There's a parallel universe where the GeForce GTX 280 is the world heavyweight champ of GPUs.
For sure, that's what nVidia intended for this big, bad GPU. After all, you don't produce a 1.4 billion transistor GPU without planning on utter domination.
Back in this world, the GTX 280 gets the job done compared to any other single-GPU card. Thanks to a unique 512-bit memory bus and no fewer than 32 ROPs, it packs unprecedented overall pixel throughput.
- Also read: 15 best graphics cards in the world today
The problem is, AMD's leaner, meaner Radeon HD 4870 chipset costs nigh on half as much and yet comes dangerously close for overall performance. That allows AMD to offer the dual-chip X2 variant in the same pricing ballpark as the GTX 280. But in raw performance terms, the X2 is simply too hot to handle.