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Nvidia GeForce GTX 280

Over-priced, over-specced and over here

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On the face of it, the performance of GTX 280 in 3DMark Vantage is unequivocal as it stomps the other graphics cards into the dust. However, there's a dispute rumbling on this very subject. 3DMark Vantage tests your PC for its ability to handle physics calculations, which is great if you have an Ageia PhysX chip but as none of us do, a game's physics load is typically handled by the CPU, and that's one reason why 3DMark Vantage has a CPU test.

3DMark Vantage Test Results

Nvidia GeForce GTX 280 - 3DMarkVantage Results

Longer bars are better

In its Forceware 177.39 drivers, Nvidia updated the code to move the physics load from the CPU to the GPU where possible as this helps overall game performance. However, it has raised questions marks over its effect on benchmark scores. Driver 177.35, the previous release, has been approved by benchmark creator Futuremark. Forceware 177.39 has not.

As things stand, it's unclear whether Nvidia is taking a valid approach by treating the CPU and GPU as a pool of computing power. This surely gives Nvidia an advantage in 3DMark as it owns PhysX and has the ability to shift the physics workload wherever it desires, breaking down the established boundaries between CPU and GPU roles. It defends its position thus:

"Nvidia did not cheat or violate the FutureMark rules."

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Next page: Verdict

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