While we've been holding our breath for a die-shrunk GT200, in the first announcement of something really new since the introduction of GT200, NVIDIA is promising a single card multi-GPU solution based on a GPU that falls between a GTX 260 core 216 and a GTX 280 in terms of performance. The fact that the first thing we hear after GT200 is another ultra high end launch is interesting. If the end result is pushing the GeForce GTX 260 under $200, and the GTX 280 under $300, then we can definitely get behind that: it would be sort of a midrange re-introduction by pushing current GT200 parts down in price. While we'd love to see parts from NVIDIA designed for budget minded consumers based on their new technology, the current direction does appear to be a viable alternative.

Image courtesy NVIDIA

To be fair, we don't know yet what is going to happen to GTX 260 and GTX 280 pricing. It is possible today, through combinations of instant and mail-in rebates, to find the GTX 260 for $200 and the GTX 280 for $300, but these are the exception rather than the rule. If pre-rebate pricing could fall to these levels and below, much of NVIDIA's lack in providing affordable pricing for their excellent technology will be fixed. Of course, this seems like a tough pill to swallow for NVIDIA, as the GT200 die is huge. Pricing these parts so low has to be really eating into their margins.

Image courtesy NVIDIA

And yes, this is a complete divergence from a hard launch. This announcement is antecedent to retail availability by exactly 3 weeks. Hardware will not be available until January 8th. While we are happy to talk about product whenever we are allowed, it is still our opinion that hard launches are better for everyone. Talking about something before it launches can (and has in the past with both ATI and NVIDIA) lead to changes before launch that reduce performance or completely eliminate products. Especially around holidays. This is the most tempting and worst time to announce a product without availability.

But be that as it may, we have the information and there's no reason to deny it to our avid readers just because we wish NVIDIA were acting more responsibly.

A Quick Look Under The Hood


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  • chizow - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    Well I do agree that the 295 preview is clearly a marketing ploy to sway holiday buyers to wait after New Year's. And I also agree that the GTX 295 isn't integral to NV's strategy, its just a band-aid with only 1 real purpose: to take back the single card crown. I don't think you can really fault Nvidia for that though, they're clearly very good at more than just designing GPUs.

    I also don't fault you for not condemning the 4870X2 soft launch as you were one of the few select sites to receive one. Obviously there's pressure in your business just as any other to not fall behind the competition. I just figured AT had changed their stance due to industry pressures, which is why I was surprised by some of the comments here.

  • SiliconDoc - Sunday, December 28, 2008 - link

    So for the endless thousands of people without 2 pci-e x16 slots on their motherboards, this was just a war for top crown with ATI ?
    I guess choice is a big fat zero in our new socialist economy.
    I suppose everyone here has 2 or 3 pci-e 16x slots on their motherboards.
    Yes, what a pig of a thing for NVidia to do, actually make a card that will offfer THE MAJORITY OF CONSUMERS WHO BOUGHT MOTHERBOARDS - the best possible framerates because they don't have 2 pci-e 16x slots.
    What terrible crown freaks they are.
  • jordanclock - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    No, it is pathetic. Both companies have been doing just fine with hard launches in the past few years (I don't know if you recall the days of soft launches a month in advance of retail availability, or when an announced product never showed up at all) and for either company to take a step back with a paper launch is just stupid.

    If AMD did the same thing, I'm sure they would have been called stupid too. Rightfully so, I might add.

    My problem with this is that nVidia has yet to release a mid-range product in how long? The only way to get a mid-range card from nVidia is to buy the upper end of a previous generation. I would really like to see a release of sub-$200 MSRP 200-series card. That would be news worthy. Not another $500 card that even nVidia doesn't expect to sell all that well.
  • SiliconDoc - Friday, December 19, 2008 - link

    I'm just thrilled by the 3 week early release. I've been attacked relentlessly by red fanboys for merely telling the truth then providing the link.
    So the madder they are about a week early announcement, the happier I am. But that's not the only reason. Despite the redfans screaming unfair, and crying their base is going down unfairly by "marginalized" xmas purchases..LOL... I'd be one ticked off hombre' if NVidia kept their claptrap shut and on Jan. 8th announced their new 4870x2 killer - and of course if the whiners were honest about anything at all, they'ed say so as well. That ONE consideration outwieghs ANYTHING ELSE THEY WHINE ABOUT, PERIOD.
    So, I have to say there are so many I consider complete raving loons because they are so far off the mark they don't have even their own personal pocketbook in mind - which of course is akin to self immolation. Yes, they are fired up. Burning, burning down the house. They just forgot to step outside first, and remember, that my golly, that is their house they might be upgrading.
    So, I certainly HOPE that ATI releases a gigantic secret cheap upgrade card on Jan. 8th, after all the red fanboys splurged their xmas cookie monies on something that DIDN'T have a " early announced release that is "harmful" to the end user".
  • Mr Perfect - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    Yes, the lack of new cards below the 260 is disappointing. They have already renamed 8000 series parts to make the 9000 series parts, and there where reports of the 9000 series parts being renamed as GT 100 parts. Hopefully it was just a rumor.

    You know there is at least one poor sap out there who's going to replace his 8800GT with a 9800GT, and then upgrade again to a GTS 150. The last time you could make a whole chain of "upgrades" and get essentially the same thing was what? The GeForce 2MX/4MX/4000 string?
  • RagingDragon - Sunday, December 21, 2008 - link

    How about Geforce 7600 -> 8600 -> 9500? Reply
  • mczak - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    A GeForce 4 MX is in no way a renamed 2 MX. While true it doesn't have the feature set of "real" GeForce 4 it is indeed a very different chip than 2 MX (with faster performance). Reply
  • StevoLincolnite - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    The Geforce 4 MX was basically a Geforce 2 on Steroids, with it's enhanced memory controller and advanced (For back then) bandwidth saving technology's.

    Dual-monitor support, and a multi-sampling anti-aliasing unit from the Ti series; the improved 128-bit DDR memory controller which was crucial to solving the bandwidth limitations that appeared on the GeForce 2 chips.

    It allowed gamers to play games on the Geforce 4 MX that was originally almost un-playable on a Geforce 2.

    It was also eventually released with PCI-E support and a wider memory bus, funny thing was how the card out-performed the Geforce FX5200 despite having an inferior feature set.
  • larson0699 - Friday, December 19, 2008 - link

    P.I. and way overborrowed from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GeForce_4_Series">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GeForce_4_Series

    In architecture, the 4MX was an original design, not a rebrand as in 8800/9800. For need of a reasonable depiction of its features, however, it *is* most closely related to the 2Ti and performs almost proportionally better (which would lead some to think of it as a derivative).

    The refresh in 2004 put this GPU on a PCI-E card with a bridge chip in between, which I wouldn't call "PCI-E support". It's a damn smart move economically when you're trying to sell the rest of your chips during a transition to a new platform, but I know not a single being who ever splurged on such a mediocre design (at least not the PCX series -- I've got a fried 6600 AGP in my hands from someone who didn't know the wiser).

    And I don't know where you're getting your data, but the FX5200 dusted the MX440 by about 2:1 in most of everything. I had a Radeon 8500 once and was playing on a LAN alongside a buddy with a Radeon 7500, and his card outperformed mine because it wasn't rendering everything mine was. But when I disabled the difference in effects, my card was well ahead. When I hear of an inferior new GPU, I think GMA 3100 < GMA 950, not this.

    Besides, GP's point wasn't about the GF4 but rather the twisted path of "upgrades" we're seeing more and more.

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