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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280 Video Card E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards
Written by Olin Coles   
Monday, 16 June 2008
Table of Contents: Page Index
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280 Video Card
GT200 GPU: Why Now and What's New?
GeForce GTX 280 Specifications
GTX 280 Features
NVIDIA Hybrid Technology
GeForce GTX 280 Closer Look
Video Card Testing Methodology
3DMark06 Benchmarks
Crysis Benchmark Results
Lightsmark Frame Rates
SupComm: Forged Alliance Results
World in Conflict Benchmarks
GTX 280 Temperatures
GTX 280 Power Consumption
GT200 GPU Final Thoughts
GeForce GTX 280 Conclusion

3DMark06 Benchmark Results

3DMark is a computer benchmark by Futuremark (formerly named Mad Onion) to determine the DirectX 9 performance of 3D game performance with graphics cards. 3DMark06 uses advanced real-time 3D game workloads to measure PC performance using a suite of DirectX 9 3D graphics tests, CPU tests, and 3D feature tests.

3DMark06 tests include all new HDR/SM3.0 graphics tests, SM2.0 graphics tests, AI and physics driven single and multiple cores or processor CPU tests and a collection of comprehensive feature tests to reliably measure next generation gaming performance today. Some enthusiasts may note that Benchmark Reviews does not include CPU-bound tests in our benchmark battery, and that only graphic-bound tests are included.

Here at Benchmark Reviews, we believe that synthetic benchmark tools are just as valuable as video games, but only so long as you're comparing apples to apples. Since the same test is applied in the same controlled method with each test run, I believe 3DMark is a very reliable tool for comparing graphic cards against one-another.

Using a base resolution of 1024x768 as our starting point (representative of a 17" LCD monitor) the maximum settings were applied to 3dMark06, which for these tests includes 8x Anti-Aliasing and 16x Anisotropic Filtering. Low-resolution testing allows the graphics processor to plateau maximum output performance, which thereby shifts demand onto the system components to keep up. At the lower resolutions 3DMark will reflect the GPU's top-end speed in the composite score, indicating full-throttle performance with little load. This makes for a less GPU-dependant test environment, and is helpful in measuring the maximum output performance in the test results.


Without question the GeForce 9800 GX2 outperforms every other competitor by a great margin of difference, as it should for a video card housing two G92 GPU's. But for this article we're going to focus on the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280 video card. At the lowest resolution of 1024x768, the GeForce GTX 280 nearly keeps pace with the Gigabyte GeForce 9800 GX2 GV-NX98X1GHI-B, yet still succeeds as the most powerful single-GPU solution in our test group for performance.


Bumping the GPU strain up a notch with 1280x1024 resolutions the scores remain relatively comparable in terms of performance ratio. More users operate with this resolution than anything else, as it represents 19" LCD monitor native resolution. Once again, the GeForce 9800 GX2 completely dominates the competition with major dual-GPU muscle, but the rest of the pack still manages to keep up the pace with nearly identical result ratios.


At the widescreen resolution of 1680x1050, the NVIDIA GTX 280 produces an HDR/SM 3.0 score of 3788 which is just narrowly beaten by the GeForce 9800 GX2 score of 3875.

While the entire G90-series GPU family is PCI Express 2.0 compatible, there doesn't seem to be enough demand to create an immediate advantage. However, with the much higher-output GT200 GPU, the bandwidth demands raise from 6.4 GBps on the GeForce 8800 GTX to 12.8 GBps on the GTX 280, as tested on the Gigabyte GA-X48T-DQ6 motherboard.


Not too many users have a 20-21" standard display LCD that uses the 1600x1200 resolution, but I'm one of the few. At this resolution, there are 1.92 MP displayed. From the results charted above, the GeForce 9800 GX2 and GTX 280 have firmly seated themselves into a lonely top-performance catagory shared only with each other. Perhaps one day they will see some competition, but not today.


Finishing up the series of synthetic benchmark tests under heavy load, the FOXCONN GeForce 9800 GTX Standard OC Edition video card finally out-paced the much older MSI GeForce 8800 GTX OC in the SM 2 tests, but every single-GPU solution offered is nearly halved in performance in comparison to the GeForce GTX 280 for our HDR/SM3 tests. The show belongs to the 9800 GX2 and GTX 280 if you're looking for pure performance.

One of NVIDIA's goals for the GT200 was to produce a GPU that doubles the performance of the 8800 GTX. Considering that the GeForce 8800 GTX video card that we used for testing is MSI's OC Edition that scored 1797 points in the shader model 3.0 tests, it seems that the GeForce GTX 280 may actually have completed its goal. Producing 3041 HDR/SM3 points, the reference GTX 280 outperforms the overclocked 8800 GTX by nearly 70%. With only a single GPU inside, the GTX 280 manages to perform identically to the twin-G92 9800 GX2.

Take the 3DMark06 tests at face value, because in our next section we begin real-world testing on a cadre of popular video games known for taxing the graphics processor, and this lineup might change. Our first up is Crysis, so please continue on...


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