iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280 1024MB

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

June 23, 2008

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Speaking of the cooling system, it does not differ radically from what we saw in GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB. The shape is also the same. Only the heat sink has become longer to match the PCB size, and there is also a plate on the back side of the PCB to cool memory chips. The entire device is assembled to create a single large heat sink made of caps (the rear and front caps latch together, so it's rather difficult to remove the cooling system without damaging the card). Engineers liked what they did with 9800 GX2 with the same latches.

I'll stress the important point once again: The card is 270 mm long, just like the 8800 GTX/Ultra. So a PC case should be large enough to accommodate this device. Besides, width of the housing does not change along the card, so a motherboard should have a zone (30 mm wide) behind PCI-E x16 free of ports or high capacitors, that is not only behind the PCI-E slot, but also behind the neighboring slot.

Graphics cards of this series are equipped with an audio connector to plug to a sound card, in order to transmit the audio stream to HDMI (via a DVI-to-HDMI adapter). That is the graphics card does not contain an audio codec, but it receives the audio signal from an external sound card. So if this function is important to you, make sure the bundle includes a special audio cable.

It should also be noted that the graphics card uses TWO power connectors, 6-pin and 8-pin. So you should make sure the bundle includes a power cable adapter to 8-pin.

The card has TV-Out with an original jack. You will need a special bundled adapter to output video to a TV set via S-Video or RCA.

Analog monitors with D-Sub (VGA) interface are connected with special DVI-to-D-Sub adapters. The bundle also includes DVI-to-HDMI adapters (these graphics cards support video/audio transfer to HDMI receivers), so there should be no problems with such monitors.

Maximum resolutions and frequencies:

  • 240 Hz maximum refresh rate
  • 2048 x 1536 x 32bit @ 85Hz Max - analog interface
  • 2560 x 1600 @ 60Hz Max - digital interface (all Dual-Link DVIs)

What concerns MPEG2 playback features (DVD-Video), we analyzed this issue in 2002. Little has changed since that time. CPU load during video playback on modern graphics cards does not exceed 25%.

What concerns HDTV, a review is available here.

We monitored temperatures using RivaTuner (by A.Nikolaychuk AKA Unwinder). Here are the results:

Note that operating frequencies go down in 2D mode (the left marker on the screenshot) - down to 100 (!) MHz for shaders and memory! This feature reduces power consumption of this card to 110 W. When in 3D mode and fully loaded, this card consumes 280 W! In this case the core temperature reaches 80°C. It's all right, especially considering that the cooler remains quiet. The card is impeccable in this respect, you just need a very powerful PSU. You need at least a 700 W model.


As our card was an OEM sample, there's no bundle to describe.

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