Nvidia Geforce GTX 280-Review

October 5, 2022
Nvidia Geforce GTX 280

Nvidia Geforce GTX 280. NVIDIA started the GTX 280 graphics processor, and Peter Glaskowsky gets some practice with a graphics card based on the new chip. Here’s a comparison of a pair of older ATI Radeon boards in four popular PC games.

Performance-Nvidia Geforce GTX 280

Graphics performance is improving rapidly. As a result, we can be sure that each new generation of graphics chips will be faster than the last and that AMD and NVIDIA will regularly outdo each other with new products. I’ve followed this process professionally since 1996 when I started covering graphics technology for Microprocessor Reports.


As of today, NVIDIA is at its peak. So the new GeForce GTX 280 is your fastest graphics chip. Can find details on the chip in the first part of this review. Suppose you can get it, by all means. NVIDIA says that GeForce GTX 280-based boards and its companion GeForce GTX 260 will be available “in bulk” tomorrow (June 17). Still, if previous launches are any indication, those quantities won’t be enough to satisfy everyone.
And you might not be able to afford one – a GTX 280 with 1GB of RAM will likely cost around $649, while a GTX 260 with 896MB will cost around $399. (NVIDIA made the GTX 280 / 1GB board I tested, so it doesn’t necessarily represent commercial products.)

Gaming Performance-Nvidia Geforce GTX 280

However, avid gamers will not be deterred by these prices. AMD and NVIDIA like that a costly graphics card is a much better investment than a high-end processor or motherboard if you care about gaming.
The standard of balancing for gaming performance is the number of frames per second that can render for a given combination of screen resolution and quality features or, conversely, what can use resolution and features can be used without dropping the frame rate below playable levels.
So in my testing, I used frame rate as a metric for games that could run acceptably at maximum quality at my monitor’s full resolution (1600 x 1200 pixels) and quality for other games.

GTX 280 Board-Nvidia Geforce GTX 280

(NVIDIA) provided an age of Conan with a GTX 280 board. I got the industry of Heroes at a previous NVIDIA event. After that, I bought other titles and a few others. The setup I used for testing was a 2006 Core 2 Duo based on an Intel D975XBX motherboard and a 2.93GHz processor overclocked to 3.2GHz. It was originally equipped with two ATI Radeon X1900 XTX PCI Express graphics cards connected as a Crossfire pair, providing almost double the rendering power per display. This specification was about as good as gaming systems in late 2006.
I set up all the games on this system in their original configuration and then replaced the ATI graphics cards with a single NVIDIA GTX 280 reference board. Industry of Heroes dates back almost two years, and it shows. The game looks pretty good but it couldn’t match the Radeon Crossfire layout. However, even with all quality features set to maximum, the game could still produce an average frame time of around 60 frames per second (fps) using an internal benchmarking test.

Assassin’s Creed

Assassin’s Creed is newer – the PC version I tested was only released a few months ago – but it also played well on Radeon boards. The game produced the best results with all available quality settings. Strangely, Windows Vista Games Explorer, which shows “minimum” and “recommended” requirements, says that my test system does not meet the recommended needs for this game.

Age of Conan

Age of Conan is the newest game in the suite. This online multiplayer game was released in full on May 20. Although, firstly expected to support version 10 of Microsoft DirectX graphics, the game only shipped with DX9 support. Despite this, the game is very graphically demanding and looks very good. Although the ATI hardware met the Games Explorer recommendation. The game would still not play well at the maximum quality and resolution settings. I did most of my tests with the ATI cards using “medium” quality, full resolution (my monitor’s 1600 x 1200 pixel limit). And no antialiasing (a technique for creating smoother, more realistic edges on objects).

Graphics Support-Nvidia Geforce GTX 280

Crysis, which provides too advanced graphics support for the games. I’ve tested—and perhaps of all games available today—also required “medium” quality settings on ATI cards and no antialiasing. With this setup, I kept running into moments in the game where the screen would update very slowly. While still playable, it was the only game that wasn’t completely satisfying on 2006 hardware.

Measurements and Observations

Once I had some basic measurements and observations for Radeon graphics cards, it was time to replace the GTX 280. It wasn’t as simple as it should have been for some reasons, including a minor mechanical issue with the card. The biggest problem was that the GTX 280 reference board – like the chip itself – was huge. It’s like the monolit from “2001: A Space Odyssey” with a set of DVI connectors on one end. It’s two slots wide because the fan and heatsink are needed for the board’s 236W power.
Yes, 236 watts. We call this the “thermal design performance” (TDP), the maximum amount of energy likely to be used during normal operation. Still, it’s in line with other high-end graphics cards, and NVIDIA claims to have significantly reduced the card’s idle power consumption, which helps conserve power during normal operation.


Another problem with the GTX 280 was requiring two additional power connections – one six-pin plug and one 8-pin plug. Both are defined in the PCI Express features and are found on today’s high-end PC power supplies.
My test system had two six-pin plugs for the two original dual-slot Radeon cards, but I made a short cable to adapt one of those plugs to an eight-pin PCIe socket. Since the eight-pin socket only has three power contacts, just like the six-pin plug, such an adapter will work normally, and I’ve had no problems with this arrangement. But my recommendation is to upgrade the power supply.
Set up the new board worked properly, and I could browse games.

Company of Heroes and Assassin’s Creed

Company of Heroes and Assassin’s Creed didn’t look or run any better on the GTX 280 than they did on the Radeon cards, which I expected. Any game that can fit within the limits of an older graphics card has no room for improvement on a newer model.
With the GTX 280, you could play age of Conan at maximum quality with antialiasing enabled, significantly improving visual quality during gameplay. Still, I don’t think I’d change my graphics card just for this game, even if I spent most of my life playing it – as I expect some people will.
A real reward for a new card


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *