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Maximum PC Staff Aug 06, 2008

BFG GeForce GTX 280 OC 1GB

At A Glance

BFG9000

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.

Benchmarks

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
NOTES: Best scores are bolded. Cards are tested using an Intel Core 2 Extreme running at 2.93GHz with 2GB of Corsair DDR2 memory. All benchmarks are run at 1920x1200, with 4x AA and 16x anisotropic filtering. Crysis is run at very high settings, 3DMark Vantage is run in Extreme mode.
THE VERDICT

BFG GeForce GTX 280 OC 1GB

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