Reviewed by PD2010066061 at @ 06:36 PM Feb 20, 2009
First of all I must say that I ordered that card with Free Ground Shipping (shipped by Canada Post). I ordered it on Friday the 13th (of this month of course) and I just received it this afternoon (the 20th). While Free Ground Shipping is good for the obvious reason that it's free, it still has a "price", and you probably guessed it, time is money, if you don't pay extra for Air Shipping (only $10) then the price is to wait considerably longer.
However, other than the actual waiting of seven days before getting it in my hands after ordering it (thanks to the week-end) there's absolutely nothing negative to say about my first experience with Direct Canada (well in fact the waiting itself isn't even a negative, I myself simply expected it to arrive sooner, but I live in Montreal, and it was shipped from a warehouse in Vancouver all the way to the other side of the country (and continent might I add). So it obviously had to take that long. My personal advice to anyone living in Ontario or Québec (especially Québec) is to select a better shipping option, get the Air Shipping, that way it will probably be delivered to your province by air within the same day that you ordered your item (or the next open business day).
With that said, I have it now, I installed it (more below) and it works, no RMA needed, all is fun and dandy. Now, read this carefully if you never bought a top-end or recent-generation graphics card... this card, guys, is FREAKIN' HUGE, it's true. I had read many consumer reviews around for the GTX 260's, 280's and 285's (and 295's as well) and it IS true indeed that the GPUs within the current GTxxx series are simply gargantuan in size, and quite heavy as well. I didn't really realize how "big" when looking at pictures, but when you get that thing in your hand you just wonder if your PCI-E slot will just eventually physically snap off of your Motherboard.
A little exaggeration maybe, but anyway, it IS big, you HAVE to install it carefully, do NOT let that thing fall by accident, catch it before it touches any hard surfaces or it's going to be badly damaged due to its weight, just do it slowly and all will be alright. My PC case is a no-name generic case, so I took a serious risk and gamble in buying this. I knew about the "big size" but then I thought "well ok it's big but I'm sure it's going to fit, let's do it anyway". So, yes, I managed to fit that monster in, but I had to move one of my two Hard-Disk Drives UP (instead of the more common down) in my HDD cage to leave the extra space (about three centimeters) needed for the card to fit properly, it's not bad actually, all works well, the HDD I moved up in the cage is resting to its new home and nothing bad happened.
Now, about what came with the card, well, it's the usual instruction manuals with extra plugs and DVI-to-VGA adapter and a few other things (and a nice little eVGA logo, like when you buy an Intel or AMD processor or some motherboards, you get the manufacturer's logo which you can stick on your case or whatever). The thing is that it DID NOT came with ANY game at all, and I DID expect one, but no worry, if such a thing happens to you as well you only need to register your card on the eVGA's web-site and they will send you one of the two games promoted by nVIDIA (FarCry 2 or Call of Duty 5). No biggie, I paid for the card, not a game, and I got what I paid for, that's cool.
Now on to performance...
MIND. BLOWINGLY. AWESOME.
There, simple isn't it?
Here's my system's specifications:
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400
OCZ Reaper HPC PC2-6400 4GB
SoundBlaster X-Fi XtremeMusic
eVGA GeForce GTX285
My previous card (which now rests in the GTX285's box) was a GeForce 8 GTS 640MB (G80, not the refresh version). By default in Futuremark's 3DMark06 benchmark I scored an average of 11,600 points with none of my hardware over-clocked. When I over-clocked the CPU to 3.75Ghz, the Memory to 1Ghz (from 800Mhz) and the card to 621/1458/945 then my scored got up to an average of 12,400 Marks, which was indeed giving me better performance but I was pretty much hitting the limit of my system, and I don't want to over-clock the CPU and/or Memory too much.
Now, with the exact same hardware expect for the GPU, of course, then I scored 14,500 points without any over-clock at all. That's alright better, but certainly not what I expected. And so I decided to leave my CPU and Memory over-clocked as if was before, without over-clocking the GTX285 itself however, and my new score suddenly went up to 17,400! What a shock! That's 3,000 extra points right there simply by over-clocking the CPU and Memory, I haven't even touched the card's frequencies at all yet! So yes, I do believe it is true that such top-end cards certainly love top-end (or simply very fast) CPUs, that's for sure. I will try to over-clock it later tomorrow, but I'm sure I'll be able to reach 700Mhz Core easily, and getting close to 3Ghz Memory.
The real "bad" side of the card, because as we know nothing is perfect, is the fan noise at higher fan speeds (not by default, note that by default it's almost silent, barely audible, I'm simply talking about the noise when the speed of the fan goes up either automatically or manually via third-party tools). Well, yes the size of the card itself can be considered a bad part of this product, but it doesn't apply to ANYONE when the PC case is big enough, it was somewhat of a negative point for me due to my own generic and small PC case. As I said, the real negative thing about this is the fan speed, to repeat myself. Unless your PC case is entirely closed I don't see how anyone could sustain such noise. I even tried to play for a moment with my headset on, with the fan speed at 80% and I could clearly hear it even with my headset and guns blazing all around during game-play (Crysis: Warhead). For me the comfortable "zone" for good fan speed and not too much noise is 70%, but above that and it starts to get too much audible. I will need to invest in a better PC case later this summer to reduce the noise and increase the fan speed for better future over-clocks, because there's no way I will leave such a demanding card (in terms of energy, thus emitting more heart, obviously) over-clocked 24/7 with the fan only running at 70%, I will need at least 90% or eventually liquid-cooling (and I'm seriously considering it).
I give a score of 4.5 out of 5 for this because, for me, the size of the card forced me to move an HDD up in the cage and re-arrange the wiring as well (SATA cables, IDE cables and PCI-E wires). But this is applying to me only. And as mentioned, the noise, it's just indecent above 75%, you'll understand if you do buy it, just try it and you'll know why it's a negative, and if you actually love loud noise then set it to 100% and enjoy it, haha!
I'm very satisfied, overall, thanks for Direct Canada, and eVGA.
Reviewed by DV2010050645 at @ 05:03 PM Feb 15, 2009
I received this card in the mail roughly 2 weeks ago. I immediately started testing it's overclocking limits, and am currently running it completely stable at 726 core, 1650 shaders, and 2700 (1350) memory. It runs *anything* with maximum settings (Yes, even the original Crysis! Everything on Very High and AA x4, I'm getting about 27fps average at 1680x1050), and after upgrading from a 4870 512mb card, there's no comparison. Oh, and movies look fantastic! I'll expand on this below.
So the difference between HD movies on an ATI and Nvidia card is actually quite substantial (If you're nit-picky). HD movies on ATI cards look a little washed out, with a slight yellowy/ green undertone that can get a little aggravating if you're even remotely passionate about having a "perfect picture". The skin tones look a little flat, and the contrast isn't quite as strong. Nvidia seems to have more vibrant greens, blues, and reds, while providing a much more life-like skin tone, along with deeper blacks and brighter whites. I personally prefer the 'look' of Nvidia to ATI. However! HD movies on either look fantastic... I'm simply being finicky.
Note that if you plan on investing in card like this, make sure you have a decent processor to handle it. We've all heard the age old term 'Bottlekneck', and that's precisely what you'll get if you're not at least using something in the E8400 range.
Reviewed by IT2010066094 at @ 07:07 AM Feb 06, 2009
As soon as i popped in this baby, i overclocked it to the same SSC video card from EVGA, without spending extra money(702/1584/1323x2). I got no artifacting or instability whatsover and I feel I can push more if I want to, but as it stants right now I can play most new games at maximum detail with 2-4x AA, and crysis at high with no AA. I have a core i7 OCed to 3.8ghz, so that helps.
Note that the temperature with or without overclocking got up to 85C during load, and while idling, sits at 45, but as soon as the case heats up after gaming it idles at 60C, so you might need better case cooling.
What bothers me about this card tho is that it has a issue that is called capacitor squeal/screech which is found in a proportion of the gtx 200 cards. What it does is that depending on your framerate at that current time it is really loud because of the current it passes through.
It is unbearable unless I limit the frame rate to vsync to 60.
Just research gtx 280 screeching under google, but at 60 fps my card is barely audible in most games, so ii will not RMA it.