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

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