GeForce GTX 295 Vs. GTX 275 SLI: When Two Are Better Than One

Power-Hungry, Hot, And Big

Performance aside, there are a few other considerations in comparing one card to two.

The first is physical size. This really only works if you have the platform and available PCI Express slots for it. It might be worth paying a little extra for a GeForce GTX 295 in order to save two expansion slots worth of space. Or, if your motherboard isn’t SLI-certified, taking the single-card route saves you from an upgrade.

Next up is heat. We know from experience that running three GeForce GTX 280s is difficult if you don’t have enough airflow. The cards have virtually zero room between them, and two of three are left trying to suck air through thin gaps between the boards. The only way to make thermal management any more difficult is smashing a pair of GPUs onto a pair of PCBs wedged into a double-slot package.

The GeForce GTX 295 pulls it off though, and at roughly the same core temperatures as the hottest card in a GeForce GTX 275 SLI arrangement. Note that, while the GTX 295 does exhaust much of its heated air out the card’s back-panel, an open top means there will also be a fair amount of recirculation in a closed chassis. In contrast, the GTX 275s blow everything out the back.

You would think that, given their identical core and memory configurations, two GeForce GTX 275s would gobble as much power as a GeForce GTX 295. In fact, that’s not the case at all. Consumption is close at idle, varying by about 20W. But under load, the two GTX 275s use almost 100W more than the taxed GTX 295.

So, as we start looking at numbers, bear in mind that two GeForce GTX 275s will eat up twice as many expansion slots, get warmer, and use more power than a single GeForce GTX 295. In return, you can buy those 275s for about $20 less than a regularly-priced 295 (providing you can find one for sale, that is).

Now let’s factor performance into the equation. Remember that the GPUs on a GeForce GTX 295 run at 576 MHz (with 1,242 MHz shaders), while the memory clock is set to 998 MHz (1,998 MT/s effective). Stock GeForce GTX 275s run at 633 MHz (1,404 MHz shaders) with 1,134 MHz memory (2,268 MT/s). That’s a significant theoretical advantage for the single-GPU cards. Onward!

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  • mi1ez
    Wouldn't 998MHz memory clock be 1996MT/s? not 1998...
  • mi1ez
    Intel Core i7 920 Extreme (Bloomfield) 2.66 GHz, 4.8 GT/s, 8 MB L3 Cache, power-saving settings disabled

    The 920 isn't an extreme edition.
  • monster_munch
    What I don't get is why the underclocked GTX 275s are running hotter than the stock 275s. Even though the theres a 100 watt difference on power consumption.
  • Reynod
    Chris why are you still pushing NVidia rubbish at us which is hot, slow, and chews up heaps of power, and their company is going down the gurgler?

    Their GT300 is 6mths behind schedule and these GT 2 series cards are overpriced, and simply rubbish compared to the newer, faster and cooler running ATI 48 series products.

    They can't get the 55nm process at TSMC running properly let alone the 40nm shrink ... so the bulk of their GPU's are older stock ... hence the relabelling of the G92 family ... twice.

    That seems to be their only product that is making them a buck, and I would rather recommend one of them cards over these monster dies that should simply ... die.

    NVidia also can't produce enough volume with the higher end cards so they are hard to get and frankly their whole halo strategy is a sham.

    Your pushing products at us whih can't be bought, shouldn't be bought, and soon won't be bought as they will be out of business.
  • etiennemos
    reynod... go play with your own $%#$%ing toys mate. nVidia ruleZZ!!
  • optical10
    I wonder if two GTX 280's would do just as well or better than the pair of GTX 275's as I have a GTX 280 at the moment?
  • azzinoth
    Optical10: No they would not, since 275 is faster by default.
  • Reynod
    etiennemos I am sorry your unable to articulate the written word ... much like a toddler.

    /throws eti a rattle.
  • MasterDex
    And you're sprouting opinionated bullshit. This article is for those of us who do like Nvidia and their better drivers and support. If you don't like their cards stay away from them and any articles that concern them. We can make our own minds up on what cards we want to buy.

    The site has done reviews on both companies products so stop whinging like a child and stop trying to force your opinion down other people's throats.
  • Anonymous
    2 gtx 275 paired with a tri fan accelero extreme ( see new zotac , or galaxy ) are actually cooled down , so temps will not be an issue . For mainstream , just one gtx 275 is more then you need . Stop judging cards performance based on CRYSIS benchmarks , because that`s rubbish . Visual experience ? YES ! gameplay ? CRAP ! . 2 more games like this one , and we will be swaping cards , like old video games on a nintendo . I don`t want to believe in two or three years i`m going to replace my video card whenever i want to play another game , just because crysis 2 will be for nvidia , and super mario for AMD ( whatever ) . Everywhere i look , i see people arguing about AMD vs NVIDIA . Just stop , you don`t even know what you are talking about . For your information , those companies actually earn money from this " rivalery " . That`s the whole point . It`s not a war between them , and they are not competing against each other . They just "share" the profit , but blind people don`t see that .
    And also , reviews on site`s are allways "messed up" , just to confuse blind people that are willing to spend some cash on dreams . Hd4890 and GTX 275 are exactly the same . You will get 2 frames more in a game with the first one , and 2- in another . Buy both cards , use them , test them , then you can sell the one you don`t like . Just stop beeing "fans" cause you actually don`t know what you are talking about . You really believe that they don`t have the technology to make better GPU`s , so you can play that stupid game named CRYSIS with one video card on max settings ? yes they have . They feed you with "better drivers" thoe .. because + 2fps are godlike . Can`t you see that ?Buy 3 or 4 video cards , crossfire them , sli them , whatever . In 3 years you won`t play any game due to incompatibility .
    I`m sorry for my bad english , but i`m not english so don`t give a dman ..
  • Anonymous
    The batch of gtx295 wasnt that great amountwise b4 other cards replace them? I wonder same gpu´s same memory another names another tags? I agree with Anonymous They make money on fun clubs. Spend some moer cahs your pc will have to be upgraded soon anyway. Be prepared to spend even more. I am owner of one msi gtx 295 and i cant tell i am not stunned by perfomance (which i should be for the buck i spend) but rather suprised by the noise the card produce full trottled. Since they made so low quantity of those i guess it wasnt ment to last. I was playing everything on an 8800gtx at allmost the same framerate on the games I use to play An uppgrade that cost 500-700 bucks at the time was not worth it. My old 8800gtx did great job. Ok now i can play some other games some more frames but the sound/noise is painfull . Hairdryer or vacumcleaner got just a little bit lower dB. Ofc lets not talk about unstable drivers that are not covering their older products that good. So in order to play new games and load Your card to the maximum every time check nvidias driver place and pray to gods that tey have released something that you will be able to play the game You purchaed. Good old days when voodoo got the job done to allmost every game one purchaed Sometimes i miss those days. Moving forward way to fast It cost moeny not to talk about the consumption society we became. Throw good things still working just becouse thers new one they caim is better then the old one You have. Where are we going with this society? Not so bright future to kids growing nowdays Living the consumpion society dream riding on their parents back. Same here not that perfect english? Well its not my native tongue. The one who wants to understand this will do so. I wish You all gamers arround the world happy hunting. Cheers!