Overclocking The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295
When NVIDIA launched their GT200 GPU and the first two graphics cards based on it - the GeForce GTX 280 and the GeForce GTX 260, they thought they had ATI licked for good. In fact, they originally pegged the GeForce 9800 GTX+ as the direct competitor to the ATI Radeon HD 4870 graphics card.
Unfortunately, NVIDIA grossly underestimated the ATI Radeon HD 4870, which not only roundly trounced both the GeForce 9800 GTX+ and the "superior" GeForce GTX 260, but was also more than a match for the GeForce GTX 280. ATI followed that up with a second blow - the dual-GPU Radeon HD 4870 X2, which effectively made ATI the new leader in the consumer 3D graphics market.
The fall was hard on NVIDIA. They were dominant for the last 2-3 generations of graphics cards and to fall so far so fast was a certainly a big blow. But NVIDIA is never one to sit down and cry. They may have stumbled but they now feel they have a card fast enough to regain their dominance in the industry - the new dual-GPU NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295!
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295 uses two GT200 GPUs fabricated on the newer 55 nm process. Effectively, it is the equivalent of two GeForce GTX 280 graphics cards running at the clock speeds of the GeForce GTX 260. For more information on the NVIDIA GT200 GPU, please take a look at the NVIDIA GTX 280 & GTX 260 Technology Report.
Our review of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295 showed that it was far superior to the the standard GeForce GTX 280 while consuming only 23% more power (289W vs. 236W). On average, it was about 50% faster than the GeForce GTX 280 and 80% faster than the GeForce GTX 260. That's a significant boost in performance, something NVIDIA really needs to spoil ATI's winning streak.
Of course, the GeForce GTX 295 has a really hefty price tag, which makes everyone wonder if it's worth buying when there's a virtual fire sale of GeForce GTX 280 and GTX 260 cards. Its performance is great, but is that the limit of its performance or can we push it a lot further? If the GeForce GTX 295 is really overclockable, then it might be even more worth buying than the GeForce GTX 280 and GTX 260 cards which are still using the older 65nm GT200 GPUs.
NVIDIA actually provides all the necessary tools for easy overclocking, with complete access to the core, shader and memory clock speeds. They even allow you to control the fan speed. All you have to do is install the overclocking tool and see how far it can go!
Like in our previous overclocking guides, we did not want this to be an example of extreme overclocking, where you would need to resort to third-party coolers. With that method, you can achieve an incredible degree of overclocking but it would come at a significant cost. We wanted this attempt to come at "no cost" to the user. That meant overclocking the GeForce GTX 295 using its standard cooler.
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