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Test Results (continued) & Conclusion

Test Results (continued)

Final Thoughts

Overall, the results churned out by both setups were pretty close. The twin XFX Radeon HD 4890 cards were able to give the GeForce GTX 295 a run for its money on the extremely graphics-intensive Crysis Warhead. And it was able to whoop the GTX 295 into submission on 3DMark06.

However, the GeForce GTX 295 turned the tables when it came to Vantage, where it scored a HardwareZone.com record of 14721 on the "Performance" preset. That's more than 1000 3DMarks more than what the two XFX Radeon HD 4890 cards could achieve. It was also clearly the faster card on Far Cry 2. In Unreal Tournament though, both the competitors turned out similar results.

While the two cards' performance was pretty similar, there were marked difference in the card's temperature and power consumption readings, and also their overclocking abilities. At 71 degrees Celsius at the core, the Radeon HD 4890 is already a very warm card, and with two in the casing, our test system felt significantly warmer.

Also, these are by no means green cards, and the readings show. The GeForce GTX 295 clocked a maximum power consumption reading of 374W for the entire system, while the pair of XFX Radeon HD 4890 cards showed a much higher power consumption of 424W. The two Radeon HD 4890 cards also recorded a very high idle power draw of 263W. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295, on the other hand, had an idle system power draw of just 179W, which is remarkably lower.

In closing, the benchmarking performance of two Radeon HD 4890 graphics cards in CrossFireX is very competitive with those of a single NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295 which generally inched just ahead by a little. Our only gripe with the ATI pair is with the fairly high operating temperatures and rather absurd power consumption figures. To put the numbers in perspective, it should be noted that an idle system power draw of 263W is nearly equivalent to the maximum operating load reading of a pair of Radeon HD 4770 graphics cards in CrossFireX. It should therefore be interesting to see what ATI would do to bring down the operating temperatures and power consumption figures of their high end products.

Because of these two crucial draw backs, it is our opinion that the GeForce GTX 295 remains to be the best high-end solution out there. It might cost about US$50 more, but you do you get your money's worth. Compared to two Radeon HD 4890 cards, a single GeForce GTX 295 has lower power consumption and is more manageable to cool. For the moment, at least, the GeForce GTX 295 is the still the high-end card to beat.