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Basic Guide on Nvidia Geforce video cards of Fall/Winter 2009

Which video card do you plan on having by the end of 2009?


  • Total voters
    58
  • Poll closed .

Bo_Fox

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#1
A quick review of today's cards to buy (768MB, 896MB, and 1GB configurations for all versions will be compared against each other):



(UPDATE: those earlier versions still good by today's standards--those that could be found on Ebay or from sellers/traders on the forums, I'll now include them in the below list, starting now:

Geforce 8800GTX : 576 MHz core, 128 1,352 MHz shaders, 32 TMU's (~ 10% less shader+texel rate than 9800GT), 24 ROP's, 86 GB/s (result: 17% faster than 9800GT overall)

Geforce 8800 Ultra : 612 MHz core, 128 1,512 MHz shaders, 32 TMU's (roughly equal shader+texel rate as 9800GT), 24 ROP's, 104 GB/s (result: 25% faster than 9800GT overall)

Geforce 8800GTS (G92) 1GB : 650 MHz core, 128 1,625 MHz shaders, 32/64 TMU's (~ 23% more shader+texel rate than 9800GT), 16 ROP's, 62 GB/s (result: 14% faster than 9800GT overall) (note, low GB/s and ROP's) (rare version for 1GB, though!)

___

Geforce 9800GT : 600 MHz core, 112 1,500 MHz shaders, 28/56 TMU's, 16 ROP's, 58 GB/s (note: bottlenecked by GB/s and ROP's too)

Geforce GTS 250: 738 MHz core, 128 1,836 MHz shaders, 32/64 TMU's (~ 40% more shader+texel rate than 9800GT), 16 ROP's, 70 GB/s (result: 31% faster than 9800GT overall) (also bottlenecked by GB/s and ROP's)

___

Geforce GTX 260: 576 MHz core, 192 1,242 MHz shaders, 32/64 TMU's (~ 30% more shader+texel rate than 9800GT), 28 ROP's, 112 GB/s (result: 45% faster than 9800GT overall)

Geforce GTX 260-216 (Core 216): Same as original GTX 260 but with 216 shaders and 36/72 TMU's (12.5% more shader+texel rate than GTX 260), (result: 60% faster than 9800GT overall)

___

Geforce GTX 275: 633 MHz core, 240 1,404 MHz shaders, 40/80 TMU's (~ 40% more shader+texel rate than GTX 260), 28 ROP's, 127 GB/s (result: 29% faster than GTX 260 overall)

Geforce GTX 280: 602 MHz core, 240 1,296 MHz shaders, 40/80 TMU's (~ 30% more shader+texel rate than GTX 260), 32 ROP's, 142 GB/s (result: 30% faster than GTX 260 overall)

Geforce GTX 285: 648 MHz core, 240 1,476 MHz shaders, 40/80 TMU's (~ 45% more shader+texel rate than GTX 260), 32 ROP's, 159 GB/s (result: 44% faster than GTX 260 overall)

___

(There are somewhat underclocked GTS 250 and 9800GT cards, so watch out for the numbers if you plan on buying one!! The GTX 295 is not detailed here, but it is ~10% faster than two GTX 260-216's in SLI. Also, a 9800GX2 would only be 5% slower than two 8800GTS-512's in SLI (the 9800GX2 would've been better with 2GB though).)


Enjoy the numbers!!!!

Try to get 55nm versions rather than 65nm versions of 9800GT or GTX 260 (including Core 216 revisions). 55nm versions are slightly newer, slightly more power efficient, and slightly more reliable/durable.

If choosing between a 9800GT and a GTS 250, it is highly recommended to go for a GTS 250 at a small additional price (of $20 or so). The performance difference is big enough to be rather noticeable in many of today's newer games.

Also, just avoid the 512MB version if you can. It hardly makes sense to buy a card with 512MB instead of 1GB if you plan on playing newer games for the next 1-2 years with the same video card (unless you will game at lower than 1680x1050). A 1GB version is usually only $20 more or so. At least 768 MB is great.

Try to avoid anything with a lower number than the 9800GT or GTS 250 (or at least a 9600GT which is about 15% slower than a 9800GT), if you plan on using the video card for more than 2 years, and still play games. Even if those cheaper video cards are newly released, they will have difficulty running some of today's demanding games at 1680x1050 resolution with normal or default settings. You would have to bother turning down the settings in Crysis, Neverwinter Nights 2, Stalker Clear Sky, etc.. with anything considerably slower than a 9800GT. With cards as bad as integrated graphics, you might not even be able to play some of the newer games at all.

Hope this post is helpful for newcomers who try to decide on which card to buy this year. Merry Christmas, y'all! :pimp:


(Here's a similar guide on ATI cards of 2009: http://forums.techpowerup.com/showthread.php?p=1648275 )

TPU has a wonderful performance summary (some numbers might be a bit different with 512MB versions--just add around 5% for 1GB versions):
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Powercolor/HD_5750_PCS/30.html
 
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Bo_Fox

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#2
Damn, I messed up with the poll and cannot edit it. There should be an option for "Other Geforce graphics"! Could an Admin mod it for me please???

(EDIT: Thanks for editing, W1zzard, you are the man!!!)
 
Last edited:
K

kyle2020

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#3
My 260 will be in my system long in to 2010, purely because im playing the generation game - im sticking 1 / 2 generations behind so I can nab some tasty hardware on the cheap when everyone goes for bleeding edge. Im thinking a 5850 around april / may time, who knows, Nvidia may re take the crown *giggles*.
 

aCid888*

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#4
My 260 will be in my system long in to 2010, purely because im playing the generation game - im sticking 1 / 2 generations behind so I can nab some tasty hardware on the cheap when everyone goes for bleeding edge. Im thinking a 5850 around april / may time, who knows, Nvidia may re take the crown *giggles*.
Pick up another 260 and go SLi with those sexy hacked drivers. :)




@ OP: Thanks for the post, it will help a lot of people I'm sure. :toast:
 
K

kyle2020

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#5
The drivers didnt work for me on dual 8800GT's, tried for 4 straight hours then gave up.

If anything a single 5850 will run cooler, more efficiently and as fast as dual 260's, so ill stick with that plan ;)
 
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#6
I'm sticking with my GTX 260 (216) since it plays my current games very well and there's no way I'm buying a new card until:

1. There's a profound reason software-wise to do so
2. Nvidia releases their new crop of cards
 
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#7
Can't wait to see what fermi will unleash!
 

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#8
Well I voted the ATI option because I'm really only thinking of the gaming rig, however since I have 3 rigs I split what used to my my main setup, GTX260+ 1972mb in SLi, into one for rigs 2 and 3 respectively.

SO I guess I'm still using them, cos I play GH on my pseudo server, but all intensive gaming, pretty much first person shooters, are all on the Main rig, with Le 587teh.
 
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#9
Voted GTX 295, my dual is too noisy im tired of it. Now i want the single PCB edition, runs smoother cooler silent and a little bit better ( +1 Fps in some games ).
Strange choice uh ?
 

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#10
Voted GTX 295, my dual is too noisy im tired of it. Now i want the single PCB edition, runs smoother cooler silent and a little bit better ( +1 Fps in some games ).
Strange choice uh ?
With the GT300 coming out so soon (and likely to be faster than GTX 295 overall), is it really worth the trouble? :eek:
 
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#11
With the GT300 coming out so soon (and likely to be faster than GTX 295 overall), is it really worth the trouble? :eek:
No problem, i start to change VGA like i change my underwear lol. I will buy also GT300.
 
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#12
i honestly think that the better question would be "Which video card do you plan on having by the end of 2010?"

but i put a gtx 285...cause thats what i have now
 

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#13
Hey guys, I updated the list with 8800GTX, 8800Ultra, and 8800GTS (G92) 1GB versions! Hope it's fun to read!!!
 

wolf

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#14
Geforce 8800 Ultra : 612 MHz core, 128 1,512 MHz shaders, 32 TMU's (~1% more shader+texel rate than 9800GT), 24 ROP's, 104 GB/s (result: 25% faster than 9800GT overall)

Geforce GTS 250: 738 MHz core, 128 1,836 MHz shaders, 32/64 TMU's (~ 40% more shader+texel rate than 9800GT), 16 ROP's, 70 GB/s (result: 30% faster than 9800GT overall) (also bottlenecked by GB/s and ROP's)
Doesn't seem to much that way given by this it outpaces a 8800Ultra by ~5% which has the more ROPS and memory bandwidth, they overcame that deficit by clocking the core and shaders higher, which would have been harder with more ROPS.

yes it would have helped to have more of either, but that may have made the higher clocking even harder, and would have certainly increased the cost, where G92 was meant to replace G80 as a cheaper variant with roughly the same performance.

Seems to me they did exactly what they set out to do.
 

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#15
^^ Yep, only roughly the same performance.

Nvidia could as well have a cost-effective solution to a 4870 and a 4890. If Nvidia made a GTS 250 with 384-bit bus and 24 ROP's just like the 8800GTX, the GTS 250 would've been neck-to-neck with a 4870 1GB if clocked at around 775-800MHz (and upwards of 2000MHz shaders), consuming less than 210W at the most. Well, I guess maybe 750MHz at 65nm process, but a tiny bit higher clock at 55nm. And Nvidia could also release a GTX 285 at 55nm process when ready, to beat ATI's "premature" counter with a 4890. That way, Nvidia could have covered all the segments (especially in being neck-to-neck with a 4870 for roughly 8 months or so). Oh well, that's what could've happened. What could've been.. Ohh.. it never happened! Never happened!
 

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#16
So basically shrink a G80 to 65 or 55nm? seems to be largely what you mean, that and maybe include the G92's awesome texturing ability they borrowed from G84.

I see the merit in this really, the 8800Ultra being 612 MHz core, 1,512 MHz shaders, could have maybe reached GTS250 clock speeds with a die shrink, vaulting it much closer to GT200 performance.

That was a big gripe of mine with GT200, slow clocks compared to G92, if GT200 were clocked like the GTS250 from the get go, we'd have seen awesome performance much closer to ATi's current RV870.
 
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#17
So basically shrink a G80 to 65 or 55nm? seems to be largely what you mean, that and maybe include the G92's awesome texturing ability they borrowed from G84.

I see the merit in this really, the 8800Ultra being 612 MHz core, 1,512 MHz shaders, could have maybe reached GTS250 clock speeds with a die shrink, vaulting it much closer to GT200 performance.

That was a big gripe of mine with GT200, slow clocks compared to G92, if GT200 were clocked like the GTS250 from the get go, we'd have seen awesome performance much closer to ATi's current RV870.
The problem is reality is never so ideal, such a large die like the GT200 has a hard time keeping power consumption and heat at bay.:ohwell:
Whats the point if they manage to clock the die high but comsume as much power as a 4870X2? (The power consumption really do suck on the R700)
 
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#18
I had the 8800 Ultra, a true monster, his strenght was the 384bit memory interface and selected high quality GDDR3 RAM.

That's why ATI has struggled for a year without being able to beat it.
 

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#19
A pair in SLi would still be a very formidable gaming setup.

I'd buy two just for the legacy aspect :)
 
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#20
I'm sticking with my GTX 260 (216) since it plays my current games very well and there's no way I'm buying a new card until:

1. There's a profound reason software-wise to do so
2. Nvidia releases their new crop of cards
Im doing the same as you but the ATI version.
I'm sticking with my ATI HD4870 since it plays my current games very well and there's no way I'm buying a new card until:

1. There's a profound reason software-wise to do so
2. I come upon some cash to spare for a new CPU and Mobo first.
 

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Software 2 partitions WinXP-32 on 2 drives per rig, 2 of Vista64 on 2 drives per rig
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#21
The problem is reality is never so ideal, such a large die like the GT200 has a hard time keeping power consumption and heat at bay.:ohwell:
Whats the point if they manage to clock the die high but comsume as much power as a 4870X2? (The power consumption really do suck on the R700)
Yep, that's right! I'm actually surprised that Nvidia pulled a GTX 295, with 28 memory chips and two monster dies. If it were 65nm, forget it!

I had the 8800 Ultra, a true monster, his strenght was the 384bit memory interface and selected high quality GDDR3 RAM.

That's why ATI has struggled for a year without being able to beat it.
And Nvidia was selling it for so well that they wanted to let the G80 stay at the top all the way until the "9800GTX", which still did not beat it despite being too late with the prices having dropped.

A pair in SLi would still be a very formidable gaming setup.

I'd buy two just for the legacy aspect :)
LOL.. cool! At idle, it'd eat electricity for breakfast, though!!! Like driving a 500-horsepower '66 Shelby Cobra with less than 10 miles per gallon!

Im doing the same as you but the ATI version.
I'm sticking with my ATI HD4870 since it plays my current games very well and there's no way I'm buying a new card until:

1. There's a profound reason software-wise to do so
2. I come upon some cash to spare for a new CPU and Mobo first.
Same here.. that's what I did. I went ahead and upgraded mobo/cpu's/memory to Core i7. Video cards will be next!
 
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#22
Just got a 9800 GT Eco today to complement my 1yo 9800 GT for F@H.
 

Bo_Fox

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#23
A G90 card that never existed: Nvidia's 9900GTX

Supposing that Nvidia knew very well that the 8800GT and then the 8800GTS-512MB would drive down the prices of 8800GTX that in a couple months it would fall from $500 to $300, Nvidia would've as well went ahead and called the 8800GT a 9700GT and the 8800GTS-512 a 9700GTS. The 9800GTX could've then been called the 9700GTX.

That would leave room for a true G90 to be called the 9800GTX. Well, if not a 9900GTX, but here will be the specifications and expected performance:

Geforce "9800GTX" (G90 on 65nm) 768MB : 675 MHz core, 128 1,688 MHz shaders, 32/64 TMU's (~ 29% more shader+texel rate than 9800GT), 24 ROP's, 106 GB/s (result: 43% faster than 9800GT overall)

Geforce "9900GTX" (G90 on 55nm) 768MB : 738 MHz core, 128 1,836 MHz shaders, 32/64 TMU's (~ 40% more shader+texel rate than 9800GT), 24 ROP's, 115 GB/s (result: 55% faster than 9800GT overall)

and there could also have been a 9900 Ultra with even higher clocks (eating around the same power as a GTX 275):

Geforce "9900 Ultra" (G90 on 55nm) 768MB : 780-800 MHz core, 128 1,940-2,000 MHz shaders, 32/64 TMU's (~ 50% more shader+texel rate than 9800GT), 24 ROP's, 119 GB/s (result: 65+% faster than 9800GT overall)

That 9900 Ultra above would have beaten a GTX 260 core 216 outright (by at least 5%). Although it would use the same 2484MHz GDDR3 memory as the GTX 285, it would still be much more cost-effective than producing a 55nm GTX 260-216. The G90 chip would have maybe 870 million transistors, less than a 4870 or 4890 (940m trannies), and still be a smaller chip. The memory bandwidth would've also been slightly better than a GTX 260, but the biggest gains would come from the sheer clock of the core and shaders. It is generally more beneficial to have a higher clock rather than more shader processor cores for the same GFLOPs output.

Nvidia could have continued to sell the 9900 Ultra today for well over $185, being a bit better than a 4870 1GB and roughly the same as a 4890. The GTX 280/285 could have been left alone at a higher premium (and a bit rarer also, since Nvidia was having those chips produced at a loss, at only $300-400 a pop, which should've been much more than that for several months). Heck, ATI would have known that they would have been unable to hurt Nvidia by lowering the prices, since Nvidia could produce as many of those smaller G90's at a low price and still do well. So ATI would have been less encouraged to lower the prices just to hurt Nvidia with their monster GT200 chips.

Nvidia would've also been able to release those 65nm versions of G90 a few months earlier than the GT200 which was delayed until ATI started selling RV770's. Nvidia could have also made GTX 260-216's as well, using slightly defective GT200 chips, but not have to rely on those monster GTX 260's to compete with the RV770. The 384-bit 9800GTX as speculated above could've maintained the $500-550 price bracket from April 2008 until July 2008 when the 4870 was released, but Nvidia did away with a pitiful G92 9800GTX for only $300 during that time period.

Summer 2008 - present was one of the hardest periods ever for Nvidia. Even though Nvidia remained in the lead with the fastest chips, Nvidia sold those GT200 chips at a loss. The bad economy made it even worse. Nvidia should never have to endure this kind of financial beating, and would have been much better off if they more "methodically" capitalized on the G90/G92 series with a bit higher voltage/clocks, 384-bit bandwidth, and 24 ROP's.

It's a pity that Nvidia never did this. Both 9900GTX and 9900 Ultra would have been hugely popular cards today.
 
Last edited:

Bo_Fox

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#24
Whaddya guys think of my above post on the "missing" 9900GTX / Ultra?!?
 

Bo_Fox

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Motherboard BL00DR4G3 and DFI UT-X58 T3eH8
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Case custom gutted-out painted black case, silver UV case, lots of aesthetics-souped stuff
Audio Device(s) Sonar X-Fi MB, Bernstein audio riser.. what??
Power Supply OCZ Fatal1ty 700W, Iceberg 680W, Fortron Booster X3 300W for GPU
Software 2 partitions WinXP-32 on 2 drives per rig, 2 of Vista64 on 2 drives per rig
Benchmark Scores 5.9 Vista Experience Index... yay!!! What??? :)
#25