XFX GTX 280 Reviewccokeman - June 16, 2008
Category: Video Cards
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Just how long has it been since the last big release of a new video card? For Nvidia, it was less than three months ago, with the 9-series that launched the 9600GT, 9800GTX and the 9800GX2. The most recent from AMD/ATI, was the 3870X2 released a short amount of time earlier. So what's the impetus behind the rash of GPU launches this year? In the past, new technologies were a once-a-year type of thing. Now, with the fickle enthusiast and gamers wanting more and more performance, it looks as though manufacturers are more than happy to speed up production. Rumored to be launching in July, the GT 200 series has been eagerly anticipated since the launch of the 9 series of cards. Maybe the lack of an earth-shattering performance increase over the previous generation cards was that impetus to move up the launch.
With that said, the latest GPU from Nvidia is XFX's GTX 280 and this will be followed closely by the GTX 260. So what makes the GTX 280 so special? Let's start with 1.4 billion transistors, 933 gigaflops of processing power churned out by 240 processors running in parallel - in comparison, a quad-core CPU has around 96 gigaflops of computing power. Just think about that for a second...the performance available from the GTX 280 is stunning. By using Nvidia's CUDA technology and running in computing mode, the XFX GTX 280 will deliver almost one teraflop of performance to help out with video transcoding, physics acceleration and advanced visual computing, as well as scientific simulations. With that kind of computing power, the GTX 280 should be the top contender for the video card performance crown.
The packaging of the XFX GTX 280 could not be less subtle - out front and in your face is more like it. The traditional green and black from Nvidia and XFX are on display. The box lists several of the cards features, such as the 1GB of GDDR3 memory, PCI-E 2.0 compliance, the GPU clock speed of 602 MHz and a small tag noting the inclusion of the game Assassin's Creed. The rear panel goes into a little more detail about the cards attributes and talks about the new second-gen unified architecture, PhysX readiness, and more.
Slipping the inner box out, we find the documentation, driver and game disks, as well as the door tag that alludes to the fact you don't want to be bothered when gaming. The XFX GTX 280 is encased in foam, providing protection on all sides. Not everyone ships their cards packaged this well, but no broken cards here! Under the cover at the front, we see the rest of the bundle.
The bundle of accessories from XFX is similar to what has been sent with their most recent releases. There's the documentation and door tag, the Assassin's Creed game disk, the HDMI sound cable, DVI to D-sub adapter and the HDTV dongle. If you can't get connected with this bundle, it's time to pack up and go home.
Let's get a little better acquainted with the GTX 280!