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Zotac GeForce GTX 285 & GTX 295
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by Rob Williams on January 27, 2009 in NVIDIA-Based GPU

When NVIDIA released their GTX 285 and 295 earlier this month, they successfully reclaimed the performance crown for both single and dual-GPU graphics cards. We’re finally putting both of these models through our grueling testing, in both single card and SLI configurations, to see just how much value can be had when compared to previous offerings.

Far Cry 2

Sequels are common, and three of our six games used here prove it. But what’s different with Far Cry 2, though, is that while the other sequels here don’t throw you for a loop when you first load it up and generally give you what you’d expect to see, this game does the absolute opposite. We knew for months that Far Cry 2 wasn’t going to be a direct continuation of the original, but for the most part, this game could have gone by any other name and no one would even make a connection. Luckily for Ubisoft, though, the game can still be great fun.

Like the original, this game is a first-person shooter that offers open-ended gameplay, similar to S.T.A.L.K.E.R. You’ll be able to roam the huge map (50km^2) of a central African state which will mostly be traversed by vehicle, as walking even 2% in any direction gets very tedious after a while. This game is a perfect GPU benchmark simply because the graphics are better than the average, with huge draw distances, realistic nature and even a slew of animals to pass by (and kill if you are evil enough).

Our run through takes place in the Shwasana region, and consists of leaving a small hut and walking towards four people prepared to kill me for no apparent reason (except that this is a game). After the opponents are eliminated, a walk along the dirt road continues for another twenty seconds until we reach a small hut with supplies.

Although Far Cry 2 is visually-pleasing, it doesn’t take a massive card to power at modest resolutions, and that’s evidenced throughout our 1680×1050 and 1920×1200 results. At our 2560×1600 setting, results became a little more tight, with only the fastest cards proving beefy enough to deliver smooth gameplay. Here, Zotac’s AMP! edition and anything above are ideal for this, as ~40 average FPS is generally a good goal.

Graphics Card
Best Playable
Avg. FPS
NVIDIA GTX 285 1GB x 2
2560×1600, Max Detail, 8xAA
46.502 FPS
NVIDIA GTX 295 1792MB x 2
2560×1600, Max Detail, 4xAA
88.608 FPS
Zotac GTX 295 1792MB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 4xAA
55.951 FPS
Palit HD 4870 X2 2GB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 4xAA
43.600 FPS
Diamond HD 4870 1GB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 4xAA
41.777 FPS
Zotac GTX 285 1GB AMP!
2560×1600, Max Detail, 4xAA
40.375 FPS
NVIDIA GTX 285 1GB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 4xAA
37.785 FPS
Palit GTX 280 1GB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 0xAA
43.460 FPS
XFX GTX 260/216 896MB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 0xAA
38.527 FPS

For some reason, 8xAA is generally impossible for most of our GPU configurations, and I’m not quite sure why, given that 4xAA performance is so good. Running with 8xAA, though, resulted in much lag when the level finally loaded, and as a result, only our GTX 285 SLI configuration managed to get by with 8xAA. The issues I experienced could be a per-basis issue, but I report them as I see them.

Generally speaking though, 4xAA is going to be the best idea for most people, and even when I did have 8xAA function on our single GPU configuration, I was hard-pressed to see a difference. 4xAA became too much for both our GTX 280 and GTX 260 though, but all the others soared on through.


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