Asus ENGTX275 Reviewccokeman -
Category: Video Cards
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When the dual-PCB GTX 295 debuted back in January, you knew right away that nVidia was more than likely going to make a card that fell between the GTX 280 and GTX 260 to capture that price and performance point. If it was not obvious, you just were not thinking hard enough! Lo and behold, April 2, 2009 the GTX 275 made its debut at a price point below that of the GTX 280/285, offering performance almost on par with it and meant to compete with ATI's HD4890 launched at the same time. Coincidence? I think not! But here we are two months later with ASUS's rendition of the GTX 275.
The ASUS ENGTX275 is a combination of the GTX 260 and GTX 280, using 240 shader cores under the heatspreader from the GTX 280 and 896MB of GDDR3 memory running on a 448-bit BUS straight from the GTX 260. Clock speeds on this ASUS variant are the stock clock speeds of 633MHz on the core, 1404MHz on the shader processors and 1134MHz on the memory. One thing the ASUS variant features is the use of their "Ultimate Armaments". These "armaments" are basically components used to improve on the reference design and provide a video card that can run cooler, longer and more efficiently. Let's take a look and see if the ENGTX275 construction is a benefit and whether or not it allows for more overclocking than the reference design.
The ASUS ENGTX275 features the same artwork used on the ENGTX285 TOP from ASUS I looked at just a few short months ago. The front panel features a medieval warrior challenging an opponent to battle. Once you get away from the artwork, which looks much like something Frank Frazetta might have painted, some of the features of the ENGTX275 can be seen. These include the fact that this card is built with ASUS's "Ultimate Armaments" to improve reliability, efficiency and reduce the thermal output of the components. HDMI is supported via an adapter and the card can make use of nVidia's Physx technology. The rear panel contains additional information about the features of the ENGTX275, as well as the included software utilities, including Smart Doctor and the Gamer OSD. Once you open the packaging you find that it is just a sleeve that houses the inner box holding the card and bundle.
The inner package is in black and features the ASUS logo in gold. This box is split up into compartments housing the documentation and driver disk, the adapters and last, but not least, the ENGTX275.
Documentation for the ENGTX275 includes a driver and utilities disk, a disk that has the manual in multiple languages, a quick setup guide, a coupon for 10% off a game, and information about connecting the card using the digital SPDIF output to deliver sound via HDMI. Lastly is the information about ASUSs Xonar audio cards. For connectivity, you get a dual 4-pin to 6-pin PCIe power adapter, the 2-pin SPDIF cable, an HDTV output, DVI to D-sub and HDMI adapters. With this pacakge, you should be able to make a connection to practically any display of your choosing.
Now that you have seen how the card is delivered and what is included with the ENGTX275, it's time to look at the card to see what sets it apart from the rest.