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The Competition: Radeon HDs And GeForces

GeForce GT 220 And 210: DirectX 10.1 And 40nm Under $80
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Remember what we said on page one: "The sub-$80 market represents a very diverse model selection with the least price differential, along with the tightest margins." Well, we meant it.

This means that the GeForce GT 220 and 210 are entering a crowded melee of graphics cards, not only from the competition, but from existing offerings in Nvidia's portfolio.

The GeForce 210 is priced similarly to the Radeon HD 4350 and Radeon HD 4550, in addition to the GeForce 9400 GT and 9500 GT DDR2:


GeForce 210
GeForce 9400 GT
GeForce 9500 GT DDR2
Radeon HD 4350
Radeon HD 4550
Fabrication Process
40nm
55nm
55nm
55nm55nm
Graphics Clock (Texture and ROP units)589 MHz
550 MHz550 MHz600 MHz
600 MHz
Processor Clock (Shader Units) 1,402 MHz
1,350 MHz
1400 MHz
N/A
N/A
Memory Clock (Clock Rate/Data Rate)500 MHz
400 MHz
500 MHz
400 MHz800 MHz
Memory Interface
64-bit
128-bit
128-bit
64-bit64-bit
Stream Processors
16
16
32
80
80
ROP Units
4
8
8
4
4
Texture Filtering Units
8
8
16
8
8
Microsoft DirectX/Shader model10.1/4.1
10/410/4
10.1/4.110.1/4.1


Based on this, we can see that the GeForce 210 is looking very close to the GeForce 9400 GT. Both sport 16 processor cores. But looking closer, we notice that the 9400 GT can handle twice the raster operations per clock, and has a memory interface twice as wide. As far as competition goes, the Radeon HD 4350 and Radeon HD 4550 look quite daunting with their 80 shader cores. But keep in mind that the Nvidia and ATI architectures are so different that the number of cores are not comparable. Really, the biggest threat comes from the DDR2 version of the GeForce 9500 GT, which outclasses the competition for the price.

Now let's look at the GeForce GT 220, which has some stiffer competition, including the Radeon HD 4650 and Radeon HD 4670, and GeForce 9500 GT DDR3 and 9600 GSO (while even touching the bottom end of GeForce 9600 GT price territory).


GeForce GT 220
GeForce 9500 GT DDR3
GeForce 9600 GSO
Radeon HD 4650
Radeon HD 4670
Fabrication Process
40nm
55nm
G96: 65nm
G94: 55nm
55nm55nm
Graphics Clock (Texture and ROP units)615 MHz
550 MHz550 MHz600 MHz
750 MHz
Processor Clock (Shader Units) 1,566 MHz
1,400 MHz
1,375 MHz
N/A
N/A
Memory Clock (Clock Rate/Data Rate)800 MHz
800 MHz
800 MHz
400 MHz
1000 MHz
Memory Interface
128-bit 128-bit G96: 192-bit/128-bit
G94: 256-bit
128-bit
128-bit
Stream processors
48
16
G96: 96
G94: 48
320
320
ROP Units
8
8
12
16
16
Texture Filtering Units
16
8
48
32
32
Microsoft DirectX/Shader model10.1/4.1
10/410/4
10.1/4.110.1/4.1


Notice how both the GeForce GT 220 and GeForce 9600 GSO are vying for the same territory between the GeForce 9500 GT and GeForce 9600 GT. This is a very crowded segment right now. What's interesting is that Nvidia has been battling ATI's very compelling Radeon HD 4670 with the GeForce 9600 GSO up until now.

Now, the 9600 GSO is a great card, but it's often based on the larger 65nm G92 GPU or 55 nm G94 GPU. These higher-end pieces are not really able to make much margin in the low-end market segment. The GeForce 9600 GSO is consequently the only card in this neighborhood that requires a discrete PCI Express (PCIe) power cable to supplement its slot, and the card isn't nearly as efficient as competing products in this price segment. On the bright side, it's the only competing card with a 192 or 256-bit memory interface, so it can handle memory-intensive tasks like anti-aliasing a little better.

With this in mind, our feeling is that Nvidia is hoping the new GeForce GT 220 (specifically, the GDDR3 flavor) will be able to replace the more expensive to manufacture GeForce 9600 GSO as its Radeon HD 4670-fighter. This is something to keep in mind when we're looking at the benchmarks. In addition, the DDR2 version of the GeForce GT 220 will probably butt heads with the Radeon HD 4650, in addition to its GeForce 9500 GT GDDR3 predecessor.

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Top Comments
  • 27 Hide
    kalliman , October 12, 2009 7:12 AM
    Too late for nVidia. They should release these cards 1 year ago...
  • 24 Hide
    lashabane , October 12, 2009 7:35 AM
    And to answer your question - No, it cannot play Crysis.
  • 23 Hide
    apache_lives , October 12, 2009 8:10 AM
    idkwhy do i feel like mac?


    because they cant play crysis either?
Other Comments
  • 27 Hide
    kalliman , October 12, 2009 7:12 AM
    Too late for nVidia. They should release these cards 1 year ago...
  • 0 Hide
    ColMirage , October 12, 2009 7:13 AM
    Soooo tiny itsy bitsy!
  • -8 Hide
    lemonade4 , October 12, 2009 7:25 AM
    This is a nice article that points out nVidia's step into the development of 40nm chips for the market even though they didn't really cause any changes in the sub-$100 video card market. They just seemed to make it even more crowded. I can't wait for the GT300 reviews though. :) 
  • -1 Hide
    Proximon , October 12, 2009 7:30 AM
    They have a lot of loyal folks looking to save money these days, so they'll move some 220's. So fans will appreciate the cards.
  • 21 Hide
    apache_lives , October 12, 2009 7:30 AM
    hmmm i can see amd stomping this thing shortly with a DX11 part - kalliman is right, this is way too late in the market

    as for the gt300 - also bad news if the info i have heard is correct - 6 months away is not good for nvidia
  • 24 Hide
    lashabane , October 12, 2009 7:35 AM
    And to answer your question - No, it cannot play Crysis.
  • 1 Hide
    IzzyCraft , October 12, 2009 8:09 AM
    apache_liveshmmm i can see amd stomping this thing shortly with a DX11 part - kalliman is right, this is way too late in the marketas for the gt300 - also bad news if the info i have heard is correct - 6 months away is not good for nvidia

    The 210 220 i'm pretty sure are OEM parts this is more like a proof/test of what nvidia can do, then a market move. They are nothing more then media cards meant for random dell's/gateway random desktops for people who don't really know what's in their computers.
  • 23 Hide
    apache_lives , October 12, 2009 8:10 AM
    idkwhy do i feel like mac?


    because they cant play crysis either?
  • 3 Hide
    apache_lives , October 12, 2009 8:16 AM
    IzzyCraftThe 210 220 i'm pretty sure are OEM parts this is more like a proof/test of what nvidia can do, then a market move. They are nothing more then media cards meant for random dell's/gateway random desktops for people who don't really know what's in their computers.


    like nvidia 8300's and 9300's - never heard of them till i worked on a few HP's
  • 14 Hide
    scrumworks , October 12, 2009 8:17 AM
    This is the first time Tom's has run HAWX with DX10.1 support enabled. Those countless reviews with HD4xxx this support was not used. Does this imply something obvious?
  • 0 Hide
    cleeve , October 12, 2009 8:20 AM
    IzzyCraftThe 210 220 i'm pretty sure are OEM parts this is more like a proof/test of what nvidia can do, then a market move.


    They're retail now.

    Check Newegg, they can be purchased already. Today is the official launch of the retail cards, although they've been available for a few days now.
  • -3 Hide
    scrumworks , October 12, 2009 8:21 AM
    I forgot to add that article writer seems not to have any idea what DX10.1 is all about when running HAWX without AA. Let me clarify: DX10.1 is about improving AA performance.
  • 8 Hide
    americanbrian , October 12, 2009 9:10 AM
    Well scrumworks,

    Seeing as these cards cannot perform well on basic settings at low resolutions it would seem that enabling AA for these cards is a moot point.

  • 0 Hide
    stumpystumped , October 12, 2009 9:49 AM
    I don't see the point of these cards, 9500GT have similar power and performance and costs less. 9600GT green version would have similar power output but twice the performance of GT220 so again it's getting pwned.
  • 7 Hide
    shubham1401 , October 12, 2009 9:53 AM
    Fail!
  • -1 Hide
    JohnnyMash , October 12, 2009 10:48 AM
    "..the GT200 family's naming convention. Let's have a closer look at what they actually contain."

    Oh touchè! ;-)
  • -1 Hide
    liemfukliang , October 12, 2009 11:36 AM
    If only Nvidia have something to make consumen confuse like:
    Pure Video HD 4
    DX 11

    If not than I thing I will buy 9600 GT. Thank you....
  • 0 Hide
    izliecies , October 12, 2009 12:16 PM
    I think these cards need a passive cooling solution, especially for those used in HTPCs..
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