Maximum PC Staff

Jul 23, 2009

EVGA GeForce GTX 275

At A Glance

Concert Ticket

You get your money's worth thanks to brand competition.

Speeding Ticket

Only a little faster than the cheaper Radeon HD 4870. Too big for most midtowers.

Here's why competition is so essential

Nvidia pretty much owns the top end of the GPU market, thanks to the mighty, dual-GPU GeForce GTX 295. But no manufacturer can survive by selling low-volume parts, no matter how pricey they may be. Selling oodles of moderately priced products is where the real money is made. And that’s where the GeForce GTX 275 comes in.

Nvidia would never have concocted the GTX 275 had AMD not launched the Radeon HD 4890. Competition is the consumer’s friend.

The GeForce GTX 275 is basically a crippled GTX 285, created for the sole purpose of filling a particular price point to compete with AMD's Radeon HD 4890.

The GTX 275 is based on the same 55nm silicon as the GTX 285, and all of its 240 shader processors are enabled. However, for this reference design, Nvidia does disable one of the chip’s raster operations (ROP) partitions, reducing its ROP count from 28 to 16 and narrowing the memory interface from a width of 512 bits down to 448. While this interface is much wider than the one AMD uses in the Radeon HD 4870, don’t forget that AMD pairs its GPU with higher data rate GDDR5 memory, whereas Nvidia continues to rely on the much slower GDDR3 (there is 896MB of it in this design). This gives ATI a hefty advantage in the memory bandwidth battle between even the older Radeon 4870 and the GTX 275, to say nothing of the newer Radeon 4890.

EVGA adds just a touch of over-clocking to Nvidia’s reference design, bumping the core clock speed to 648MHz (from a stock 633MHz), the shader processor speed to 1,458 (from a stock 1,404MHz), and the memory speed to 1,188MHz (from a stock 1,134MHz). But for all that, the GTX 275 proved to be only marginally faster than the less-expensive Radeon HD 4870.

At 10.5 inches long, the GTX 275 is too big for the typically cramped quarters of a home-theater PC (or even many mid-towers). It would also likely be too warm, since it can consume up to 219 watts of power.

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EVGA GeForce GTX 275

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