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Gigabyte GTX 275 1792MB Super Overclock Review

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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Gigabyte GTX 275 1792MB Super Overclock Review




Manufacturer’s Product Page: Gigabyte GTX 275 SOC
Product Number: GV-N275SO-18I
Price: Approx $300USD / $320CAD
Warranty: 3-years



When it was released earlier this year, the GTX 275 was heralded as a perfect mix of performance and great pricing. Its initial availability wasn’t what we expected when compared to its closest competition –the HD 4890 1GB- but things gradually improved and prices were further cut in order to compete in a cut-throat market. Unfortunately, in light of recent ATI DX11 releases the future of the GTX 275 is anything but certain even though it’s all NVIDIA has that can compete with the HD 4890 on an even footing. These $230 cards have become increasingly hard to find but this hasn’t stopped Gigabyte from marching on in their quest to release the highest clocked GTX 275 on the market.

The GTX 275 Super Overclock isn’t aimed at standard GTX 275s or even the HD 4890. Rather, Gigabyte it pitting it against the $400 GTX 285. That’s a hefty goal if there ever was one but we have to remember that a stock GTX 275 usually performs close to a GTX 285 in a few tests so a core and memory speed increase should bring the lower-priced card to within striking distance of its bigger brother. It also has some great expectations to live up to considering we couldn’t help but be impressed by how the GTX 260 Super Overclock performed when we reviewed it.

At this point, the only problem Gigabyte may have with this card is the fact that competition from ATI’s side of the fence is nearly insurmountable. Even more so when you realize that the Super Overclock will retail for about $320CAD if it ever becomes available at all. Not only does such a price point put its entrance fee above that of the HD 5850 but also significantly above the price most reference GTX 275 or HD 4890 cards go for. Granted, the HD 5850 is currently harder to find than a four leafed clover and the GTX 285 –the card Gigabyte is hoping to compete with- goes for a ridiculous $400. However that doesn’t make the paper launch of the GTX 275 Super Overclock look that much better from our standpoint.

If we take a step back and look at the current NVIDIA market, it isn’t hard to understand why Gigabyte thinks now is a good time for this card. Something needs to compete with the HD 5850 on somewhat level footing and if anything, the Super Overclock may be able to do just that. But is it too little too late? Only time will tell.

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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Gigabyte's GPU Gauntlet & Ultra Durable VGA

Gigabyte GPU Gauntlet


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In the enthusiast and extreme overclocking community, hand-picking components which ensure the best possible overclock and durability are regular occurrences. World record holding overclockers can go through dozens of processors before they find the one that suits their needs. Graphics card manufacturers do the same thing when it comes to picking GPUs for their highly overclocked cards since they have to ensure the chips they use will run the specified clock frequencies. The rejected chips are usually used for reference-clocked products.

Gigabyte has taken things to the next level by running the cores through what they call the GPU Gauntlet before they are deemed acceptable for their Super Overclock cards. Due to the clock speeds these chips have to maintain, the binning process is really meant to find the diamonds in the rough. Here is how Gigabyte explains the way their binning system works:

Only the strongest processors survive the GPU Gauntlet.

First, our database analysis system evaluates the GPU core engine, shader engine, and
memory. If a processor doesn’t meet the pre-defined standard, it will not qualify for the Super
Overclock Series.

Then, our proprietary testing toolkit allows us to inspect and select the GPUs with the highest frequency. This program operates for 30 minutes and provides important data on the maximum overclocking ability compared to a stock GPU. Once the Super OC point has been determined, our engineers will boost the frequency to offer the highest factory default clock setting in the market.

Next, each Super Overclock Series GPU faces the Graphics benchmarks, Furmark and 3Dmark Vantage, to measure performance and stability under an intense graphics load. A GPU that passes this stage will perform at a lower temperature and fan speed compared to a standard GPU. By choosing the cream of the crop, we ensure rich rendering of intricate 3D scenes and realistic physical effects (water, gas, steam, fire, etc) for a lifelike gaming adventure.

Lastly, we test the power switching and stability. The GPUs with the best power efficiency and lowest power consumption are qualified for the Super Overclock Series. And we understand that premium graphics cards should not sound like a cement truck rolling down the freeway, so a large cooling fan provides for a quiet computing environment.

So the question remains…will your graphics card make it through the Gauntlet?



Ultra Durable VGA


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Gigabyte’s Ultra Durable VGA has been used for quite a while now and it involves a number of high-quality component choices which are made to increase efficiency, decrease temperatures and even have a positive effect on the overclocking potential of a GPU. Having a Gigabyte UDV card means that you are guaranteed the best possible component choices rather than bargain-basement components that some manufacturers use to cut costs.

(From Gigabyte)

2 oz Copper PCB

2 oz copper PCB board doubles the copper inner layer of PCB board and provides unrivaled performance compared with traditional 1 oz PCB board.


Tier 1 Samsung and Hynix Memory

Ultra Durable VGA promises 1st tier Samsung/Hynix memory built with 100% fully testing.


Japanese Solid Capacity

Solid capacitors contain a solid organic polymer, while electrolytic capacitors use a common liquid electrolyte. Our cards use Japanese solid capacitors made by leading Japanese manufactures and offer better electronic conductivity for unrivaled performance.


Ferrite Core (Met ) Chokes

Ferrite core chokes are comprised of a compound of iron-oxide whose properties hold energymuch longer than common iron-core chokes at high frequency. They are able to store energy longer and prevent rapid energy loss at high frequency.


Low RDS (on) MOSFET

Lower RDS (on) MOSFETs are specially designed to produce lower switching resistance for faster electric current charging and discharging.
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Specs / Packaging & Accessories

Gigabyte GTX 275 Super Overclock Specs


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The specifications Gigabyte gave their Super Overclock are simply amazing. Not only do the core and shader clocks get huge bumps of 82Mhz and 146Mhz respectively but the memory moves into stratospheric levels as well. To be honest, the fact that Gigabyte doubled the memory and was still able to increase its clocks by 252Mhz (DDR) speaks volumes about their commitment to making this the fastest GTX 275 on the planet.


Packaging and Accessories



The box which the Gigabyte GTX 275 Super Overclock comes in is a near mirror image of the one the GTX 265 Super Overclock came in. It looks absolutely great with its muted color scheme and holds all of the information anyone would ever need.

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The box within the exterior sleeve is also well done and gives you the feeling that you are about to sink your teeth into something pretty special. It has an all-black design with an inlaid Super Overclock logo which just screams class and high performance.

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Within the box itself we have the well-protected GTX 275 that is wrapped in a layer of dense foam and comes with a cover which lays over the top of the card for additional protection. Meanwhile, the accessory list is exactly what we have come to expect from high end Gigabyte cards: complete. It comes with a pair of Molex to PCI-E cables, an S/PDIF connector and a HDMI to DVI adaptor along with the usual manual and driver installation CD.
 
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SKYMTL

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A Closer Look at the Gigabyte GTX 275 Super Overclock

Closer Look at the Gigabyte GTX 275 Super Overclock


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There really isn’t much to say about the exterior of the GTX 275 Super Overclock since it sports a reference heatsink and is the usual 10.5” in length. That being said, Gigabyte has carried over the basic design and color of the packaging over into a subtle heatsink sticker that shouldn’t clash with anything in your case.

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GIGA-275-SOC-12.jpg

Reference (left) / Gigabyte (right)

Upon first glance, there may not be much different between this card and the reference card but below the heatsink there seems to be some interesting things going on. It looks like Gigabyte installed some additional heatsinks over the VRM modules in order to cope with the increased heat output from the overclocked components.

GIGA-275-SOC-10.jpg
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Even though it is overclocked to some pretty extreme levels and sports double the memory versus a stock GTX 275, the Super Overclock still uses a pair of PCI-E 6-pin connectors. Next to the power connectors is the S/PDIF jack that allows audio pass through to the HDMI connector.

The backplate features a perfect combination of connectors. There is a single HDMI connector that can be converted into an extra DVI output with the included adaptor along with lone VGA and DVI connectors.


It seems like Gigabyte has used their own custom PCB for this card with some beefed up components. When compared side to side against the reference design, the differences are quite apparent and overall the Super Overclock looks like an all-round better built card.
 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Test System & Setup

Test System & Setup

Processor: Intel Core i7 920(ES) @ 4.0Ghz (Turbo Mode Enabled)
Memory: Corsair 3x2GB Dominator DDR3 1600Mhz
Motherboard: Gigabyte EX58-UD5
Cooling: CoolIT Boreas mTEC + Scythe Fan Controller
Disk Drive: Pioneer DVD Writer
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB
Power Supply: Corsair HX1000W
Monitor: Samsung 305T 30” widescreen LCD
OS: Windows Vista Ultimate x64 SP1


Graphics Cards:

Gigabyte GTX 275 Super Overclock
Sapphire HD 5870 1GB (Reference)
XFX HD 5770 (Reference)
XFX HD 5850 (Reference)
ATI HD 4890 (Reference)
NVIDIA GTX 275 (Reference)
EVGA GTX 285 (Reference)


Drivers:

ATI 8.66 RC7 Beta (HD 5700-series)
ATI 9.10 WHQL
NVIDIA 191.07 WHQL


Applications Used:

Call of Duty: World at War
Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood
Crysis: Warhead
Dawn of War II
Fallout 3
Far Cry 2
Left 4 Dead
Tom Clancy’s HawX


*Notes:

- All games tested have been patched to their latest version

- The OS has had all the latest hotfixes and updates installed

- All scores you see are the averages after 4 benchmark runs

All game-specific methodologies are explained above the graphs for each game

All IQ settings were adjusted in-game
 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
Call of Duty: World at War

Call of Duty: World at War


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To benchmark this game, we played through 10 minutes of the third mission (Hard Landing) starting from when the player first enters the swamp, through the first bunker until the final push onto the airfield. This was benchmarked using FRAPS.


1680 x 1050

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1920 x 1200

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2560 x 1600

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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
Call of Juarez II: Bound in Blood

Call of Juarez II: Bound in Blood


VAPORX-2GB-84.jpg

CoJ is a bit of an oddity without any in-game AA options but nonetheless, it looks incredible. For this benchmark we used a 10 minute gameplay sequence which included panoramic views of a town and gun battles. FRAPS was used to record the framerates.

1680 x 1050

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1920 x 1200

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2560 x 1600

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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
Crysis: Warhead (DX9)

Crysis: Warhead (DX9)


HD4890-23.jpg

To benchmark Warhead, we recorded a 5 minute timedemo on the Ice level which included ranged and hand to hand combat. The sequence was then played back using the Crysis Benchmarking Tool from HOC

1680 x 1050

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1920 x 1200

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2560 x 1600

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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
Crysis: Warhead (DX10)

Crysis: Warhead (DX10)


HD4890-23.jpg

To benchmark Warhead, we recorded a 5 minute timedemo on the Ice level which included ranged and hand to hand combat. The sequence was then played back using the Crysis Benchmarking Tool from HOC

1680 x 1050

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1920 x 1200

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2560 x 1600

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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
Dawn of War II

Dawn of War II


VAPORX-2GB-83.jpg

Even though Dawn of War II has its own in-game benchmarking tool, we decided not to use it. Instead, we played through approximately 10 minutes of the final Sapce Marine mission “Last Stand” while recording framerates with FRAPS. With a massive amount of enemies rushing your position and additional troops deployed on your side, this mission features some of the largest battles in the single player game. In addition, since the Tyranid swarms appear at regular intervals, this mission is also perfect for comparison testing.

1680 x 1050

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1920 x 1200

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2560 x 1600

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