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Zotac GTS250 1 GB (GeForce GTS 250 1,024 MB)

Mainstream Graphics Card Roundup

To see all photos in our gallery for this card, click on the image.

Zotac sent us a GeForce GTS 250 with 1,024 MB of graphics RAM and standard clock rates for testing. Above all, the extra RAM makes itself felt in Far Cry 2. At a resolution of 1920 x 1200 with 8X AA, frame rates double, putting it on par with a standard 9800 GTX+ with 512 MB. At 4X AA you’ll see an increase of 10 FPS vis-à-vis the reference card, although there isn’t much difference in other benchmarks.

This circuit board is large, at nearly 10.62" (27 cm). It uses an eight-pin PCIe connector, so a six- to eight-pin adapter is included in the retail box. The graphics chip supports DirectX 10 with Shader Model 4.0. In terms of overall performance, this card falls squarely in the middle of the pack. Those who want to game cheaply on 1680x1050 resolution monitors should look for G92 chips, which may be found in the GeForce 8800 GTS 512, the GeForce 9800 GTX, and now the GeForce GTS 250.

Zotac adopts the double-slot Nvidia reference cooler for this card. Because the GPU is fabricated using 55nm technology, cooling performance is very good. In a 2D environment, idle temperatures measure around 44°C/111.2° F. Under heavy load, those readings climb to 77° C/170.6° F. But noise output leaves something to be desired. While 39.6 dB(A) at 2D idle is acceptable, the 50.2 dB(A) we measured at heavy load is louder than most G92 cards. Even the 65 nm GeForce 8800 GTS 512 MB and the GeForce 9800 GTX models generate noise levels under 45 dB(A).

The retail box includes the aforementioned six to eight-pin power adapter, plus a DVI-to-HDMI adapter. An internal SPDIF cable handles the sound. You’ll also find optical media for the 3DMark Vantage Advanced Edition and the game XIII Century Death of Glory in the box as well.

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