BFG GeForce GTX 295 H20 review (water cooling)
Posted by Hilbert Hagedoorn on: 02/17/2009 02:00 PM [ 0 comment(s) ]
So how did you like that huh? I really want to make a whipping noise here... woottsh. Gosh I am such a total indisputable whore when it comes to gear like this. Well, that describes the product as tested today, for me that is. But for real, this of course is meant for the really enthusiast hardware aficionados aka gurus out there who are willing to drop some serious cash on a product like this.
Yes... it's expensive. 729 USD... and that's 229 USD above regular GTX 295 pricing. But if you were planning to go liquid cooled, here's why I think that money is worth spending on this little dual-core fellah.
See, this DD cooling block for the GTX 295 will cost you 190 bucks alone (according to the Danger Den website). Then you have to disassemble the GTX 295. Chances that you'll damage it... are reasonably high. We dismantled it... and didn't like the experience, no Sir.
BFG will assemble the entire card for you, quality thermal paste is applied on the memory chips and GPU. This is all done without the risk of dropping your warranty. That's worth the premium price right there. The fact that BFG tops their graphics cards off with a lifetime warranty, to me makes the deal golden. Also, we are looking at a high quality build and assembly here. Fitting the liquid cooling block is intricate manual labor, and that isn't cheap. It's a choice you have to make though.
You receive a pre-equipped kit with everything included, like barbs for 3/8" and 1/2" inch tubing, clamps and then some extras: a game discount coupon, HDMI cable, power converter cables etc..
With a premium product like this, why would this card not be overclocked already you might ask? Well, for whatever supernatural (I love using superlatives) reason, NVIDIA does not allow it. BFG however does not rule out that NVIDIA's take on this might change, and when they can, they will start overclocking it, likely labeling the product then as H2OC.
Until then, you can just grab Rivatuner and complement that water-cooling experience with your own manual overclock. Surely with some proper cooling you can can clock the GPUs much higher. Your core frequency will be hovering at 650-700 MHz. Your shader domain at 1500 maybe 1600, and for the memory 2500 to 2650 MHz is very viable and realistic. The result is a product running even faster than it already is. Overall temperature will be dependant on your room temperature and obviously your water-cooling kit. We used a fairly normal liquid-cooling kit, dual-radiator, 120mm fans (two) and the results were dazzling. Idling below 40 Degrees C, and we never topped 50 Degrees C with the GPUs stressed. Excellent stuff.
The GTX 295 in general then, specifically game performance. Did you have a peek at our Far Cry 2 benchmark test? That really is staggering performance isn't it? Remember we applied 8x AA and 16x AF, very high texture quality etc. etc.. The same applies to other hot titles like Call of Duty World at War and all the others. You will not have to sacrifice on image quality settings and you can game at the highest resolutions. But that is of course expected for an enthusiast grade product like offered here.
Also, and I do have to mention this, the GTX 295 is a graphics card for users with a high resolution monitor. The overall performance benefit really starts to kick in after roughly 1920x1200, a resolution where more and more pixels need to be rendered and where GPU limitation normally kicks in pretty fast.
So keep in mind that cards like these really start to show off at the higher resolutions. With so many shader (stream) processors onboard the GTX 295, PhysX is a breeze to compute as well. All these extras accumulated deliver a powerful gaming experience with a lot of punch. The same with CUDA, last week I installed CoreAVC, and my movies are now hardware accelerated through CUDA. The processor is doing close to nothing, the GPU takes over really efficiently when playing back high-definition content. This is something we are going to experience more and more, utilizing the GPU for tasks other than gaming.
Back to BFG's H2O though.
Certainly liquid-cooling is not everybody's cup of tea. I'm however a fan, and aficionado. It is really expensive, and you will need to get your gear right. Just make sure you do not go cheap on the liquid-cooling infrastructure. Make sure you have good setup going. The return is a nearly inaudible highly effective cooling solution. Throw in some cold cathode UV lights, UV reflective coolant and tubing, and you will have an experience that will last you years. It's the stuff for true enthusiast gurus, the gurus with balls of steel, a phat wallet, the blokes, the fellahs, yeah... you.
Pricing left out of the equation, we loved the entire experience from gaming to installation to just sheer looks. With the release of the GTX H2O edition graphics card BFG brings a fine piece of machinery to the table. Without doubt, a top pick to consider.
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BFG have worked their magic again and teamed up with the guys and gals from CoolLIT systems, a company designing sometimes awkward yet always interesting cooling products. As such BFG released two products based on CoolIT's cooling; here at Guru3D we will test and review the BFG GeForce GTX 295 H2OC (limited edition), 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.
BFG GeForce GTX 295 H20 review (water cooling)
BFG is the first to bring a liquid-cooled GeForce GTX 295 to the market. As extravagant liquid cooling a GeForce GTX 295 really is, the end results in cooling performance, gaming performance and the incredible aesthetics a product like this offers is extraordinary. So in this article we'll chat a little about the GTX 295 technology, then have a look at BFG's bundle, a really extensive photo-shoot, look at performance with the hottest games available, overclock it until it nearly dies... and then sum it all up in our verdict.
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