So before we begin rounding up this shootout I just want to very clearly state that there is no such thing as a winner or a loser in this shootout. For each and every product tested there is something to say. I mean, the Inno3D product might have a fine bundle and overclock, but surely it'll be more expensive due these factors as well. On the other side of the scope, the Sparkle product had the smallest bundle and everything was reference based ... with that in mind, it might be the cheapest product. Please understand that for each and any of the brands inserted in this shootout there is a good and viable product position in the stores.
In general, there's very little negative about the GeForce GTX 275 really, you get the best from both worlds. The fastest NVIDIA GPU on the globe, combined with slightly less, yet heaps of memory, saving on the price tag big-time. The GeForce GTX 275 is a very attractive card to purchase. You have the full 240 Shader processors at your disposal helping you out when that extra little bite is needed.
You get to play with high-end graphics performance and quality, at a slightly above mid-range price, and that's great in my book. Of course next to gaming there's more to consider. You will have full support for PhysX and other 3rd party software. Right now there's a handful of applications out there that will utilize the GPU to help out with other functions. Acceleration, enhancing or en/transcoding of video files is probably the more popular functionality, but also Photoshop CS4 recently got CUDA accelerated and helps out in some parts where the CPU struggled. It's a nice development.
Let's walk through the products tested today, again in alphabetical order:
The BFG GeForce GTX 275 is a majestic product. You will find this product at normal e-tail prices, but you'll receive some extra's. The extra's can be found in the standard faster clock speeds, and though for the OC edition these are petit overclocks, every little bit helps.
Where BFG hit's the sweet spot is of course their after-sales. A life-time warranty in the US and 10 years outside the US, that will always be golden in my book and is something hard to beat. Of course BFG will also offer say .. an OCX model, that one will be more expensive. A word of advise here, keep an eye out for GTX 285 pricing as well, they will drop in price and the GTX 275 is merely 10% away from that cards performance level. Once the 'expensive' overclocked model reach GTX 285 pricing, you should be on the lookout for that GTX 285 instead.
So with the BFG GeForce GTX 275 OC edition card, you'll have slightly above reference performance at a standard price. I loved the fact that BFG uses a black PCB. Also its overclock and tweakability wheren't rather shy either. A top notch product really, and well -- it was built for gamers of course.
Next stop, Inno3D -- Inno3D today completely surprised me as they offered the fastest product, the most overclockable product and topped it all off with a decent bundle as well. This product offering will surely be 25-20 USD more expensive in the stores as the OVERCLOCK edition needs to be pre-tested and qualified. At these clocks, yields can only be fairly low, making the selection processes expensive.
The end-result is really good, the card is something very special. Also its overclock ability was just really extreme; this card can be pushed very far ... much further than the default overclock. Inno3D will top it off with a 2 year warranty and the product comes with two games bundled for free. The one tiny diminutive things I like to see changed is PCB color .. how cool would this card have looked with a black PCB ?
Anyway, in short .. with the Inno3D GeForce GTX 275 everything is just right. As such this is a great product, depending on final pricing of course.
Palit GeForce GTX 275 -- Palit would not be Palit if they did something funky with the design. I mean, these crazy folks have a frog on their box for crying out loud, nuff said there :) We like diversity alright and so do they. As such the Palit GeForce GTX 275 comes completely customized.
The PCB is non-reference, it's colored red and then of course that cooler ... it's the same model used on their GTX 260 models as well. Unfortunately, cooling wise it did not bring an advantage over the reference coolers from NVIDIA. In fact the temperatures were even slightly higher, and that's a bit unfortunate really. It was however the most silent product tested today and there's much to be said for that as well.
The reference coolers might cool a degree or 2-3 better, but in hefty gaming, they can be heard alright which is not something you can say from Palit's heatpipe cooler. Overall Palit's offering is good, the bundle is a little scarce but in return you get the customized product.
We feel that Palit's offering is really nice and as such comes recommended.
Next stop, Sparkle - The guys from Sparkle delivered the most reference based product tested today. The one thing that was different was the blue PCB color. Other then that, reference clocks all over the board and reference cooling. Now, that might sound a little negative, but it just isn't. As stated in the first paragraph .. it will probably make this product the cheapest of all these cards, and when you compare all models tested today you should have noticed that the baseline performance is just really good.
We do feel however that Sparkle could do better with their bundle. But guys, at reference clocks a card like this is merely 10% away from GeForce GTX 285 performance ... at 239~249 USD.
So within it's default baseline of performance and features, the reality is .. you hardly can go wrong with a card like this. I will however be interested to see if Sparkle will release some sort of Calibre edition of the card with funky cooling, it's what these guys surely are good at. Sparkle will give you two years warranty on their product, though I understand that might differ a little in some regions.
Alright, my fingers are getting numb really ... so I'm closing this article down. The Geforce GTX 275 is a very interesting product in terms of price and performance. Luckily you guys have loads of brands to choose from. Some offer a grand life-time warranty, others go for the best price and then some go for the absolute best performance. It's good to have such options. It makes this graphics arena a diverse, flexible and most of all dynamic one. Hey, it's good to have choices!
Thanks go out to NVIDIA, BFG, Inno3D, Palit and Sparkle for sending out the boards. Currently pricing varies a little, but you can pick up a GeForc GTX 275 for roughly $249.99 right now.
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