I'm not really sure why we have NDAs on these products anymore. Before we even got our Radeon HD 4890, before we were even briefed on it, NVIDIA contacted us and told us that if we were working on a review to wait. NVIDIA wanted to send us something special.

Then in the middle of our Radeon HD 4890 briefing what do we see but a reference to a GeForce GTX 275 in the slides. We hadn't even laid hands on the 275, but AMD knew what it was and where it was going to be priced.

If you asked NVIDIA what the Radeon HD 4890 was, you'd probably hear something like "an overclocked 4870". If you asked AMD what the GeForce GTX 275 was, you'd probably get "half of a GTX 295".

The truth of the matter is that neither one of these cards is particularly new, they are both a balance of processors, memory, and clock speeds at a new price point.

As the prices on the cards that already offered a very good value fell, higher end and dual GPU cards remained priced significantly higher. This created a gap in pricing between about $190 and $300. AMD and NVIDIA saw this as an opportunity to release cards that fell within this spectrum, and they are battling intensely over price. Both companies withheld final pricing information until the very last minute. In fact, when I started writing this intro (Wednesday morning) I still had no idea what the prices for these parts would actually be.

Now we know that both the Radeon HD 4890 and the GeForce GTX 275 will be priced at $250. This has historically been a pricing sweet spot, offering a very good balance of performance and cost before we start to see hugely diminishing returns on our investments. What we hope for here is a significant performance bump from the GTX 260 core 216 and Radeon HD 4870 1GB class of performance. We'll wait till we get to the benchmarks to reveal if that's what we actually get and whether we should just stick with what's good enough.

At a high level, here's what we're looking at:

  GTX 285 GTX 275 GTX 260 Core 216 GTS 250 / 9800 GTX+
Stream Processors 240 240 216 128
Texture Address / Filtering 80 / 80 80 / 80 72/72 64 / 64
ROPs 32 28 28 16
Core Clock 648MHz 633MHz 576MHz 738MHz
Shader Clock 1476MHz 1404MHz 1242MHz 1836MHz
Memory Clock 1242MHz 1134MHz 999MHz 1100MHz
Memory Bus Width 512-bit 448-bit 448-bit 256-bit
Frame Buffer 1GB 896MB 896MB 512MB
Transistor Count 1.4B 1.4B 1.4B 754M
Manufacturing Process TSMC 55nm TSMC 55nm TSMC 65nm TSMC 55nm
Price Point $360 ~$250 $205 $140


  ATI Radeon HD 4890 ATI Radeon HD 4870 ATI Radeon HD 4850
Stream Processors 800 800 800
Texture Units 40 40 40
ROPs 16 16 16
Core Clock 850MHz 750MHz 625MHz
Memory Clock 975MHz (3900MHz data rate) GDDR5 900MHz (3600MHz data rate) GDDR5 993MHz (1986MHz data rate) GDDR3
Memory Bus Width 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit
Frame Buffer 1GB 1GB 512MB
Transistor Count 959M 956M 956M
Manufacturing Process TSMC 55nm TSMC 55nm TSMC 55nm
Price Point ~$250 ~$200 $150


We suspect that this will be quite an interesting battle and we might have some surprises on our hands. NVIDIA has been talking about their new drivers which will be released to the public early Thursday morning. These new drivers offer some performance improvements across the board as well as some cool new features. Because it's been a while since we talked about it, we will also explore PhysX and CUDA in a bit more depth than we usually do in GPU reviews.

We do want to bring up availability. This will be a hard launch for AMD but not for NVIDIA (though some European retailers should have the GTX 275 on sale this week). As for AMD, we've seen plenty of retail samples from AMD partners and we expect good availability starting today. If this ends up not being the case, we will certainly update the article to reflect that later. NVIDIA won't have availability until the middle of the month (we are hearing April 14th).

NVIDIA hasn't been hitting their launches as hard lately, and we've gotten on them about that in past reviews. This time, we're not going to be as hard on them for it. The fact of the matter is that they've got a competitive part coming out in a time frame that is very near the launch of an AMD part at the same price point. We are very interested in not getting back to the "old days" where we had paper launched parts that only ended up being seen in the pages of hardware review sites, but we certainly understand the need for companies to get their side of the story out there when launches are sufficiently close to one another. And we're certainly not going to fault anyone for that. Not being available for purchase is it's own problem.

From the summer of 2008 to today we've seen one of most heated and exciting battles in the history of the GPU. NVIDIA and AMD have been pushing back and forth with differing features, good baseline performance with strengths in different areas, and incredible pricing battles in the most popular market segments. While AMD and NVIDIA fight with all their strength to win customers, the real beneficiary has consistently been the end user. And we certainly feel this launch is no exception. If you've got $250 to spend on graphics and were wondering whether you should save up for the GTX 285 or save money and grab a sub-$200 part, your worries are over. There is now a card for you. And it is good.

New Drivers From NVIDIA Change The Landscape


View All Comments

  • SiliconDoc - Friday, April 24, 2009 - link

    I agree but you'll never get that here since ati gets stomped in fs9 and fsx even more.
    This is red rooster ragers central - at the reviewer level for now.
    Put in the acelleration pack, and go for nvidia - the GT200 chips do well in FS9 - and dual is out for FSX so....
    A teenage friend just got a 9800GTX (evga egg) and is running ddr800 2 gigs with a 3.0 P4 HT, on a G35 Asrock and gets 25-30 fps in FSX on a 22" flat Acer with everything cranked.
    He oc'ed the cpu to 3.4 and pulled like 5 more frames per.
    That's what he wanted, very playable on ultra - on his former 8600GTS he couldn't even give it a go for fsx.
    However, moving up from 8800 I'm not certain what the gain is specifically. I've seen one or two reviews on HardOcp for fsx with a few cards. Try them.
  • 8KCABrett - Friday, May 8, 2009 - link

    Well, now that I've picked up a GTX 285SC, I've done some rudimentary benchmark comparisons between it and my 8800GTS in FSX and IL-2. I will add BlackShark results soon as well.

  • SiliconDoc - Monday, June 22, 2009 - link

    Very interesting, and not a great increase - Tom's lists FSX benchies in most of his card charts - the 9800GTX+ is way up there(3rd I believe), as are some of the 8800 series.
    It's weird.
    The old HD2900 (pro even) does well with a good overclock - even the strange saphhire version which was 256 bit with 320 shaders - on a 25% oc it makes FSX quite playable. ( another friend on an E4500 w 4gigs/800).
    I saw the ati1950XTX at hard does pretty well - well the 1950GT does NOT.
    That 8800 chip is still - well, if not the best, still darn close.
  • lk7900 - Monday, April 27, 2009 - link

    Can you please die? Prefearbly by getting crushed to death, or by getting your face cut to shreds with a

    I hope that you get curb-stomped, f ucking retard

    Shut the *beep* up f aggot, before you get your face bashed in and cut
    to ribbons, and your throat slit.


    I wish you a truly painful, bloody, gory, and agonizing death, *beep*
  • lk7900 - Monday, April 27, 2009 - link

    http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3539...">http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3539... Reply
  • asq - Monday, April 13, 2009 - link

    My friend working for Anandtech and told me that ATI paying for articles good for them and in disadvantageous to Nvidia..what we can clearly see in that article.. Reply
  • lk7900 - Monday, April 27, 2009 - link

    Die of aids moron. Reply
  • SiliconDoc - Friday, April 24, 2009 - link

    Ahh, yeah well people have to get paid.
    It's nice to see the reaction there from the red rooster though, huh - cheering it on while he spews his brainwashed communist-like hatred of nvidia.
    It's amazing.
    Good for you noticing, though.
  • joeysfb - Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - link

    I don't hate Nvidia. I own 5 nvidia cards and 1 ati card. I m buying what gives me the best value. To me, its ATI for now. I think AnandTech did a good job reporting on matter the happens behind the scene. They just report it and it up to individual to form their own thoughts.

    You obviously only buy Nvidia which is good... no fuss on deciding on what to get next!! hahaha....
  • SiliconDoc - Monday, June 22, 2009 - link

    Well incorrect entirely. They didn't do a good job reporting on behind the scenes, because they left out the ATI prodding and payment parts.
    Furthermore, ati is still in a world of hurt losing billions in consecutive years.
    See, that's what really happened. ATI fell off the gaming fps wagon, and only recently got their act back together. They shouldn't be praised, they should be insulted for blowing competition for so long.
    If you're going to praise them, praise them for losing 33% on every card they sell, in order to have that 5-10 dollar pricepoint advantage, because if ati were to JUST BREAK EVEN, they'ed have to raise all their gaming cards prices about $75 EACH.
    So they're losing a billion a year... by destroying themselves.
    Nvidia has made a profit all along, however. I think the last quarter they had a tiny downturn - while ati was still bleeding to death.
    PRAY that Obama and crew has given or will give ati a couple billion in everyone else's tax money and inflation for everyone printed out of thin air dollars, to save them. You better so, or for a multi-billion dollar sugar daddy corporateer.

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