nother GeForce GTX 500 series product hit the market last week. Man, both ATI/AMD and NVIDIA have been really active with all the new product releases ever since Q3 last year now.

To address the lower mid-range segment NVIDIA outs the GeForce GTX 550 Ti, priced at roughly 135 USD we call it the bang for buck product. And guess what, the 550 Ti is nothing to be ashamed about.

A product that will likely replace the GTS 450 real soon. Armed with an all new GF116-400 GPU this product has 192 shader processors embedded and is running a cool full gigabyte of GDDR5 memory on a 192-bit wide bus.

The first series of cards already arrived like two weeks ago here in that underworld we call the Guru3D trenches...

Today we'll be putting the GeForce GTX 550 Ti Sonic from Palit to the test, armed with a new cooler we expect no noise and decent temperatures. The the card comes factory overclocked as well, and not a little. We'll have a deeper look in the product gallery of course. As stated this card comes factory overclocked, from 900 towards 1000 MHz. Extremely high frequencies... but get this, we'll bring this card towards a whopping 1100 MHz today.

Let's have a peek at what the GTX 550 Ti has in store for us.



Galaxy GTX 550 Ti LTD OC WHITE review


ATI/AMD and NVIDIA have both been really active with all the new product releases ever since Q3 last year now.

To address the lower mid-range segment NVIDIA today outs the GeForce GTX 550 Ti, priced at roughly 135 USD we call it the bang for buck product. And guess what, the 550 Ti is nothing to be ashamed about.

A product that will likely replace the GTS 450 real soon. Armed with an all new GF116-400 GPU this product has 192 shader processors embedded and is running a cool full gigabyte of GDDR5 memory on a 192-bit wide bus.

In this review we'll have a peek at the warmongers from KFA2 (Galaxy), they unleash this cute little beastly looking GTX 550 Ti LTD OC edition graphics card. And to make it even more special, they slapped all components on a sexy white PCB again. Armed with that atypical looking cooler you'll learn that this product makes no compromises, you will not hear it, it will not run hot and it even comes factory clocked at a full GHz, quite amazing as GPUs seem to slowly pass that weird 1 GHz threshold.

If that's not enough then KFA2 has a little extra as well, of course that cool looking white PCB, a cooler from which the shield is detachable, good quality component section, two embedded NEC Proadlizers to clean up power like a water-filter and then they even placed more phases on the product to ensure you'll reach an even higher clock frequency, should you choose that mission to accomplish of course. So you'll also notice two 6-pin power connector on this card.

All in all we have a lot to show you. Let's have a peek at what the GTX 550 Ti has in store for us; yep -- we're here and we're ready. They're not. Bring it. To quote a certain mister Sheen,




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Posted by ralfowen
NVIDIA going budget with the GeForce GT 240


NVIDIA today adds a new GeForce graphics card to their product lineup. The product is nothing new in terms of features and performance in your end, but on the chipset side however, this is a completely new silicon made at the new 40nm manufacturing node at TSMC.

Yes guys and girls, today the GeForce GT 240 sees the light. In several ways an interesting product as it does offer decent value for money. GT 240 is aimed somewhere in-between the GT 220 and as NVIDIA states, GeForce 9800 GT in terms of performance and feature set. Price wise we are looking at a fairly low sub-100 USD product series -- which will likely drop to say 80 USD fairly quick in the weeks to come..

GeForce GT240 is designed for a the lower segment of the mainstream market and comes with support for DX10.1
Yes unfortunately for NVIDIA they still do not offer DX11 products in any shape or form, which is somewhat of a miss anno Q4 2009. GeForce GT240 comes packed with 96 shader cores and features GDDR3 memory, however if you throw in an extra tenner -- you can get a 128-bit gDDR5 memory version as well -- giving the card some more breathing space in terms of memory bandwidth and in the end overall performance.

Built on the GT215 core, the GeForce GT 240 graphics card thus is based on a 40nm GPU, manufactured at TSMC, will boast support for DirectX 10.1 and will be featured with 96 Stream processors.

Word on the street is that these puppies overclock like a friggin lunatic -- so we'll have to check that out. We picked up the GeForce GT 240 from MSI which comes packed with a nice design and some really good connectivity -- let's have a look shall we.




AMD ATI Radeon HD 2400 and 2600 Series review


Oh good gosh people, that certainly took a while didn't it? But yes, today finally is the day we can bring you an in depth review of AMD's ATI Radeon HD 2400 and 2600 products. Two products armed with loads of features to attack the budget and mid-range market with prices that are really interesting.

AMD has now launched no less than five desktop graphics cards, in the high-end range you'll see the 80nm fabrication process Radeon HD 2900 XT, a product that is still discussed a lot for sure. But there are four other products as well. ATI is also launching an all new Radeon 2400 and 2600 series (low- and mid-range). These products will be based on the newer 65nm fabrication production process.

Let's have a brief overview of the five new graphics cards and on the next page we'll go a little deeper into the silicon that is Radeon HD 2000.

  • Radeon HD 2900 XT
  • Radeon HD 2600 XT
  • Radeon HD 2600 Pro
  • Radeon HD 2400 XT
  • Radeon HD 2400 Pro

Obviously for all products, we are talking about the next-gen product series here and that means 100% DirectX 10 compatible products, so you'll understand that we'll also talk a little about DX10, the Unified Shader Architecture with those lovely stream processors; a new function on the 2000 Series called Tessellation and last but not least, Avivo HD.

So what we'll do today is go deep into the technology that is the Radeon HD 2400 and 2600. We'll have an overview of the product line-up, the features, do a good number of gaming performance tests and, after the 2900 XT UVD debacle, we'll test Avivo HD with a self-developed performance test with the help of a Blu-Ray and HD-DVD title.

In total we'll test three cards today, the Radeon HD 2400 XT 256MB (ATI reference), the Radeon HD 2600 XT GDDR3 256MB (PowerColor) and the Radeon HD 2600 XT GDDR4 (ATI reference).




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Posted by ralfowen

THIS IS SPARTA! Oh ... hi everyone. Yeah once you get to play games with the beast we'll be showing off today I tend to get a little melodramatic. I have this weird thing that once I really like a piece of hardware I try to find a weird euphemism for it that fits the product. The actual GeForce GTX 280 we put to the test reminded me of pure brute force. But all that brute force streamlined, well organized and efficient could very well be an euphemism for SPARTAAAANS. If you have no frickin clue what I'm talking about, then first go see the movie '300' and then come back and read this article, as I like to invoke that feeling into this article.

Welcome to today's introduction of the GeForce GTX 200 release. The long awaited successors of the GeForce series 8 generation architecture is finally here, with one keyword: loads of additional transistors.

Specifically two new products are being released today: GeForce GTX 260 and 280.

Yeah the rumor was right ... 1.4 frickin' Billion transistors slapped onto a silicon -- quite amazing! I guess NVIDIAs one billion dollars a year investments on R&D shows off today. Weirdly enough it's also the day that NVIDIA decided to go strong on something else than gaming. They call it their 'GPU and Beyond' approach. In short wording, they want you guys to be very aware of the fact that the good old GeForce series graphics card is more than a piece of machinery to only play games with. And that's true ...  we see more and more features merged into the graphics card and they broaden that PC experience we all so much love. Today we'll actually show you some very interesting examples of that, yet obviously we will go a little deeper into the architecture and fire of a dozen or two games at the product as well. And yes, we finally found a product that can play Crysis at a decent resolution with high-image quality settings.

Before we dive into the review; architecture and features of the new GeForce GTX series 200. I really wanted to take you on a Shader crash course. We, the press, talk about it all the time in our articles, but certainly it is very difficult for the end-user to even understand what a shader or shader processor is. Next page please, and if you're not interested in that explanation, just jump to page three.

But I feel you first should have a glimpse of the GeForce GTX 280.

GeForce GTX 280 HC16 Hydro Copper review

Every now and then one of NVIDIA's board partners tries to do something special with one of their products. A nice overclock, custom coolers, new PCBs, there is a big bag of tricks to their disposal. But you have that, and then there always is a next step. Something weird, something special, often something very expensive. If you got cash to spend and like to go pro .. dude you gotta go for water-cooling. And  if you combine that with NVIDIA fastest single GPU solution on the market, then chances are you'll have something special for sure. Manufacturers like EVGA can help you with that.

Take the GeForce GTX 280. A 1400 million transistor counting piece of silicon that raises the bar of single-GPU graphics processing. It's also a product that has been haunted and jinxed by a ghost called AMD with the RV770 product, which I'll now call Casper.

What sucks for NVIDIA, but is great for the consumer is that NVIDIA had to adapt their strategy. One of the big markers changed in that approach was to lower the pricing model of the top part of NVIDIA products. The GeForce GTX 280 dropped from an astoundingly overpriced 650 USD towards a way more interesting price. Though the MSRP is now set at 339 USD you can find (check here) the standard GTX 280 already for 419 USD ! And that certainly changed the dynamics, as that's a 35% price drop, making the GTX 280 way more flexible to put onto the market, and actually appealing to purchase.

Now why this long intro on pricing you ask? Well, what we are testing today is by itself unjustifiable expensive. So that massive price drop on NVIDIA's side helped out a lot, see, as for less than the original price 8 weeks ago, at $629.99 you can purchase the product we're testing today. But more on that later.

A water-cooled pre-overclocked heavily pimped out EVGA GTX 280 HC 16  is what we'll review today. Have a quick peek at the photo below and then let's dive into the full review.



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Posted by ralfowen

As Marilyn Monroe once stated, some like it hot. And where I say .. some don't. Yeah, that movie was a comedy yet what I'm talking about definitely is not. Graphics cards, well, generic components inside your PC actually have become way hotter temperature wise in the past 4 years. We all want the fastest performing products, and that creates heat. Today's graphics processors in the mid-range start at 500+ million transistors where the latest high-end products now sum up towards 1400 million transistors, of which each needs to be fired up with with current to make it work. Combine that with higher clock-speeds and a thermal envelope that has been raised (processors can work fine over 100 Degrees C these days) and you have a problem.

Well sort of. All these hot products have been equipped with pretty decent cooling. Yet often they disperse their residual heat inside your PC chassis, in term warming up other components. Though that does not per se has to hinder overall performance, it is a growing concern.

Luckily, if you can spend the money, there are always solutions out there that can solve the issue. Next to dramatically increasing that good old x-factor of your PC by aesthetically pleasing it, it is also one of the best methods of cooling down components. Yes we are talking about water-cooling.

I thank to the almighty one above that there are still some manufacturers out there actually releasing kits that have a pre-applied water-cooling blocks fitted to their graphics card. Today we'll review one of them.

We have BFG in da house putting down some Mack-daddy lovin at a GeForce 9800 GTX with their H2OC product, derived from H2O (water) and OC as in overclocked. Have a peek ... after which we'll dive into the actual review.

BTW I'm playing around with a new feature, hover over the photo below with your mouse and behold .. the magnifying function. Let me know if this is a feature you guys like, just post something in the forum thread related to this article.


GeForce 9800 GTX+ Hydra SLI


It's always interesting to see manufacturers with different things in their product designs. ECS always has been known as an OEM manufacturer. Last year an interesting shift was made. They started entering the retail and e-tail market. That means a new marketing approach, yet also new products. They did so with success and now have moved onward into a somewhat more enthusiast based product model. Today we for example see a water-cooled kit, pre-modified with two GeForce 9800 GTX+ cards, and it's called .. Hydra..

Quite an astounding kit as well as price wise, though more expensive due to water-cooling it still a very competitive kit. Basically you'll receive two pre-modified GeForce 9800 GTX+ products and a water-cooling kit that is supplied  by Thermaltake. It's in fact the Thermaltake big water series that you can slide into you 5.25"drive bay easily. That's also the generic consensus for this product release .. everything should be easy.

We've actually tested the Thermaltake Bigwater product before, yet then for CPU cooling. So the GeForce cards have the water-blocks pre-equipped, the water-cooling unit slides into the drive bay. Pretty much the only thing you need to do is connect four tubing connections, fill her up, connect some wiring ... and you are good to go. That's 15 minutes tops. As our tests will show the water-cooling unit is exceptionally good for the GTX+ cards. In fact the kit cools so well that we'll be overclocking the two cards pretty far. The end result is a much faster than GeForce GTX 280 performing product.

A pretty fun kit I might say, though not very cheap definitely competitively priced. Considering one GTX+ will cost you roughly 229 USD in the store you can easily do the math. Two cards would cist you roughly 458 USD, and then you'd need to purchase a water-cooling setup plus the water-blocks. ECS will offer you all that as a kit, at a 549 USD price tag, and honestly I think that is not a bad deal considering our experiences.

What we'll do today is have a closer look at the product that is called GeForce 9800 GTX+ and the chip that is powering it. We'll handle SLI and how to install it, obviously we'll show you the product installation with the help of a photo-shoot, then obviously we look at SLI performance with the help of our benchmark suite, then overclock the rig, and last but not least, our verdict on the ECS GeForce 9800 GTX+ Hydra kit. So yeah, we have a lot of ground to cover.


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Posted by ralfowen

If there is one product in the Fermi (GF100) line-up that came out reasonably positive in terms of noise and heat levels, then it has to be the GeForce GTX 465. This series is performing pretty nicely. It is a DX11 class graphics card that appeals to lot of us. As such it makes a lot of sense for AIB's and ODM to take this product to the next level rather then to invest time, money and resources in say the GeForce GTX 480. The two negatives of the GeForce GTX 465 however are a slightly high TDP at 200 Watt and of course its price level. Tagged with a sub-300 USD price tag, the performance to price ratio is quickly overthrown by the cheaper Radeon HD 5850.

As such some of the board partners figured, let's go back to the drawing table and come up with something new and good. MSI adopted their own PCB design, diverted to custom quality component usage, uncovered and applied the new Twin Frozr II GPU cooler and upped the price with only 10 USD, which is extremely reasonable considering as to what you purchase we say.

The end result is a much better looking card that you honestly can hardly hear, it comes with really first-class GPU temperatures. Thus the end result is a spectacular looking GeForce GTX 465 that remains very silent. And combined with some overclocking with the help of AfterBurner software, this graphics card can overclock very high. 800MHz should be a really easy target to achieve, and considering these cards run at a default 600 MHz core you can already imagine yourself the additional performance you can tweak out of it.


GeForce GTX 465 SLI review

NVIDIA today is releasing the 3rd product resurrected from the Fermi family of GPUs, the GeForce GTX 465 has arrived. Armed with a smaller thermal print, noise levels and performance, NVIDIA is positioning this product in the 279 EUR price range bringing the Fermi architecture below the sub-300 USD price point. The GeForce GTX 465 will position itself in the most affordable graphics card segmented in lower spectrum of the high-end range. As such it will be targeted against the Radeon HD 5830 and should sit in-between that product and the Radeon HD 5850.

This product is based on the 40nm GF100 GPU, yet to be more affordable it has less shader processors at it's disposal (helps with poorer yields) and the memory configuration is now brought down towards 1024 MB (gDDR5). This all means that several other shader cluster inside that GPU have been disabled, on a card that looks surprisingly similar to the GeForce GTX 470.

The product tested today originates from Point of View, they submitted two of the cards which we'll test in-depth to see where they position themselves, not only in a single GPU configuration, but also multi-GPU with the two cards setup in SLI mode.

Will thermals be better, will the noise levels stay within normal limits ? Well, you are here to find all that out. Have a peek at what is introduced today at the start of the Computex 2010 exhibition in Taiwan, the all new GeForce GTX 465


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Posted by ralfowen

Chances are pretty good that you have just read our ATI Radeon HD 4890 1024MB review, as well... ATI has something new to offer for you guys in a 270 USD price level segment. Obviously, as expected, NVIDIA was awaiting that release and on the very same day decided to launch a new product onto the market as well. The product is the one you guys obviously heard about for a while now, the GeForce GTX 275.

Positioned slightly cheaper compared to the new ATI product, NVIDIA launches the GeForce GTX 275 as a reaction to show and flex their rendering muscle. Now I know that some of you guys might think otherwise, but trust me when I say, this is a really interesting move from NVIDIA as there is a trick or two going on this new GeForce GTX 275.

First of all it's using the very same 55nm GPU as the GeForce GTX 285, with the full 240 Shader processors. With that in mind try to imagine the GeForce GTX 285 with the memory configuration of a GeForce GTX 260, 896 MB 448-bit...  and there you have your GTX 275.

Now here's the really interesting thing. The GTX 275 cards are clocked fairly high on the core and shader domains (compared to the GTX 260), making this product very fast. In fact it will even come close to the GTX 285, yet at a significantly lower price, that price being 249 USD or 239 EUR.

So all in all this is definitely stuff interesting enough to check out we say! This article will go over the reference model GeForce GTX 275, armed with 896MB of memory. We'll take it head to head against ATI's latest offering, the Radeon HD 4890, and will see what the GTX 275 brings to the table in terms of value for that hard earned commodity of ours, money.

Have a peek at the actual product below, and then we'll dive into an overview, specifications and well... all other tests. Grab some coffee,

GeForce GTX 275 shootout BFG | Inno3D | Palit | Sparkle


A week or two ago NVIDIA announced it's latest graphics card positioned in the high-end region, called the GeForce GTX 275. The GeForce GTX 275 is a bit of a hybrid card in-between the GeForce GTX 260 and GeForce GTX 285.

The card is positioned directly against the new ATI Radeon HD 4890, yet is slightly cheaper. NVIDIA launched the GeForce GTX 275 in an allergic reaction to team red's product to show and flex their rendering muscle. Now I know that some of you guys might frown a little about this GTX 275 release, but trust me when I say, this is a really interesting move.

The GeForce GTX 275 has the very same graphics processor as that GTX 285, yet the memory configuration of the GTX 260 (896 MB). Fitted on a new PCB and armed with a dandy cooler NVIDIA did another thing, they lowered prices significantly.

The GTX 275 is a card that is being introduced at a 239~249 USD price level. And though features and performance wise the product is not exactly the reinvention of the wheel, it definitely is a massive load of performance at a very fair price. At the time of writing this article it's two weeks after the launch and the first retail products are now hitting the stores in reasonable volume.

As such we figured to cease the moment and show you a couple of retail boards. For this article, a total of five GeForce GTX 275 graphics cards will be put to the test. We take the NVIDIA reference sample, two reference clocked products and two pre-overclocked products to see where we are at in terms of performance, cooling and features among the difference AIB/AIC partners.

We'll take the BFG GTX 275 OC edition, the Inno3D Overclock editions GTX 275, the Palit GTX 275 with custom cooling and the all reference based yet blue'ish colored GeForce GTX 275 from Sparkle.

We'll compare each AIB card at it's default clocks and compare it to the reference model. Of course, you are on guru3D.com .. we'll also overclock all cards tested today to investigate and observe what the limit of each product really is. First we start off with a quick introduction of the GTX 275, the differences, the new, and the not so new ....


GeForce GTX 275 Overclock

So you picked up this GeForce GTX 275 for 229 EUR, a card full of livelihood, performance and bang for buck. But heck, you are guru ... you want more. And of course that is possible. Very soon you will see overclocked models of the GeForce GTX 275 released by many board partners. These pre-overclocked models will be roughly clocked at 650MHz core, 1475MHz on the shader domain and 1200MHz (x2) on the 896MB GDDR3 memory. With the exception from BFG (OCX) and eVGA (SSC) of course, which will go even higher.

But why not do this yourself ? Overclocking is a relatively easy thing to do if you follow some basic guidelines.

Overclocking can be managed in many ways, through the NVIDIA control panel center or third party software. In this article we'll show you how you can overclock the easy way, with the help of Rivatuner.

This article is really simple as all we'll show you is, how to manage this .. and of course throw in a couple of additional benchmarks. See this as an easy overclocking guide, which is a series we'll start more and more with newer graphics cards.

What is overclocking ? Your graphics card has clock generators that allow several 'domains' on your graphics card to be clocked faster. In current days there often is a lot of overclocking headroom. Because not only does a product need to have a safety tolerance, pre-overclocked graphics cards actually became a market to sell in.

The GeForce series has 3 domains we can play around with and try to clock faster. The core (ROP) domain, the shader processors domain and the graphics memory. Clocking these domains faster (MHz) often can result in performance increases of 5 to 10%. And in the land of graphics, that's the difference between fast and furious..

In our vision, the best tool for overclocking NVIDIA and ATI videocards is Rivatuner that you can download here at Guru3D.com, we actually make this software, we know what we are doing.

So what are we doing today? :
Overclocking: By increasing the frequency of the videocard's memory and GPU, we can make the videocard increase its compute clock cycles per second. It sounds hard, but it really can be done in less than a few minutes. I always tend to recommend to novice users and beginners not to increase the frequency any higher then 5% (in total) of the core and memory clock MHz. But heck, just read our guide here and see for yourself.

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Posted by ralfowen
Product: GeForce GTS 250 1024MB
Manufacturer: ECS Elitegroup
SKU code: -
Information: ECS
Street price: 159 USD

A couple of weeks ago NVIDIA made some small modification to it's mid-range line-up, in specific their GeForce 9800 GTX+ product. These design changes are related to PCB board design, power efficiency and bringing the overall cost of the product down. As a result the GeForce 9800 GTX+ had what you can call an extreme makeover. Same features, same performance .. yet less power consumption and NVIDIA was able to shave off roughly 25%~35% of the sales price, bringing the GeForce 9800 GTX+ from just over 200 USD, towards sub 150 USD. And that's not all, as at 150 USD you can even purchase models with 1024MB of videocard memory. Combined with proper, raw graphics power this will help you a little in the higher resolutions, DirectX 10 games and performance wise with higher anti-aliasing selections. All that is now labeled under the new product name, GeForce GTS 250.

This is already our 3rd or 4th GeForceGTS 250 review, and though most of you are shouting, 'dude, this is a respin product!' .. I can merely do anything else than confirm that, yes it's a tranny GeForce 9800 GTX+,  but that product all by itself under 150 USD is offering fine performance for the money you need to put down on that counter. As such we try to bring you at the very least a couple of reviews on the GTS 250 product as it really is an interesting positioned and performing graphics card.

Today the turn goes to the folks at ECS. Ever since the last year or two, they have been trying hard to get a grip in the e-tail and retail channel, and as a brand they are certainly growing. With a creative product design and marketing team they present us some fairly special designs and concepts. Today's product tested is not at all different. Though we'll stumble into a reference clocked product, there is very little little reference otherwise.

Inno3D GTS 250 TwinTurbo Pro

Inno3D has an iChill line of products for enthusiasts and gamers who want top-notch performance and better cooling solutions. As such they are  incorporating aftermarket coolers from the likes of Arctic Cooling, Zalman and Zerotherm. Today's tested product is a good example of that, the iChill GeForce GTS 250 that uses an all new Arctic Cooling Twin Turbo Pro cooler to provide excellent cooling at reduced sound levels.

So a little while ago, roughly end of March, NVIDIA made some small modification to it's mid-range line-up, in specific their GeForce 9800 GTX+ product was repositioned. The design changes NVIDIA enforced where related to PCB board design, overall power efficiency and bringing the overall cost of the product down. As a result the GeForce 9800 GTX+ had what you can call an extreme makeover. Same features, same performance .. yet less power consumption and NVIDIA was able to shave off roughly 25%~35% of the sales price, bringing the GeForce 9800 GTX+ from just over 200 USD, towards sub 150 USD. The good thing is that memory prices went down as well, for 150 USD you can even purchase models with 1024MB of videocard memory. Combined with proper, raw graphics power this could help you a little in the higher resolutions, DirectX 10 games and performance wise with higher anti-aliasing selections. But sure, the GeForce 9800 GTX+ was relabeled under the new product name, GeForce GTS 250.

The Inno3D iChill card we test today has that G92 GPU clocked at 756 MHz, and GDDR3 memory clocked at 2200 MHz. Next to that the card is packed with 1 GB of memory, a tiny bit pre-overclocked and comes with a wicked cooler from Arctic Cooling as it comes with twin 92mm low-noise fans on the four-heatpipe cooler which offers over 80 percent greater cooling surface area when compared to the stock cooler. The advanced cooling solution on the iChill Accelero brings down temperatures 23C and reduces noise levels from 3.4 Sone to 0.4 Sone.

The reduced temperatures also result in more stable performance and should give you more headroom when overclocking the card.

But will the product be able to keep up with Guru3D's pace in testing? Let's find out and startup a review on the Inno3D GeForce GTS 250 TwinTurbo Pro edition graphics card. Have a peek at the photo


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Posted by ralfowen
Product: GeForce GTX 295 H2OC Limited Edition
Manufacturer: BFG
Information: website
Street price: 400 USD

Aah yes, the pimp daddy of graphics BFG is at it again. Controversy at its best! What we often lament in the industry is the lack of companies doing something special with their mid-range and high-end products, but BFG always kicks back in with a little surprise. They have very nice OC products and then there's that ThermoIntelligence line of products that always brings a little `love´ to the product release.

This time around BFG did their magic again and teamed up with the guys and gals from CoolIT systems, a company designing sometimes awkward yet always interesting cooling products. As such BFG released two products based on CoolIT's cooling; the BFG GeForce GTX 295 H2OC (limited edition) and BFG GeForce GTX 285 H2O+.

Both cards feature (and here we go for the longest marketing phrase in history) `ThermoIntelligence Advanced Cooling Solutions´ which for this series simply boils down to this: a self-contained liquid-cooling loop. Hey, do you guys remember the CoolIT Domino ALC unit we tested? That was a self-contained liquid cooling solution for processors. When we tested it, we definitely liked it. Reasonable performance, great looks and it was easy to install.

What BFG and CoolIT have designed here is very much the same, they applied the very same basic technology behind that Domino ALC to the majestic GeForce GTX 295 we are testing today. So to be clear here... that's a self-contained easy to install liquid cooling solution preinstalled onto the GeForce GTX 295, filled with coolant and everything; this kit has a 120mm fan, radiator, pump, graphics card cooling block, tubing and reservoir all ready to be inserted into the PC for some tender love and care in your gaming experience.

But hey now (!) BFG upped the ante a little more. They clocked this GeForce GTX 295 MUCH faster than the reference model you can purchase in the stores. So this GTX 295 sports 1,792MB of GDDR3 memory - features core, shader and memory clock speeds of 675MHz (up from 576MHz), 1,458MHz (up from 1,242MHz) and 2,214MHz (up from 1,998MHz), respectively, making the BFG GeForce GTX 295 H2OC the fastest graphics card we have ever had in our lab...

Definitely cybernetic e-peen substance! And as such we just had to test a unit out. Ladies and gents let me show you the product, after which we'll dive into the review. We'll obviously cover all the basics of the GTX 295, look at its architecture, we'll do a nice photo-shoot and obviously some steamy performance tests that will get your groove on.

Gents, let me introduce you to... the BFG GeForce GTX 295 H2OC LE, it's full name really is GTX 295 H2OC ThermoIntelligence Advanced Cooling Solutions Limited Editon, but we'll cut that name down a little if you do not mind. It's the stuff that makes you smile, it's the stuff that belongs in the x-factor high-end market, yeah it's Guru3D style gear. Have a peek and then head on over to the next page please.


Inno3D GeForce GTX295 iChill liquid cooled review


Ah yes .. customized graphics cards, altered cooling solutions  .. you know, I'm such a sucker for nice looking liquid cooled gear.

So every now and then, from that baseline of enthusiast hardware and gaming, we see a product that is just cool. And often, such products make no sense when we talk about the matters of money -- no Sir. It's the dark side of the hardware industry, the extravagant... the excessive 'top' gear.

Now if you want something beastly in your PC -- here's a thought, Inno3D has released GeForce GTX 295 iChill. This card has a single GTX 295 PCB with a shiny cute single-slot waterblock. The product name will be Inno3D GeForce GTX 295 iChill Black Series and it's going to be one exclusive product to find in the stores I'm afraid, but we managed to get a sample into our lab.

And sure, though we know everything there already is to know about the GeForce GTX 295, this one is all about the x-factor, a product that is extraordinary and just looks downright cool. The Inno3D GeForce GTX295 iChill graphics card comes with a liquid cooling block pre-equipped on the board PCB, and that cooling block we'll try an show you in-depth .. it's shiny, it's reflective and just downright cool to look at.

We almost skipped over the fact that the GeForce GTX295 iChill edition comes pre-overclocked and is stuffed with a sweet game-bundle that will make your ears wiggle a little bit, it's a product that in most scenario's is faster than a Radeon HD 5870 because the GTX 295 packs 480 Processing Cores has 1792MB of GDDR3 memory and has its clock frequencies set on 600 MHz on the graphics core, 1242 MHz on the shader domain and 2160 MHz on the memory.

Go have a first peek at the product, after which we'll happily add this card to a liquid cooling loop and check her out in-depth. Next page please.



 GeForce GTX 295 single PCB


GeForce GTX 295 single PCB version. Man, NVIDIA sometimes works in mysterious ways. We've all been hearing about this product for a long time now yet at the threshold of its actual release... everything remains quiet on the side of team green.

There are of course reasons behind that choice (to remain silent) and allow me to explain. The new 'updated' version of the GeForce GTX 295 based on a single PCB is exactly that... an update. Nothing new is to be found on the product when it comes to clocks, thermals, power consumption and so on

So why is this product replacing the dual-PCB version of the GTX 295 series then you ask? Well the answer is simple; cost control. The dual-PCB versions are being sold with little to no profit at all. And that's just not healthy business for any company.

The demand of the GeForce GTX 295 product is higher than originally anticipated as well. I mean face it, the GTX 295 series graphics cards just offer astounding performance for the money you need to lay down on that counter. So NVIDIA had to come up with a different approach, cut some costs on board design and re-launch it. In a nutshell this is what the GeForce GTX 295 single PCB is all about, a revised version of that 'old' product. And the rest is just all the same. Same power consumption, same thermals, same performance... same price. The inside of the product however, is completely overhauled. Chip Foose couldn't have done it any better.

Of course here at Guru3D we test everything and anything with a GPU slapped on it, and I know you guys have been wondering about this single PCB product for a while now. As such I decided to make a priority out of it. After talking with NVIDIA earlier this week, we got a green light to post a review. We teamed up with the fellas & bro's at Point of View who submitted a board and therefore today you'll be able to read all about this beast of a graphics card.

Have a look at the photo below and let me introduce to you... the GeForce GTX 295 single PCB version.

We'll take it through the complete paces of our review test suite and policy. We'll show you all the ins and outs and we'll be sure to satisfy your hunger, curiosity and intellectual needs. Next page please, where we'll start up the review.


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Posted by ralfowen

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 260 (SP216) SO

Honestly .. seriously honestly I did not expect to review any more GeForce GTX 260 cards after the incredible amount of reviews we already posted on them in the past year or so. But NVIDIA is very late to the market with their upcoming DX11 class products and as such the NVIDIA board and card partners are drastically looking at ways to keep selling and refreshing the current lineup. One of the things that is receiving a lot of attention these days are overclocking, overclock competitions and products based on that theme -- as such Gigabyte technology is releasing their SO series of graphics cards, short for Super Overclocked.

Today we'll test their all new GeForce GTX 260 (SP216) SO -- it comes with an Ultra durable design (long-lasting components) and as the title already suggests .. a pretty  nice overclock -- making this product faster than say a GeForce GTX 275.

According to Gigabyte each GPU for this graphics card is cherry-picked for top performance, power efficiency and reliability using something that Gigabyte calls GPU Gantlet Sorting Process. Using advanced technical selection with combined with Ultra Durable VGA boards these boards should be top of the line.

Inno3D GeForce GTX 260 iChill Accelero XXX review | test


Product: GeForce GTX 260 iChill Accelero XXX
Manufacturer: Inno3D - iChill edition SP216
SKU code: C2603X-M5LTCDS
Information: Inno3D
Street price: $200

One of the companies out there in that big hardware market involved in cooling solutions is Arctic cooling. Personally I consider them to be in the top three of cooling manufacturers, ranking with names such as Zalman.

It is for that reason that we always get a little thrilled once we hear them announce new products. A week or two ago they announced two new VGA coolers. Among them a new Accelero XTREME GTX cooler, designated for the nVIDIA GeForce GTX 260/280/285.

Main features

  • Extreme cooling performance - up to 250 Watts
  • 3 ultra quiet 92mm PWM fans with low noise impeller
  • Efficient heat dissipation via 5 heatpipes
  • Patented fan holder eliminates the buzzing sounds
  • RAM and voltage regulator cooling
  • Pre-applied MX-2
  • SLI compatible

The Accelero XTREME GTX coolers are equipped with no less than three 92mm PWM fans that run from 1,000 to 2,000 RPM. Together with five heatpipes, the Accelero XTREME GTX 280 achieves 250 Watt cooling capacity. And that's roughly 31°C lower than NVIDIA's reference cooler. Interesting eh ?

Then another favorite company of mine is Inno3D. This Asian company certainly has shown muscle and innovation when it comes to graphics cards over the past few years. Often they surprise me with original products. And that's just so good, to be original and diversify yourself in this market. So when two of my favorite companies combine forces ..  the outcome just can not disappoint.

Inno3D released a GeForce GTX 260 iChill edition with AC Accelero GTX cooler. The product will be available in really small volume, but in advance .. if you are into this ... run to the stores now.

The card is the SP216 version, an updated 55nm GPU based GeForce GTX 260. The 216SP versions, obviously referring to the 216 shader processors that are active and crunching data for you in that GPU, which is 24 shader processors more than the regular GTX 260.

The card has a 620Mz for the core clock frequency and 2,100MHz on the memory. Despite the mammoth looks and size of this cooling solution, we were so impressed. Anyway, have a peek at the product and then browse onward to the next page where we'll startup the review.



Six Top 10 games with GeForce GTX 260 Core 216

Christmas is coming up and the entire VGA pricing model typically shifts a little prior to it. Two products that I personally can recommend very much for that wish list or under that Christmas tree are both the Radeon HD 4870 1024MB and the GeForce GTX 260 (Core 216 preferably). I both like these graphics rendering goblins as they are both located in an affordable price range, both have a lot of raw rendering power and both have a lot of memory, something that is becoming increasingly important with DirectX 10 games as we noticed often lately.

So over the past couple of weeks some interesting stuff has happened really, the Radeon dropped in price and can now be found for as little as 269 USD. NVIDIA a while ago also dropped their pricing model and the GTX 260 Core 216 version is also below 300 USD but... a little birdie told me that prices on this card are going to drop this week as well, maybe even below that Radeon HD 4870 1024MB. yeah, it would be a head on head attack from NVIDIA against ATI.

And granted, the history is pretty interesting when you follow this kind of stuff. Let's place the two products in a little historical perspective:

  • NVIDIA released GeForce GTX 260
  • ATI Released the 4870 512MB
  • NVIDIA dropped pricing model
  • Then NVIDIA answered with the GTX 260 Core 216
  • ATI answered with a 1024 MB model of the 4870
  • NVIDIA now answers with pricing model, big bang drivers and "old" GTX 260 going EOL.

As you can notice, there's a bit of a skirmish going on between the two companies. This week NVIDIA is launching another driver in their Big Bang series, which might be considered as a small innuendo towards pr0n for geeks I guess. The interesting part is that the driver, next to the recently added PhysX features and Multi-monitor SLI gaming options, offers a pretty good performance increase.

Now the tale goes like this; when the GTX 260 core 216 was released, we got a phone call from ATI, asking if we'd like to do an article on the Radeon HD 4870 1024 MB comparing it with the GTX 260 C216. And sure, why not.  Then with the new driver being released this week, we got a phone call from NVIDIA, asking if we would like to do such a direct comparison article. And we figured... sure, that's fair enough. More power to consumers... wooooah.

There is however going to be one difference from Guru3D's side, I want only the absolutely newest gaming titles in the test, and we need them to be top 10 title games. Where possible we'll flick on the high image quality settings, DX10, 4x AA and high anisotropic filtering. Now since we do not want to be CPU limited whatsoever we'll be testing on the new Core i7 965 @ 3750 MHz / X58 platform.

So the games we'll be using are the following six top 10 titles:

  • Far Cry 2
  • Dead Space
  • Fallout 3
  • Call of Duty 5: World at War
  • Crysis WARHEAD
  • Brothers in Arms Hell's Highway

So yes, that's six games as we decided to throw in another title at the last moment that you can find in the most top 10 PC charts lists at this very moment. The rules are simple, each card will be configured exactly the same... each game will be configured exactly the same, our test system... is configured exactly the same. All in all it's crunch time, mano el mano... let's the games commence.

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Posted by ralfowen

The release of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480 series graphics cards certainly has not been a rather smooth one. Though the performance and features are there two things backfired at NVIDIA, heat and noise levels.

What many people still do not know is that the media tested with reference engineering samples. The final retail samples have been tweaked a little. And sure, while  they are still noisy and warm, things have gotten a notch better alright. Today's review on Zotac's GeForce GTX 480 for example did not peak over 88 degrees C when completely stressed. Long story short, today is the start of several GTX 480 reviews we have lined up for the weeks to come. Now and in the near future we'll test boards from Zotac, ASUS but also have liquid cooled boards inbound from Inno3D and eVGA which apparently appeals to many of you.

Today we start off with Zotac, a company that has been quite active in the USA, EU and recently in Australia as well. We start off the review with the standard skinny on technology, we'll get you up-to-date on all the reference and official specifications and features of the new cards.

Before browsing to the next page let's have a peek at what is releases from the Zotac grotto, the all new GeForce GTX 480, which is set to deliver a knockout in single-GPU performance.

Have a peek at the green goblin we review today, and then head on over to the next page where we'll start up this review


GeForce GTX 480 4-way SLI review

You know, a couple of weeks ago I started to get the Guru itch, it happens so often really. In this case, the itch to achieve something remarkable with hardware. Reaching that x-factor with cool gear. Right at that time NVIDIA released a new driver for the GeForce GTX 480 cards, that new driver supports 4-way SLI on just one title ... 3DMark Vantage.

And as silly as it really is, it intrigued me. You know, the fastest multi-GPU setup I created last year achieved a 26449 mark (P score 3Dmark Vantage). Now with the recent refresh of the X58 motherboards, the all new Core i7 980X processor and the GeForce GTX 480 slowly becoming available we figured, frack it ... go for it. Create an uber-PC worthy of breaking that personal 3DMark Vantage score of mine.

Oh my, that was easier said than done. First order of business, contact NVIDIA. We needed more GTX 480 cards, helps us! So after a few calls, we had in house the reference GTX 480, two GTX 480 cards from Point of View and a week later, Zotac jumped in as well and send out their GeForce GTX 480 as well. So the four cards needed are in.

Meanwhile I requested to Intel to get the Core i7 980 Extreme shipped back for this uber-tweaking project. To create the infrastructure needed for Quad SLI we however made one monumental mistake, we picked the wrong motherboard.

See, to bypass CPU bottlenecks and really move forward in the Vantage score we'd had to overclock the processor on a very capable motherboard. Right after reviewing it we picked up the ASUS Rampage III Extreme. Once we started building this rig, during unboxing we realized .. for quad-SLI with four graphics card we'd need a 4-way SLI bridge. ASUS does not deliver that bridge with their motherboards, somewhat puzzled, that should have been our first hint.

We contacted some AIBs for that bridge to no avail, we contacted NVIDIA to no avail as they actually discouraged this article as Quad SLI with four cards really was only intended for the hardcore overclocking scene versus 3DMark Vantage scores. Considering that's exactly what we are after we then pushed forward.

eVGA Europe was kind enough to send out the 4-way SLI bridge. Meanwhile eVGA USA got back with a curiosity, they sincerely doubted that 4-way SLI would even work with the ASUS R3E as it has no additional NVIDIA NF200 ICs embedded on the motherboard, according to eVGA the motherboard would need 2x NF200 to support 4-way SLI.

GeForce GTX 480 liquid cooling Danger Den review

The GeForce GTX 480 is a hot card in both performance but unfortunately also temperatures, that is not exactly a secret. It's been haunting the product ever since its release.

Here at Guru3D we've continuously been stating that the true aficionados will opt for water-cooling for this product, and we always put our money where our mouth is, thus had to bring you at least one review on a liquid-cooled GeForce GTX 480. Now if you want something beastly in your PC -- this will be it man.

So today we'll liquid cool a GeForce GTX 480. We'll be testing what temperatures we can reach but also look at the more advanced stuff, how well the card would overclock with the much improved temperatures. And does that whale of a reference cooler consume a lot of power? E.g. will the overall TDP of the graphics card go down or up when we add it to a water-cooling loop?

All these questions will be answered in today's article. The folks at Danger Den shipped out their most shiny nickel plated GTX 480 cooling block, and we will put that to the test. We'll have a look at the product, the installation, temperatures before and after, we'll overclock ad yea... thus look at power consumption as well.



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Posted by ralfowen