The GeForce GTS 250 In Detail
BFG Shows Off Its GeForce GTS 250
As mentioned, the GTS 250 is a GeForce 9800+ by another name. Thus, its specifications should be easy to remember for anyone already familiar with Nvidia’s lineup.
Manufactured on TSMC’s 55 nm process, the card’s G92 GPU sports 754 million transistors and occupies 230 square millimeters of die space—less than half the size of the GT200. It features 128 unified shader processors, 64 texture units, and 16 ROPs.
Whereas most GeForce GTX 9800+ cards came with 512 MB of GDDR3 memory, reference GeForce GTS 250s will instead include 1 GB of GDDR3, according to sources at BFG and Zotac. Both the older and new G92-based boards employ a 256-bit memory bus, though.
A reference GTS 250 employs a 738 MHz core clock, 1,836 MHz shader clock, and 1.1 GHz (2.2 GHz effective) memory clock. But BFG sent us a sample of its GeForce GTS 250 OC Edition with a faster 750 MHz core and 1.12 GHz memory clock, while the shader clock remained unchanged.
|GeForce GTX 260 Core 216||GeForce GTS 250||GeForce GTX 9800+||Radeon HD 4870||Radeon HD 4850||Radeon HD 4830|
|Manufacturing Process||55 nm TSMC||55 nm TSMC||55 nm TSMC||55 nm TSMC||55 nm TSMC||55 nm TSMC|
|Core Clock||576 MHz||738 MHz||738 MHz||750 MHz||625 MHz||575 MHz|
|Shader Clock||1,242 MHz||1,836 MHz||1,836 MHz||750 MHz||625 MHz||575 MHz|
|Memory Clock||999 MHz GDDR3||1,100 MHz GDDR3||1,100 MHz GDDR3||900 MHz GDDR5||993 MHz GDDR3||900 MHz GDDR3|
|Frame Buffer||896 MB||1 GB||512 MB||512 MB||512 MB||512 MB|
|Memory Bus Width||448-bit||256-bit||256-bit||256-bit||256-bit||256-bit|
BFG’s card sports two dual-link DVI outputs. And while it supports HDMI output, enabling that feature requires an adapter and audio cable sold separately. It also supports two- and 3-way SLI out of the box; the requisite cables would be included with your SLI-capable motherboard.
Is This A Big Deal?
At this point, we can’t think of a graphics architecture that has been so re-used. But is that necessarily a bad thing, or a problem, for that matter?
Technologically, it isn’t an issue at all. None of Nvidia’s cards support DirectX 10.1, so it’s not like sticking to an older design has an adverse effect on what the GeForce GTS 250 can do versus its GT200-based big brothers. In fact, so long as performance goes up or sideways as price goes down, we don’t see an issue with the reintroduction of proven technology. Moreover, with software support for CUDA, PhysX, and 3D Vision enabled all the way down to GeForce 8-series GPUs (and PureVideo HD supported by everything down to 9-series GPUs), we see no reason to avoid the GTS 250 simply because it’s a rehash of the GeForce GTX 9800+.
The question changes when you look at it from a marketing angle, though. Officially, Nvidia is updating nomenclature to reflect the way its high-end cards (the GTX 260, 280, 285, and 295) are referenced. The GeForce GTS 250 is thus understood to be a more mainstream entry into that same lineup.
If you’re more cynical, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that launching the GTS 250 makes it appear (to the less-informed) Nvidia has been up to something in the mid-range market other than selling former flagships at reduced prices.
Indeed, while a new name for the same tech does open a door for confusion amongst mainstream customers, it’s worth noting that the GeForce GTX 9800+ is being end-of-life’d and should cease to be a redundancy in the company’s lineup soon enough.