A quick yank of the sliders in RivaTuner brought us a score of 12,380 3DMarks, up from the default of 10,958 3DMarks. The card managed to clock in at 700/1506/2450MHz for core, shader and memory respectively. The default clocks of the GeForce GTX 280 are 602/1296/1107MHz.
This card comes with three modes: standard 2D (for lowest power consumption), low-power 3D (as the name implies) and performance 3D (card runs at full speed). The intelligent mode switching allows for some power savings in situations where 3D processing power is not required such as surfing the Internet.
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280 1GB, pictured here with a GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB by XFX.
In short, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280 1GB does not live up to the hype that it generated prior to its release. Indeed there is performance increase, but the difference is not much, and would not affect the majority of the intended group of buyers, who are avid gamers running on medium to large screens, by much. The drivers for the GeForce GTX 280 are very young, and we should be seeing a couple more of revisions soon, together with faster frame rates from minor tweaks here and there with each release.
Some other benefits that do not come as raw performance include lessened complexity in the design of the GeForce GTX 280 as compared to the GeForce 9800 GX2, which may result in a smaller chance of hardware failure. The GeForce 9800 GX2 cooler pumps hot air out via its side, causing internal temperatures of a case to rise. In contrast, almost all the heat (minus the small gaps near the end) is exhausted through the rear vent which can help in preventing rising case temperatures especially when the whole system is on prolonged load.
Who should not buy this card? If you’re currently running on an NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB card, you should stay put with that card until we get more concrete performance results as the drivers for the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280 1GB mature before deciding.
Who should buy this card? If you’re looking for a new high-end solution, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280 1GB is for you. It is the fastest performing part out there in the market, and will be, until ATI releases its Radeon HD 4870 solution which may pose a threat to the GeForce GTX 280. There are no benefits by sticking to the slightly-matured GeForce 9800 GX2 part. Enthusiasts looking forward to cranking some impressive figures from benchmarks should consider the GeForce GTX 280 too. You have the ability to SLI three of these cards, as compared to two only on the GeForce 9800 GX2, and get better scores, assuming your processor does not end up bottlenecking you.