NVIDIA is the first of the two graphics titans to roll out their new generation of graphics adapters once again. The first of the series is usually the best of the lot, and it’s no exception this time. Introducing the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280, the first dual core GPU based on the GT200 architecture. Rumored to be a power guzzler and under-performing part, we put it to the test to find out if such claims are true.
When the NVIDIA G80 first arrived, it brought with it the joy of shader processing for consumer PC graphics. The NVIDIA G92 went on to move this performance to a more affordable level, apart from making NVIDIA ownership a less cranky experience. As with most technolgical product cycles, the trickle-down is followed by a roller coaster ride up the next performance level. What we have with us today is the NVIDIA GT 200 chipset manifesting itself in the form of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280 1GB, packing 240 Shader Processors into a 65nm BGA package.
The big deal, of course, lies in the raw increase of pixel-pushing power. Extra pixels to fill the HD display that you broke the piggy bank for. Video acceleration continues to be handled by NVIDIA’s VP2 Engine, so whatever benefits of PureVideo 2 will be retained in this new product range. Notably, the 240SP GeForce GTX 280 will take on NVIDIA’s previous flagship power-guzzler, the GeForce 9800 GX2, with the ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 being the only commercial threat from the Red Camp. Till the RV770, maybe. With no major architectural changes, it only means that the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280 will not support Shader Model 4.1 and DirectX 10.1.
Before we move on, we have a table comparing the specifications of both the older GeForce 9800 GX2 and the just-released GeForce GTX 280.
|NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280 1GB|
|Manufacturing Process||TSMC 65nm||TSMC 65nm|
|Stream Processors||256 (128 per core)||240|
|Shader Processor Clock||1500MHz||1296|
|Texture Units||128 (64 per core)||80|
|Raster Units||48 (24 per core)||32|
|Memory Bus||256-bit on individual core||512-bit|
|Memory Capacity||1GB (512MB per core)||1GB|
|PCI-E Power Connectors||1 8-pin, 1 6-pin||1 8-pin, 1 6-pin|