GTX 295 and GeForce 3D Vision double up at CES

— 8:00 AM on January 8, 2009

We've known about the outlines of this one for a while now: the GeForce GTX 295 is a dual-GPU graphics card that sports a pair of GT200 "B" GPUs—a version of the GT200 that's been produced using a 55nm fab process rather than the 65nm process used on the original GT200. The lower power consumption (and thus heat production) of the 55nm chip has allowed Nvidia to cram two of these GPUs together on a single video card. Like the GeForce 9800 GX2 before it, the GeForce GTX 295 is a dual-PCB monster enclosed in a black shroud.

Although the 55nm GT200 has the exact same number of functional units as the GT200, Nvidia has disabled one of the ROP paritions in each GPU, so that like the GeForce GTX 260, each graphics processor on this card has 896MB of RAM associated with it, along with a little less per-clock oomph for painting pixels and doing AA resolve work. Each GPU's 240 stream processors is fully intact, though. All told, the GTX 295 is a beast, with 1792MB of graphics memory and enough theoretical peak fill rate and shader power to equal a fairly large array of Playstation 3s.

We've put the GTX 295 through its paces against the fastest single- and multi-GPU competition, along with a host of more reasonably priced options, and were entirely intending to publish a full review today. However, CES and the task of finishing up the Phenom II review intervened, and we had to push back the GTX 295 review a bit. Hang tight, please, folks.

In the interim, we have a little bit of the usual drama. Nvidia has likely recaptured the overall single-card performance crown with the GTX 295, for whatever that's worth in these days of somewhat oddly defined performance championships. ("Fastest two GPUs in one dual-slot card. Really?") They've priced the GTX 295 accordingly at $499. Preemptively, then, AMD has moved to cut the price of the Radeon HD 4870 X2 to $449 along with a $50 rebate, as we've recently reported. So things remain interesting and competitive as ever.

In a move AMD may not be able to counter immediately, Nvidia is also formally introducing its GeForce 3D Vision technology today. This tech combines a faster (120Hz LCD) monitor, specialized glasses, and some graphics driver hooks to deliver the impression of a vague headache—whoops, I mean of true, three-dimensional depth—in a host of popular PC games. We also have this bit of kit in house, and plan on giving you our impressions of it soon, as well. We may also test the effects of combining alcohol with such an apparatus in a special bonus section of our review. The early tech demos we saw of this equipment at Nvision this past summer were unusually good compared to earlier 3D vision schemes on the PC. Perhaps Nvidia will be able to bring this one into the mainstream.

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