26 Apr 2009
In this post I'll be showing you the XFX GTX280 graphics card, and my annoying installation of it =P Here it is, bundled with HALBERD in the Thermaltake Armour:
The box is big, though not as large as my Asus HD4850 boxes. Inside, the card is well protected, with its antistatic bag, and tons of foam padding:
This is a great display by XFX - knowing that Joe Postman may just have to violently brake, with your new graphics card in the back of the van. The graphic work on the card is a big display of green and black and has that 'I'm a powerful graphics card' feel.
The fan on the card is a novel design to me. I've never seen a fan like this before - but given the size of the card, some serious cooling would need to be in order:
From the following picture, we see the GTX280 requires 1x6pin and 1x8pin power supply:
The back of the graphics card is also incased with this green and black metallic monster casing, however we see some ventilation fins and a red PCB showing through:
The SLI connectors are protected by a rubber seal, which easily comes off allowing you to fit 4 in Quad-SLI if you have the appropriate motherboard and power supplies:
Just to demonstrate the sheer size of this card, here it is alongside a regular consumer graphics card, the HD4670. The GTX280 is 10.5 inches (26.64 cm) long, and I'm sure weighs the best part of 2lbs (0.8kg).
Installation into my case arose some problems. One, this card is huge, and takes over a little section of my SATA ports, thus I had to take out two SATA cables. Second, my case uses a novel screwless system for sticking the cards in:
This purple/green combination is great for single slot cards, and the 4850s, because the 4850s have a little notch between slot1 and slot2. However, the GTX280 has essentially a solid bit of metal, and I had to remove the screwless design to even fit it in:
As you can see, this card is longer than the standard ATX motherboard! Thus be forwarned if you have a small case. This card is heavy and bulky, but looks awesome:
You may think, especially with the 4670 size comparison, why a card should need such a powerful heatsink and cooler? Well now we come to the overclocking.
The standard speed of this card was 605Mhz core, 1107 Mhz memory, 1300Mhz on the shaders. Without too much hassle, I was able to push this using RivaTuner to 740Mhz/1300Mhz/1596Mhz, and now runs at 70°C on full pelt.
So how about the benchmarks?
The system used for this bench was essentially the now souped up HALBERD:
CPU: E6400 (2.13Ghz) @ 3.24Ghz
GFX: GTX280 (605/1107) @ 740/1300
RAM: 4GB DDR2 OCZ Gold (1066Mhz) @ 810Mhz 5-5-6-15
HDD: WD Raptor 150GB
Mobo: MSI Platinum PowerUp!
Drivers: Forceware 182.50
Aquamark 3d: 170979
3D Mark 01: 56390
3D Mark 03: 57485
3D Mark 05: 19729
3D Mark 06: 14593
What are benchmarks without a comparison? Well, most people at HWbot use an E8600 (3.33Ghz) chip to do their benchmarks, which I'd love to have. And the GTX280 is a relatively popular card. Thus I don't really feature highly on the tables. Yet, I'll compare my other graphics card setups to this, make some pretty graphs.
Overall though, it looks nice and feels solid, and overclocks well. However, for £340, and the fact that a pair of HD4850s in Crossfire would/should work better, you can't really justify the cost.