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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280 1024MB

Will it outperform 9800 GX2? (Updated: now also with synthetic test results.)

June 23, 2008



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Conclusions on the synthetic tests

Synthetic tests of GeForce GTX 280 and other products from both competitors show us that the new product from NVIDIA is a very powerful card. It significantly outperforms single-GPU cards of the previous generation in synthetic tests. Sometimes performance differences reach two times or more. It often competes on a par with dual-GPU solutions. It's become possible because of the improved GT200 architecture with the increased number of ALUs, TMUs, and ROPs. All modifications and improvements allow this graphics card demonstrate excellent results in all synthetic tests.

That's the effect of improvements in the architecture versus G8x and G9x, not only of the increased number of execution units. This architecture is notable for higher efficiency, computing performance, which is important for modern and future applications with lots of complex shaders of all types. The GT200 architecture features changes in practically all units - more powerful shader processors, texture units and ROPs, and many others.

Along with modifications to improve performance, NVIDIA also fixed G8x/G9x bugs. That's why graphics cards on GT200 demonstrate better results with complex shaders and especially with complex geometry shaders that create geometry on the fly. It's the first GPU from NVIDIA that gains performance from moving some computations into a geometry shader in one of our synthetic tests. All the more pleasant that the company uses our benchmark for its domestic tests.

On the whole, GeForce GTX 280 is a perfectly balanced card, especially for future applications, which will have higher requirements to shader performance. It contains a lot of execution units of all types, a wide memory bus, and consequently, it offers high memory bandwidth. It's equipped with the optimal capacity of video memory for a high-end solution. There are not many technical drawbacks in this card. The only wish we have is higher operating frequencies of the GPU in general and shader units in particular. But this has to do with the fabrication process.

The next part of our article contains tests of the new solution from NVIDIA in modern games. These results must be similar to our conclusions made after synthetic tests, adjusted for the stronger effect of the fill rate and memory bandwidth. Rendering speed in games depends more on texel and fill rates than on ALUs and geometry processors. And judging by synthetic test results, GeForce GTX 280 will perform in games somewhere in between GeForce 9800 GTX and 9800 GX2, but closer to the latter. That is GT200 must be generally faster than G92 by 60-80%.


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