to finally deliver enough horsepower to play Crytek’s GPU cruncher at decent settings – we’ve waited over a year for that now, after all.