With the GeForce GTX 295, the minimum frame rate is less volatile when compared to previous dual-GPU configurations. Its unified architecture and larger amount of graphics memory kept it from producing lower minimum frame rates than a single GPU. The following results show the minimum frame rate from selected titles at the resolution of 2560x1600.
2560x1600 - Minimum Frame Rate
A minimum frame rate that is less prone to wide fluctuations was an major hurdle that the GeForce 295 GTX has overcome making it a desirable high-performance graphics card. Overall, the minimum frame rate delivered by the GeForce GTX 295 exceeded the GeForce GTX 280 by 45%, with the largest difference coming in at 81% in Far Cry 2 (49 fps vs 27 fps).
FurMark is an OpenGL graphics benchmark that can be used to test the stability of a graphics card. FurMark makes use of fur rendering algorithms and causes GPU temperatures to quickly rise. The algorithm also generates extremely high GPU temperatues, which are typically higher than those generated by many 3D applications.
At idle, GPU temperatures on the EVGA GeForce GTX 295 ranged from 50° C to 55° C with the fan set to a default of 40%. Keep in mind that GPU, shader and memory clock speeds are automatically lowered when running non-3D applications. After five minutes of running FurMark in a 1680x1050 window with 4x AA applied, the GPU temperature peaked at 98° C and fan speed increased to 84%. For comparison, Crysis uses many capabilities of modern GPUs and following three successive runs of the internal demo isle benchmark, the peak temperature recorded was 88° C
Fan noise generally became noticeable around the 48% mark. The important point here is that EVGA GeForce GTX 295 during FurMark's stress test was significantly quieter than two GeForce GTX's running in SLI. Note that the side of the case was open during testing.
With a GPU die shrink to 55nm, a stock GeForce GTX 295 will likely have a bit of headroom for overclocking. Based on past experience with NVIDIA GPUs, a typical overclock with stock air cooling provides around a 5%-10% increase in performance.
EVGA's Precision Tool was used to overclock the GeForce GTX 295 while the highest clock speeds were determined with FurMark's stress test. All of the overclocking benchmarks completed successfuly without any ill effects with the GPU, shader and memory clocks set at 660MHz / 1440MHz / 1250MHz respectively. Default clocks are set to 594MHz / 1296MHz / 1026MHz.
Priced at $504.99, the EVGA GeForce GTX 295 delivered average frame rates that were close to the GeForce 280 running in SLI. At the time this article was published, the cheapest GeForce GTX 280 was selling for $319.
Two of them cost $638, which is a more expensive configuration right off the bat. With an SLI configuration, additional osts are possible as the purchaser may require an SLI-enabled motherboard and also needs to consider the strength of their power supply and the number of PCI-E connections available.
The one drawback of the EVGA GeForce GTX 295 is its lower amount of graphics memory (896MB vs. 1GB), which can cause performance to degrade when an applications requires more. These cases were game and setting dependent and typically occurred at the resolution of 2560x1600. Even so, the benefits that the EVGA GeForce GTX 295 provide at the high-end of the gaming spectrum earned it our Grand Slam Hardware award!
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