Nvidia GeForce GTX 260/280 Review

The GeForce 200 GTX

A new generation, a new name. Using the “10,000” place for a series name seems to bother GPU manufacturers. Whereas ATI solved the problem by introducing Roman numerals, Nvidia has completely changed its card nomenclature. Now we have the GeForce 200 GTX. But there’s a question we just have to ask: What happened to the GeForce 100 GTX?

gtx 260 280

As we’ll see, Nvidia is introducing a new architecture, but they’re not exactly starting afresh. While the genesis of the G80 had started with a blank page, the architecture has proved to be extremely efficient. The goal for the GT200, then, was to correct all the architecture’s minor youthful errors and better equip the circuitry for the games of the future. Like what the G70 was to the NV40, what we have is a raft of small improvements, but above all a big leap in processing power.So, where the 8800 GTX offered a floating-point processing power of 518 GFlops, the GTX 280 has close to a Teraflop – an impressive 933 GFlops. And in reality, the spread is even wider, since that figure of 518 GFlops for the G80 is based on the execution of three floating-point operations per cycle (one MAD and one MUL) – which, due to the G80’s limitations, was impossible to achieve in practice. With the GT200, Nvidia guarantees, with tests to back them up, that those problems have been solved. To almost double the processing performance of its previous GPU, Nvidia substantially increased the number of multiprocessors – from 16 to 30.

Nvidia and AMD agree that the games of the future will need significantly higher arithmetical power compared to texturing power, and consequently it’s no surprise to see that the number of texture units shows a more modest increase. From 64 on the 9800 GTX, the GTX 280 has moved to 80 (and if you compare the 8800 GTX to the GTX 280 this time, we go from a theoretical arithmetic instructions / number of texels filtered ratio of 14.1:1 to 19.4:1). Let’s look at what that means right away.

  • BadMannerKorea
  • Lunarion
    what a POS, the 9800gx2 is $150+ cheaper and performs just about the same. Let's hope the new ATI cards coming actually make a difference
  • foxhound009
    woow,.... that's the new "high end" gpu????
    lolz.. 3870 x2 wil get cheaper... and nvidia gtx200 lies on the shelves providing space for dust........
    (I really expectede mmore from this one... :/ )
  • thatguy2001
    Pretty disappointing. And here I was thinking that the gtx 280 was supposed to put the 9800gx2 to shame. Not too good.
  • cappster
    Both cards are priced out of my price range. Mainstream decently priced cards sell better than the extreme high priced cards. I think Nvidia is going to lose this round of "next gen" cards and price to performance ratio to ATI. I am a fan of whichever company will provide a nice performing card at a decent price (sub 300 dollars).
  • njalterio
    Very disappointing, and I had to laugh when they compared the prices for the GTX 260 and the GTX 280, $450 and $600, calling the GTX 260 "nearly half the price" of the GTX 280. Way to fail at math. lol.
  • NarwhaleAu
    It is going to get owned by the 4870x2. In some cases the 3870x2 was quicker - not many, but we are talking 640 shaders total vs. 1600 total for the 4870x2.
  • MooseMuffin
    Loud, power hungry, expensive and not a huge performance improvement. Nice job nvidia.
  • compy386
    This should be great news for AMD. The 4870 is rumored to come in at 40% above the 9800GTX so that would put it at about the 260GTX range. At $300 it would be a much better value. Plus AMD was expecting to price it in the $200s so even if it hits low, AMD can lower the price and make some money.
  • vochtige
    i think i'll get a 8800ultra. i'll be safe for the next 5 generations of nvidia! try harder nv crew