Final Words

We tested seven games. AMD and NVIDIA split it, each winning three of them and virtually tied in the seventh. I hate to disappoint those looking for a one sided fight here, but this one is a wash. NVIDIA would want to point out that CUDA and PhysX are significant advantages that would put the Core 216 over the top but honestly there's no compelling application for either (much like the arguments for Havok and DirectX 10.1 from the AMD camp).

Our recommendation here is to first see if either card happens to run a game you care about better than the other, but if not then just buy whatever is cheaper. Today that would be the Radeon HD 4870, currently it's very tough to find stock-clocked Core 216s and those are priced above $300; even if we could find availability at $279, the 4870 is still cheaper. Until the price comes down, the Radeon HD 4870 still remains our pick at the $250 - $300 pricepoint. While NVIDIA has closed the performance gap, the part they used still maintains a price gap.

NVIDIA says they will have availability on the silicon but that only two manufacturers are going to have parts out of the gate on this, which does give us pause. If the GTX 260 had been originally released with 9 TPCs (216 SPs), then it would have been a better competitor to the Radeon HD 4870 and we wouldn't need this slight tweak of a readjusted part. It doesn't generally deliver near it's 12.5% maximum theoretical performance improvement, and really seems like its only a thinly attempt to win at a couple more benchmarks than usual.

Yes it does that, and yes the consumer does benefit even if the benefit is ever so slight. But what none of us benefit from is an over abundance of parts released at nearly the same price point with nearly the same name and nearly the same specs. NVIDIA really needs to stop this trend. ATI tried this a few generations ago, but thankfully (at least since the AMD merger) they seem to have cleaned up their act a bit. There is no reason to have a continuum of hardware with increasingly complex naming as the gaps between parts are filled in.

What we need is less confusion in the market place and a focus on fairly pricing competitive hardware. Trying to get around supply and demand by cluttering up the market with different parts that have similar names and slightly different pricing isn't a consumer friendly way to go.

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  • Hrel - Wednesday, November 12, 2008 - link

    If it's just a matter of enabling a TPC can't you just buy a GTX260 and enable the two off TPC's yourself to make it a GTX280??? Reply
  • gtotheb1 - Saturday, October 18, 2008 - link

    If this core 216 one replaces the old one what happens if i want to get sli with the old gtx 260 later on, would i just be screwed or, is this product just going to supplement the old gtx 260. Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Wednesday, September 24, 2008 - link

    Good grief why didnt they just name the product based on the number of stream processors. GTX216, GTX192, etc. No wonder they are losing so much money... Can you imagine how much money they spend coming up with these model numbers? That's who they should be firing... Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Saturday, September 20, 2008 - link

    http://www.fudzilla.com/index.php?option=com_conte...">http://www.fudzilla.com/index.php?optio...amp;task... Reply
  • MadBoris - Thursday, September 18, 2008 - link

    I think this card was a knee jerk reaction that NVIDIA should have passed on. It was a waste of resources, they had plenty of time to blow AMD out of the water since the 8800 but fell asleep at the wheel. This move seems like a petty attempt to put their card on equal footing at best. How about HDMI, display port, DDR4, something significant, etc.

    I like NVIDIA but they have to step up, not waste resources or shelf space with something that can only even the playing field, and not even at a price point.
    I think this product was a poor decision and a waste of resources when all focus could have been getting put into proper future products.

    This review was decent enough, I don't think much more effort was necessary to spend reviewing a product that didn't bring much to the table.

    Maybe someone will find a way to hack the card to enable that last TPC, maybe a bios or HW hack.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Thursday, September 18, 2008 - link

    "I think this card was a knee jerk reaction that NVIDIA should have passed on. It was a waste of resources, they had plenty of time to blow AMD out of the water since the 8800 but fell asleep at the wheel. This move seems like a petty attempt to put their card on equal footing at best. How about HDMI, display port, DDR4, something significant, etc. "

    You're kidding right ? So what you're saying is that nVidia should just toss out their defective 280 GPUs to "not waste resources" ? Of course I am guessing that this is what is actually going on, but it makes perfect sense to me that NV try and recover what they can cost wise.

    "think this card was a knee jerk reaction that NVIDIA should have passed on. It was a waste of resources, they had plenty of time to blow AMD out of the water since the 8800 but fell asleep at the wheel. This move seems like a petty attempt to put their card on equal footing at best. How about HDMI, display port, DDR4, something significant, etc. "

    Like I said above: if my assumption is correct nVidia is doing the right thing by them and their stock holders.
    Reply
  • a1yet - Wednesday, September 17, 2008 - link

    Why is there no longer video reviews on these cards ?
    Like a subjective review on how they do playing video, and cpu usage and such ?
    I miss seeing this info !
    Please start including it again, as it is a factor in my purchases.

    Peace

    .
    Reply
  • geok1ng - Wednesday, September 17, 2008 - link

    the 260 core 216 (OMG what long and senseless name!)competes with the 1GB version of the 4870.
    I am really inclined to believe that ATI is paying sites to review the 1GB version of 4870 at 1920x1200 or lower resolutions to avoid losing 4870X2 sales.
    Congratulations on AT for another great card review, but it is a shame that no 1GB 4870 numbers at 2560x1600 were in the roundup.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, September 18, 2008 - link

    Bottom of page 1 of the comments - Anand says they have not received 1GB test parts yet Reply
  • 7Enigma - Wednesday, September 17, 2008 - link

    Guys, I know you want to stay short and sweet with the summaries before each game but please try to actually summarize the data accurately. The Enemy Territory: Quake Wars is a glaring example. For the summary you say:

    "With our ET:QW bench, at 2560x1600, the Core 216 adds enough horse power to pull the NVIDIA card up to a tie with the 4870. Yes, there is a tenth of a frame difference here, but that's well within margin of error."

    But at both previous resolutions of 1680X1050 and 1920X1200 the 216 falls to the 3870 by 13% and 9% respectively. Yes once you get to the ungodly resolution of 2560X1600 (which I may ask why? since these are not high-end parts?!?) they pull even, but up until that point it's a pretty sound beating for the 216.

    I would ask that you change the summary to the effect of:

    "With our ET:QW bench, the 216 falls by double-digits to the 3870 at lower resolutions, but at 2560x1600, the Core 216 adds enough horse power to pull the NVIDIA card up to a tie with the 4870."

    That is a fully accurate summary that allows someone to get the gist of the data without having to trace all the broken-line graphs.

    One other little favor to ask. Could you please, PLEASE, keep the colors consistent between the line and bar graphs? On several occasions I was following the wrong line because the green bar is a different card than the green line. I'm sure it would take only a couple minutes, but it would really help the reader quickly go from chart to chart to see how a particular card fares at the reader's native resolution.

    Thanks again!
    Reply

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