Honestly, I’m not sure what Nvidia was thinking with this one. Surely, its competitive analysis team ran these very same benchmarks and found the GeForce GTX 465 and Radeon HD 5830 trading blows. Surely, the same group of folks hopped online and saw Radeon HD 5830s selling for $220, going as low as $199 with rebates. How, then, did they decide that $279 was a good starting point for suggested pricing?
With Radeon HD 5850s available at $289, just $10 more, that’s unquestionably the route we’d take today.
|Top-To-Bottom GeForce Product Line-up|
|GeForce GTX 480||GF100|
|GeForce GTX 470||GF100|
|GeForce GTX 465||GF100|
|GeForce GTX 260||GT200|
|GeForce GTS 250||G92b|
|GeForce 9800 GT||G92|
|GeForce GT 240||GT215|
|GeForce GT 220||GT216|
|GeForce 9500 GT||G96|
Now, Nvidia is banking on its tessellation performance as the value-add that wins over enthusiasts, citing Metro 2033 as the poster child for what games of the future will look like. But as I demonstrated here, Metro is a beast when it comes to taxing graphics subsystems. At 1680x1050, a single Radeon HD 5870 verges on unplayable, even without MSAA turned on.
Also in Nvidia’s list of extras that AMD doesn’t have are 3D Vision, PhysX support, and CUDA. To that we’d add Blu-ray 3D support, since we know that Nvidia is going to be the only way to go, at least for a while, if you want Blu-ray 3D on your PC. Naturally, the importance of each of these varies by user—there will undoubtedly be folks who swear by stereoscopic gaming, and those who regularly utilize CUDA acceleration for transcoding tasks.
Playing devil’s advocate, there are also going to be the enthusiasts who place a higher value on AMD’s Eyefinity support and ability to bitstream DTS-HD Master and Dolby TrueHD to their HTPC. We can’t make that call for you.
Make no mistake about it: we’ve talked to architects at both Nvidia and AMD in depth; there is no doubt that the engineers designing the GPUs at both companies are brilliant individuals with a laser sight on what they’re trying to achieve. At the same time, it’s hardly a secret that Nvidia is struggling with the execution of this product generation.
GF100 is a 512-shader GPU, and the GeForce GTX 465 employs a version with 160 of those shaders turned off. We’re getting close to the point where we would have hoped to see a derivative GPU rather than a 3 billion transistor monster pared back, yet still expensive for Nvidia to manufacture. Perhaps that’s the impetus behind the $279 price tag.
Regardless, though, if you belong to the group of enthusiasts who was spoiled by $200 Radeon HD 4890s and still remembers when GeForce GTX 260s sat around $150, the GeForce GTX 465 is an expensive piece of hardware, relatively. Until DirectX 11 becomes a must-have feature for you, the best of last generation is still very much viable for gaming versus today’s derivative models.