opping our tables, the dual-GPU GTX 295 continues exactly where the 9800 GX2 left off. The change in naming convention is with good reason - the GTX 295 has no GT200 counterpart, instead using a pair of custom GT200 GPUs that individually fall somewhere between the GTX 260 and the GTX 280. For once, however, the entire line has numbers that reflect relative performance.
The GTX 295 is built around same GPU sandwich design as the 9800 GX2, but Nvidia has cleaned up some of that card's shortcomings. The 55nm process generates significantly less heat, and an improved cooling solution means that the overall temperature was 10-20ºC lower in our testing - ranging from 55 while idle to 78 under load.
With two DVI-D and one HDMI connector, the GTX 295 can comfortably drive three monitors simultaneously using the latest Nvidia drivers.
Also on the card are one green and one blue LED. The green LED indicates whether enough power is supplied, and can be useful to diagnose issues during setup. The blue LED seems entirely decorative.
Inside, the GTX 295 drives an impressive 1792MB of GDDR3 - effectively 896MB because of data duplication for each GPU. Clock speeds of 576MHz, 1242MHz and 999MHz for the core, shaders and memory are identical to the 216-core revision of the GTX 260 rather than the GTX 280 or 285, which combined with the cooler temperatures suggests potential for overclocking, and further revisions of the design.
Performance is where the GTX 295 truly shines, however. It easily sits at the top of our charts in every respect. In Crysis, for example, the GTX 295 scored a phenomenal 61fps with High settings and 40fps at Very High settings.
Our other benchmarks yielded similar results, with an impressive average of 32fps in maximum-detail Call of Juarez - a full 14fps faster than the GTX 280, though it's still not as zippy as the 4870 X2.
The price gives pause for thought, however. At a staggering typical price of $863, the new adopters' premium is definitely alive and well. Given that two 216-core GTX 260s can be had for less, we can't recommend it despite the performance gains.