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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.

Left 4 Dead

Not too many game publishers can brag about having such a great track record like Valve can. None of their major game releases have ever been released to anything but praise, which goes to show that not rushing to release a game to please investors can make a huge difference. Take Half-Life 2, Team Fortress 2 and Portal, for example.

Left 4 Dead is one game I didn’t take seriously up until its launch. After playing it though, my opinions changed drastically, and even as I type this, I feel like saving the document and going to play. But, I’m also scared of Zombies, so continue writing I shall. Like Dead Space, this game is a survival shooter, but unlike that game, this title focuses completely on co-op. For the most part, the game is dulled in single player, but team up with three of your friends and let the laughs and excitement begin.

The portion of the level we use for testing is contained within the No Mercy campaign. The ultimate goal in the entire campaign is to make it to the top of a hospital in order to be picked up and brought off to safety. Our run through takes place in the final part of the the campaign, which leads up towards the roof tops. If one thing can be said about this title, it’s that causing a Boomer to explode (as seen in the above screenshot) proves to be one of the most satisfying things to do in any game I’ve played in a while.

Like most of Valve’s titles, a massive computer isn’t required to run Left 4 Dead at top settings. Take a look at our 2560×1600 result, for example. Even with our modest GTX 260/216 card, we were able to top the game out, and still enjoy well over 60 FPS on average. This isn’t the greatest thing for graphics card vendors, but for once, the consumers come out the big winners.

Graphics Card
Best Playable
Avg. FPS
NVIDIA GTX 295 1792MB x 2
2560×1600, Max Detail, 8xMSAA
117.701 FPS
Palit HD 4870 X2 2GB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 8xMSAA
117.039 FPS
NVIDIA GTX 285 1GB x 2
2560×1600, Max Detail, 8xMSAA
109.491 FPS
Zotac GTX 295 1792MB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 8xMSAA
102.422 FPS
Zotac GTX 285 1GB AMP!
2560×1600, Max Detail, 8xMSAA
73.075 FPS
NVIDIA GTX 285 1GB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 8xMSAA
72.072 FPS
Palit GTX 280 1GB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 8xMSAA
66.775 FPS
Diamond HD 4870 1GB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 8xMSAA
66.294 FPS
XFX GTX 260/216 896MB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 8xMSAA
56.608 FPS

As the table above shows off, bumping our Anti-Aliasing setting to 8xAA made little difference. Even with that applied, all nine GPU configurations we ran the game through could be played without issue. Although the game offers modes up to 16xAA, I found zero difference in frame rates (on both ATI and NVIDIA) cards, than when compared to 8xAA. It seems anything above that (aside from NVIDIA’s CSAA, possibly) is moot.