Conclusion

There’s really no way to sugar-coat this, so we won’t: the performance of the GT 220 is abysmal. Or rather, the pricing is.

The GT 220 is a value card, and that’s something we can appreciate. But for a value card to be a good value, it needs to be at the right price. NVIDIA wants to see these cards sell for $69-$79, with the best cards (those with GDDR3) selling at that $79 price point. However depending on your taste for rebates, we can get a Radeon HD 4670 for between $59 and $69, or on the NVIDIA side a 9600GT for between $69 and $85.

Either one of these cards is simply going to beat the GT 220 silly; it was never meant to compete with a 64SP NVIDIA card, or a 320SP AMD card. And don’t even get us started on the 4850 that Newegg is selling for $85 right now…

Certainly the GT 220 has some positive points. We’re glad to see that NVIDIA has finally ditched the S/PDIF cable and gone internal to enable additional HDMI audio formats, and the ability to finally offload MPEG-4 ASP decoding to the GPU is intriguing. Similarly we’re happy to see DirectX 10.1 support arrive on an NVIDIA part, and the 7W idle power usage on this card is amazing.

But so many of these things are just catching up – AMD had a card that could do DX10.1 and additional HDMI audio formats a year ago. The only thing NVIDIA has going right now is that they’re benefitting from this being a 40nm product, thanks to the lower power usage and lower production costs.

Ultimately we think this has the makings of a very good HTPC card. It’s the quietest actively cooled card we have, it runs cool, and it’s the only thing that can offload MPEG-4 ASP (or at least, will be once support is enabled). But we just can’t justify paying this much more for less performance, especially when there are passively cooled 4670s that can meet/beat the GT 220’s acoustic performance. It’s frustrating to see what’s going to be a very good HTPC card price itself right out of the market.

At the end of the day the GDDR3 GT 220s need to be priced at under $60 to be performance competitive with existing AMD and NVIDIA cards. And the cards with slower memory should be priced even lower (then again, when did memory configurations ever make sense at the low-end?). But at this point such a thing is basically a pipe dream.

As for the Palit GT 220 Sonic Edition that we’re looking at today, Palit really can’t do anything to escape the GT 220’s larger problems. With its slight factory overclock it’s going to be among the fastest GT 220 cards, but it’s a bit like being the king of a desert island. It will get you respect, but it doesn’t mean that very many people are going to want what you have.

This is turning out to be a rough fall for NVIDIA. AMD has them undoubtedly beat in price-to-performance on the high-end of the market. And with today’s launch of the GT 220, it looks like AMD has them beat on the low-end too. There are very few NVIDIA cards that offer the right level of price and performance right now; the GT 220 is not one of those cards.

We’d like to once again thank Palit for providing us with their GT 220 Sonic Edition for today’s launch

Temperature & Noise
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  • Ryan Smith - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    I don't have that information at this moment. However this is very much the wrong card if you're going scientific work for performance reasons. Reply
  • apple3feet - Wednesday, October 14, 2009 - link

    Well, as a developer, I just need it to work. Other machines here have TESLAs and GTX280s, but a low end cool running card would be very useful for development machines.

    I believe that the answer to my question is that it's 1.2 (i.e. everything except double precision), so no good for me.
    Reply
  • jma - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    Ryan, if you run 'deviceQuery' from the Cuda SDK, it will tell you all there is to know.

    Another goodie would be 'bandwidthTest' for those of us who can't figure out the differences between various DDR and GDDR's and what the quoted clocks are supposed to imply ...
    Reply
  • vlado08 - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    My HD 4670 idles in 165MHz core and 249,8MHz memoy clock and GPU temps 36-45 degrees(passively cooled) as reported by GPU-Z 0.3.5 Is there a possibility that your card didn't lower it's clock during idle? Reply
  • vlado08 - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    My question is to Ryian of course. Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    Yes, it was idling correctly. Reply
  • KaarlisK - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    The HD4670 cards differ.
    I've bought three:
    http://www.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=Z9qnCFnOUNDM...">http://www.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=Z9qnCFnOUNDM...

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

    http://www.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=g6LDXHUo0EzV...">http://www.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=g6LDXHUo0EzV...

    The first one would idle at 0.9v.
    The second would idle at 1.1v. When I edited the BIOS for lover idle voltages, I could not get it to be stable.

    The third one turned out to have a much cheaper design - not only did it have slower memory, it had no voltage adjustments and idles at 1.25v (but the correct idle frequency).
    Reply
  • vlado08 - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    Are GT 220 capable of DXVA decoding of h.264 at High Profile Level 5.1?
    And videos wiht more than 5 reference frames. Because ATI HD4670 can only do High Profile (HiP) Level 4.1 Blu-ray compatible.
    Also what is the deinterlacing on GT 220 if you have monitor and TV in extended mode? Is it vector adaptive deinterlacing?
    These questions are important for this video card because it is obvious that it is not for gamer but for HTPC.
    On HD 4670 when you have one monitor then you have vector adaptive deinterlacing but if you have two monitors or monitor and TV and they are in extended mode then you only have "bob" deinterlacing.
    I'm not sure if this is driver bug or hardware limitation.
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    I have another GT 220 card due this week or early next. Drop me an email; if you have something I can use to test it, I will gladly try it out. I have yet to encounter anything above 4.1 though; it seems largely academic. Reply
  • MadMan007 - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    So my inner nerd that just has to know is confused. Are these truly GT200-based or G9x-based? Different sources say different things. In a way the GT200 series was an improvement on G9x anyway but with enough significant low level changes to make it different. The article calls these GT200 *series* but that could be in name only. It's not clear if that means smaller process cut down die GT200-based or added feature G9x-based.

    Inquiring nerds want to know!
    Reply

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