Zotac GTX 295 Infinity

18th Jun 2009 | 16:00

Zotac GTX 295 Infinity

World's fastest graphics card + water = world's fastester graphics card

TechRadar rating:

4.5 stars

It is a seriously expensive piece of kit, but will easily be the crowning glory of any watercooled system.

Like:

Excellent water cooler; Overclocking headroom; Fastest card available

Dislike:

Silly expensive

This review comes down to a very simple equation. World's fastest graphics card + watery cooling = world's fastester graphics card. Got it? Good.

Zotac's latest Infinity edition takes the doubled up PCB of a GeForce GTX 295 and wraps it neatly around a copper cooling block. You provide the water cooling pump and hey presto, you pretty much reach the limits of your CPU for in-game frame rates.

It arrives pre-overclocked by 99MHz against a stock GTX 295, but with the water pumping over its silicon veins, it's just a matter of moving sliders to push it through the 100MHz barrier and a fair way beyond. We got it running stably with a core speed of 720MHz, and could probably have pushed it further given more time. That's thanks to the water block, which is an excellent performer in its own right.

Bearing in mind the way in which graphics cards have been heating up of late, it seems odd to be able to touch the base of a running card, mid-benchmark without searing flesh – but no matter what we threw at the Infinity, it barely registered warmth, topping no more than 40˚C at peak.

Ultimately, our Windows 7, Phenom-based system in our watercooled test bench simply couldn't keep up. This is a blindingly fast card, and as the price suggests really only belongs in a rig that's already been highly tuned with liquid assistance. You couldn't fit it into a system with an air-cooled CPU even if you wanted to: the inlet and outlet connectors leave no extra clearance for a pipe to be attached before they crash into the space above the CPU, where a standard heatsink should be.

The asking price of almost £600 is clearly a sign that tears are the best coolant in the world – you'll cry enough to fill the reservoir three times over when you enter your credit card details for this one. Despite that, though, we're not really knocking points off the score for value for money. We're well into the realms of 'if you have to ask, you can't afford it' here, but if we were building a completely watercooled rig for maximum performance, I doubt we'd be able to knock together a set of pipes for the GPU that are as efficient as this. Even if we do know a couple of out of work plumbers who could probably help us out.

This is not a card for everyone, but it is a piece of engineering artistry which is covered by a five-year warranty – which is fair peace of mind if you're worried about leaks. If you want the best water-cooled rig money can buy you could do little better.

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