EVGA GTX 280 Triple SLI Review :: EVGA GeForce GTX280 Features

03-15-2009 · Category: Hardware - Video Cards

By Ben Sun
  • 65nanometer
  • 1.4Billion Transistors
  • 240 Shader Processors
  • 2-way or 3-way SLI
  • DirectX 10.0
  • CUDA
  • PhysX
  • Pixel Shader 4.0
  • Vertex Shader 4.0
  • Unified Shader architecture
  • Up to 8x MSAA
  • GeForce 3D Vision
  • 1GB GDDR3 memory
  • PureVideo HD
  • HybridPower
  • 128-bit floating point high dynamic range (HDR) lighting with
  • 602MHz Core clock
  • 1296MHz Shader Clock
  • 48.2Gigatexel texture fill rate
  • Memory clock 1107MHz
  • 512-bit memory interface
  • Memory bandwidth 141.7GB/second

The GeForce GTX280 is based upon NVIDIA's GT200 chip which has 1.4 billion transistors and is based upon TSMC's 65nm process. The chip itself is about 24mm on each side or about 576mm2 in area. NVIDIA has moved their recent chips to 55nm in the form of the GTX285 and GTX295, but the cards I'm using in this review are 65nm.

The core clock speed of these cards is 602MHz for each card. With a total of 80 textures per clock and 32 pixels per clock that leaves a pixel fill rate of 19 Gigapixels/second and a textel fill rate of 48.2 Gigatexels/second. Three cards have a fill rate up to triple that. Note that three GTX 280 cards will have more performance than one could want out of a computer in most cases.

The GTX280 supports DirectX 10.0 and OpenGL 3.0 which is supported out of the latest drivers off NVIDIA's website. NVIDIA has yet to deliver a video card with the ability to be DirectX 10.1 compliant, but will deliver such a card once they release DirectX 11 cards as the more compliant cards have to be backwards compliant.

NVIDIA is really pushing PhysX to developers and for good reason. Physx allows the game developers to include hardware physics effects that ran slow on the CPU where they used to run on. Games like Unreal Tournament 3, Gears of War and Mirror's Edge have been released to the PC with effects like smoke, fog, banners that can be shot, glass windows that can be shattered with the shards interacting with the environment.

SLI is the big feature that I'm touting for this review as it is the focus of this review. SLI stands for Scalable Link Interface. A different form of SLI (Scan Line Interleave) was invented by 3DFX with the Voodoo 2 cards. With the appropriate motherboard (such as the nForce 590/680/780/790 or Intel X58) chipset and available PCI Express x16 slots you can run SLI. Note that only the X58 and NVIDIA SLI chipsets officially support SLI, though there is an upcoming ASRock board that will support it as well. One of the issues with SLI is the power requirements. A single GeForce GTX280 card can use up to 236W of power by itself. Three would require up to 708W of power for just the video cards. NVIDIA has a list of certified Power Supply Units on their website. They have certified PSUs of 1200W and above for several manufacturers.