Palit GTX280 Reviewccokeman - July 28, 2008
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With 1.4 billion transistors and 240 computing cores, the Palit GTX280 is one monster of a video card - for the most part beating all of the cards tested. In 27 out of 32 benchmark tests run the GTX280 was ahead of its latest competition from the red camp, the HD4870. In Call of Duty 4, at 1920 x 1200, the score was even between the two cards. In Call of Juarez (a game ATI cards do well in), the GTX280 was beaten by the HD4870 in all four resolutions tested. That was kind of unexpected, but it does happen. Palit has been known to provide video cards that overclock well, something this card did. I was able to increase the core speed by 126MHz, the memory by 175MHz, and the shader clocks by 273 MHz. All of this while still keeping the GTX280 air cooled! With some additional work done to the cooling, I'm sure that the potential is there to push even further. By allowing the driver to control the fan speeds, the maximum temperature I witnessed was 72 Celsius in a 26 degree Celsius room. When manually controlling the fan speed, the temperature was reduced to 59 Celsius in that same 26 Celsius room. When the fan is controlled by the driver, the fan is barely audible - but when ramped up by manually adjusting it to 100%, the fan can get annoying. If your chassis is under a desk, it may prove to be a non-issue, but of course having it two feet from your ears makes all the difference.
One thing the GTX280 does to help save you on your energy bills is that when the GPU is running in non-demanding 2D mode, the GPU core and memory clock speeds will dramatically decrease. In doing so, the amount of energy consumed is greatly reduced. One step further would be using this card in a HybridPower/SLI setup, reducing the energy footprint even further by allowing the IGP to be used for 2D mode, and shutting down the GTX280 discrete card. Of course, this requires a motherboard that has the requisite features. If the performance of one card is this outstanding, then running two or three of the Palit GTX280s in an SLI configuration has got to be close to taming the killer of all video cards - Crysis.
By using CUDA technology to harness the power of the 240 processing cores, things such as offloading the transcoding of video files from the CPU to the GPU will dramatically reduce the time needed to complete this task. I found an improvement of 145% when this capability was tested. The PhysX capabilities of the GTX280 allow for much more lifelike details to be rendered, including things such as collateral damage, flowing cloth, and the improvement in the detail of facial features. With 150 games already supporting PhysX, it's just a matter of time before more games take advantage of this. The old saying is "you gotta pay to play". Initially, this meant shelling out $650 of your hard earned dollars for the fastest single GPU card on the market. But with the recent price drops on Nvidia's flagship GT200-series video cards, this analogy still rings true - now you don't have to pay as much. This particular video card I have seen as low as $399 after rebate. A $250 drop in price makes the performance per dollar much more palatable. The GTX280 is still the most expensive single GPU video card for the enthusiast, but it is the fastest as well. The choice on how much performance you want is up to you!
- Still the fastest single GPU card
- Parallel computing capabilities
- Tri-SLI capable
- PhysX ready
- Energy savings
- Still the most expensive single GPU card