Faster than previous-gen SLI in some tests. Runs Crysis in very high mode. Fastest single-GPU solution.
Bio Force Gun
Hot, loud, power-hungry design may force a PSU upgrade. Rumors that a replacement is around the corner abound.
Sporting almost the same configuration as the reference design we previewed last month, BFG’s GeForce GTX 280 delivers amazing performance with the second-generation DirectX 10 chipset from Nvidia. It soundly spanks ATI’s new 4870, as well as all but the dual-GPU graphics solutions from the previous generation—and even against those, the GTX 280 wins all but a few benchmarks. The real question we’re asking is, Do we need this much power?
Luckily for Nvidia, the answer is yes. The company’s GT200 GPU, which forms the heart of the GeForce GTX 280 and 260 boards, is a great performer, despite its massive footprint and huge energy requirements. BFG overclocked the GPU core ever so slightly—it runs at 615MHz—while the GDDR3 memory ticks along at a stock 1107MHz. The GTX 280 features 240 stream processors running at 1350MHz—a touch more than double the GPU’s core speed.
It’s not surprising that the GTX 280 fares so well against older Nvidia cards; far more interesting is its performance compared with the new Radeon HD 4870, which streets for about half the GTX 280’s $660 list price. The good news for Nvidia is that the 280 is faster across all our benchmarks than a single 4870 board. However, the ATI card delivers as much as 80 percent of the performance of the single GTX board at a much lower price. Still, despite ATI’s accomplishment, the GeForce GTX 280 is the fastest single videocard you can buy today.
The GTX 280 features all the great video-processing capabilities of the 9000-series Nvidia boards—it accelerates the decode of H.264, MPEG-4, and MPEG-2 videos and supports HDCP and dual-link DVI.
Before you rush out and purchase a GTX 280 board, make sure your system supports its power requirements. This is the first single-GPU board we’ve tested that requires both a 6-pin and 8-pin PCI Express power connector, and you need to make sure your power supply is up to snuff. We recommend a 650W PSU to run a single card—potential SLIers will need at least a 1000W supply, but you should check Nvidia's PSU compatibility list before you buy.
|BFG GeForce GTX 280 ||Radeon 4870 |
|Crysis ||15.9 fps ||9.3 fps|
|3DMark 2006 Game 1||46 fps ||34 fps|
|3DMark 2006 Game 2||45.5 fps ||36.7 fps|
|Vantage Game 1 ||15.5 fps ||10.7 fps|
|Vantage Game 2||26 fps ||54 fps |
|Company of Heroes ||83 fps ||130 fps |
|World in Conflict ||32 fps ||28 fps|