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GeForce GT 220 And 210: DirectX 10.1 And 40nm Under $80

The Competition: Radeon HDs And GeForces

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 210GeForce 9400 GTGeForce 9500 GT DDR2Radeon HD 4350Radeon HD 4550
Fabrication Process40nm55nm55nm55nm55nm
Graphics Clock (Texture and ROP units)589 MHz550 MHz550 MHz600 MHz600 MHz
Processor Clock (Shader Units)1,402 MHz1,350 MHz1400 MHzN/AN/A
Memory Clock (Clock Rate/Data Rate)500 MHz400 MHz500 MHz400 MHz800 MHz
Memory Interface64-bit128-bit128-bit64-bit64-bit
Stream Processors1616328080
ROP Units48844
Texture Filtering Units881688
Microsoft DirectX/Shader model10.1/4.110/410/410.1/4.110.1/4.1

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 220GeForce 9500 GT DDR3GeForce 9600 GSORadeon HD 4650Radeon HD 4670
Fabrication Process40nm55nmG96: 65nmG94: 55nm55nm55nm
Graphics Clock (Texture and ROP units)615 MHz550 MHz550 MHz600 MHz750 MHz
Processor Clock (Shader Units)1,566 MHz1,400 MHz1,375 MHzN/AN/A
Memory Clock (Clock Rate/Data Rate)800 MHz800 MHz800 MHz400 MHz1000 MHz
Memory Interface128-bit128-bitG96: 192-bit/128-bitG94: 256-bit128-bit128-bit
Stream processors4816G96: 96G94: 48320320
ROP Units88121616
Texture Filtering Units168483232
Microsoft DirectX/Shader model10.1/4.110/410/410.1/4.110.1/4.1

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.

  • kalliman
    Too late for nVidia. They should release these cards 1 year ago...
    Reply
  • ColMirage
    Soooo tiny itsy bitsy!
    Reply
  • lemonade4
    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. :)
    Reply
  • Proximon
    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.
    Reply
  • apache_lives
    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
    Reply
  • lashabane
    And to answer your question - No, it cannot play Crysis.
    Reply
  • why do i feel like mac?
    Reply
  • IzzyCraft
    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 nvidiaThe 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.
    Reply
  • apache_lives
    idkwhy do i feel like mac?
    because they cant play crysis either?
    Reply
  • apache_lives
    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
    Reply