In the beginning there was the GeForce 8800 GT, and we were happy.

Then, we then got a faster version: the 8800 GTS 512MB. It was more expensive, but we were still happy.

And then it got complicated.

The original 8800 GT, well, it became the 9800 GT. Then they overclocked the 8800 GTS and it turned into the 9800 GTX. Now this made sense, but only if you ignored the whole this was an 8800 GT to begin with thing.

The trip gets a little more trippy when you look at what happened on the eve of the Radeon HD 4850 launch. NVIDIA introduced a slightly faster version of the 9800 GTX called the 9800 GTX+. Note that this was the smallest name change in the timeline up to this point, but it was the biggest design change; this mild overclock was enabled by a die shrink to 55nm.

All of that brings us to today where NVIDIA is taking the 9800 GTX+ and calling it a GeForce GTS 250.

Enough about names, here's the card:

You can get it with either 512MB or 1GB of GDDR3 memory, both clocked at 2.2GHz. The core and shader clocks remain the same at 738MHz and 1.836GHz respectively. For all intents and purposes, this thing should perform like a 9800 GTX+.

If you get the 1GB version, it's got a brand new board design that's an inch and a half shorter than the 9800 GTX+:


GeForce GTS 250 1GB (top) vs. GeForce 9800 GTX+ (bottom)

The new board design isn't required for the 512MB cards unfortunately, so chances are that those cards will just be rebranded 9800 GTX+s.

The 512MB cards will sell for $129 while the 1GB cards will sell for $149.

 

While the GPU is still a 55nm G92b, this is a much more mature yielding chip now than when the 9800 GTX+ first launched and thus power consumption is lower. With GPU and GDDR3 yields higher, power is lower and board costs can be driven down as well. The components on the board draw a little less power all culminating in a GPU that will somehow contribute to saving the planet a little better than the Radeon HD 4850.


There's only one PCIe power connector on the new GTS 250 1GB boards

Note that you need to have the new board design to be guaranteed the power savings, so for now we can only say that the GTS 250 1GB will translate into power savings:


These are the biggest gains you'll see from this GPU today. It's still a 9800 GTX+.

Why NVIDIA Did It
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  • SiliconDoc - Wednesday, March 18, 2009 - link

    The cheapest 4870 1G at the egg right now is 194.99 + shipping and they go up well over $200 from there -

    The cheapest GTX260/216 at the egg right now is 179.99 + shipping.
    __________________________________-


    Now let's look further - in order ! (second # after rebate)
    4870 1g
    199.99
    199.99/169.99
    199.99/179.99
    214.99/194.99
    234.99/209.99
    239.99/214.99

    GTC260/216
    189.99/159.99
    208.99/189.99
    212.99/177.99
    229.99/199.99
    232.99/197.99
    234.99/214.99

    _______________________________

    Oh well, another red fantasiacal lie exploded all over the place, AGAIN.
    Reply
  • Griswold - Wednesday, March 04, 2009 - link

    It goes like this:

    8800GTS 512 -> 9800GTX(+) -> GTS250

    Weak, nvidia...
    Reply
  • Nfarce - Wednesday, March 04, 2009 - link

    When Uncle Sam gives me some of my money back in a few weeks, it will be spent on a mid-range i7 build. For months I debated two things in my GPU build spec: the less headaches of going Nvidia but paying more for less performance vs. ATI's more driver/support headaches but paying less for more (or in a few cases generally equal) performance. To this day there are a lot of Catalyst issues, especially in Crossfire. Even so, articles like this have helped push me over to a first time ATI/AMD GPU buyer. :) Reply
  • earthshaker87 - Monday, March 09, 2009 - link

    Dude just stick to Single GPU setup. Ive had 4 Cards from ATi now: 9550,X800GT,HD3850,HD4850. None of them gave me headaches at all. I think the drivers are working just fine for me. No one needs 2 GPUs, its a stupid buy really...you pay double for most of the time not double performance and get issues with it. Why do you need it if you can buy a perfectly capable Single Radeon 4850 for dirt cheap or if you got more cash get a GTX285 the top single GPU card, no problems and headaches or inconsistent FPS. Multi GPU splutions is just not perfect yet... Reply
  • Frallan - Wednesday, March 04, 2009 - link

    Please include the 4830 in some tests in the future - Im not personally interested but 2 or 3 of my friends and family has asked and i honestly dont know what to say. A 4830 is about 1k SEK in Sweden and a 4850 is around 1.4k (+40%) (also a Gigabyte 4850 with the Zalmann cooler is 1.6k SEK *sigh*).

    For me this segment is getting more imprtant as almost all ppl I know wants dedicated graphics but without splurging for the best.

    Reply
  • frozentundra123456 - Wednesday, March 04, 2009 - link

    In a way this just shows how strong the last generation of nvidia cards was, in that they can still compete with AMD. I definitely think the AMD naming scheme is much more straightforward (honest) than that of nvidis though. I have more of a problem with nvidia renaming a weak card with the latest model numbers such as the 8600GT which became the 9500GT which is now the GT120 or something. Someone who is not informed could easily think this is a high performace part due to the new model number, which it is not.
    What we really need is a benchmark of some sort to give relative performance like the windows experience index. That benchmark is really not useful now because even a midrange card rates the max in the windows experience index. Granted the relative performance varies from game to game, but some sort of performance index would give somewhat of a way to measure relative overall performance.
    Reply
  • Hrel - Thursday, March 05, 2009 - link

    The test you're looking for is called 3D Mark, and I keep messaging them about that asking them to include that test in their articles. Come one, join me in messaging them every day till they start to include that test! Reply
  • Adjudicator - Wednesday, March 04, 2009 - link

    Although the 1 GB Version of the GTS 250 looks "Further refined" (Shorter card length and requiring only 1 6 pin connector instead of two), It is practically the same card as the 1 GB version of 9800 GTX+ sold by eVGA.

    http://www.evga.com/products/moreInfo.asp?pn=01G-P...">http://www.evga.com/products/moreInfo.a...p;family...


    This shows that the "new" reference design was not really new after all; this design was already in existance before NVIDIA announced the release of the GTS250.

    To those who enquire if there will be a 512 MB version of the GTS 250 that needs only one 6 pin:

    eVGA had released a 9800+ 512 MB that uses the refined short PCB and 1 6 pin connector:

    http://www.evga.com/products/moreInfo.asp?pn=512-P...">http://www.evga.com/products/moreInfo.a...p;family...


    Even Gigabyte had released a 1 GB version of the 9800 GTX+ on a shortened PCB with one 6 pin, although it uses a non-reference cooling solution:

    http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Products/VGA/Products_O...">http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Products/VGA/Products_O....


    After all this rebadging of the G92b, I will not be surprised if NVIDIA's next move will be to release a 9800+ GX2 / GTS 250 GX2 rebranded as the GTS 255.


    Reply
  • SiliconDoc - Wednesday, March 18, 2009 - link

    I wonder if nvidia heard all the constant ragging women nagging endlessly about the names of their cards, and finally decided the line them up in the 100-200 etc nomenclature....
    And now, the bleeding, edgy, old, wrinkled, crybaby know it alls that demanded a proper naming scheme are getting the new name lineup and the very first thing they do is forget they are the ones that demanded it be done, and they whip out a supergigantic tampon and fill it full up to overflowing.
    There's not much blood left, you're all white as ghosts, in fact, you've been zombies for quite some time now.
    I hope you're enjoying it.
    Reply
  • XiZeL - Wednesday, March 04, 2009 - link

    FAIL!!!by nVidia Reply

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