There are some things you just don’t talk about among polite company. Politics, money, and apparently OEM-only GPUs. Back in July NVIDIA launched their first 40nm GPUs, and their first GPUs featuring DX10.1 support; these were the GeForce GT 220 and G 210. And if you blinked, you probably missed it. As OEM-only parts, these went into the OEM channel without any fanfare or pageantry.

Today that changes. NVIDIA is moving the GT 220 and G 210 from OEM-only sales to retail, which means NVIDIA’s retail vendors can finally get in on the act and begin selling cards. Today we are looking at one of the first of those cards, the Palit GT 220 Sonic Edition.

Form Factor 9600GT 9600GSO GT 220 (GDDR3) 9500GT G 210 (DDR2)
Stream Processors 64 48 48 32 16
Texture Address / Filtering 32 / 32 24 / 24 16 / 16 16 / 16 16 / 16
ROPs 16 16 8 8 8
Core Clock 650MHz 600MHz 625MHz 550MHz 675MHz
Shader Clock 1625MHz 1500MHz 1360MHz 1400MHz 1450MHz
Memory Clock 900MHz 900MHz 900MHz 400MHz


Memory Bus Width 256-bit 128-bit 128-bit 128-bit 64-bit
Frame Buffer 512MB 512MB 512MB 512MB 512MB
Transistor Count 505M 505M 486M 314M 260M
Manufacturing Process TSMC 55nm TSMC 55nm TSMC 40nm TSMC 55nm TSMC 40nm
Price Point  $69-$85  $40-$60 $69-$79  $45-$60 $40-$50

GT 220 and G 210 are based on the GT216 and GT218 cores respectively (anyone confused yet?) which are the first and so far only 40nm members of NVIDIA’s GT200 family. These are specifically designed as low-end cards, with 48 SPs on the GT 220, and 16 SPs on the G 210. The GT 220 is designed to sit between the 9500GT and 9600GT in performance, making its closest competitor the 48SP 9600GSO. Meanwhile the G 210 is the replacement for the 9400GT.

We will see multiple configurations for each card, as NVIDIA handles low-end parts somewhat looser than they do the high-end parts. GT 220 will come with DDR2, DDR3, or GDDR3 memory on a 128bit bus, with 512MB or 1GB of it. So the memory bandwidth of these cards is going to vary wildly; the DDR2 cards will be 400MHz and the GDDR3 cards may go as high as 1012MHz according to NVIDIA’s specs. G 210 meanwhile will be DDR2 and DDR3 only, again going up to 1GB. With a 64bit memory bus, it will have half the memory bandwidth of GT 220.

The GPU configurations will vary too, but not as wildly. NVIDIA’s official specs call for a 625MHz core clock and a 1360MHz shader clock. We’ve seen a number of cards with a higher core clock, and a card with a lower shader clock. Based on the card we have, we’re going to consider 635Mhz/1360Mhz stock for the GPU, and 900MHz stock for GDDR3, and test accordingly.

The transistor count for the GT218 die comes out to 260M, and for GT216 it’s 486M. NVIDIA would not disclose the die size to us, but having disassembled our GT 220, we estimate it to be around 100mm2. One thing we do know for sure is that along with the small die, NVIDIA has managed to knock down power consumption for the GT 220. At load the card will draw 58W, at idle it’s a tiny 7W. We don’t have the power data for the G 210, but it’s undoubtedly lower.

The prices on GT 220 cards are expected to range between $69 and $79, with the cards at the top end being those with the best RAM. This puts GT 220 in competition with AMD’s Radeon HD 4600 series, and NVIDIA’s own 9600GT. The G 210 will have an approximate price of $45, putting it in range of the Radeon HD 4300/4500 series, and NVIDIA’s 9500GT. The GT 220 in particular is in an odd spot: it’s supposed to underperform the equally priced (if not slightly cheaper) 9600GT. Meanwhile the G210 is supposed to underperform the 9500GT, which is also available for $45. So NVIDIA is already starting off on the wrong foot here.

Finally, availability should not be an issue. These cards have been shipping for months to OEMs, so the only thing that has really changed is that now some of them are going into the retail pool. It’s a hard launch and then some. Not that you’ll see NVIDIA celebrating; while the OEM-only launch was no-key, this launch is only low-key at best. NVIDIA didn’t send out any samples, and it wasn’t until a few days ago that we had the full technical data on these new cards.

We would like to thank Palit for providing us with a GT 220 card for today’s launch, supplying us with their GT 220 Sonic Edition.

DirectX 10.1 on an NVIDIA GPU?


View All Comments

  • Silverel - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    It doesn't really matter though does it?

    nVidia has you confused, and thusly, their plan has succeeded. It's really the price/performance ratio that it's at making any difference. Don't bother yourself with details on the renaming schemes. It's a new shiny!
  • MadMan007 - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    lol. "These aren't the details you're looking for" *waves hand* Yeah I know it's just a nitty gritty detail and the performance is what matters. I'd still like to know though :) Reply
  • Seramics - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    Upon checkin, it seems that there is indeed this 48 SP spec for 9600 GSO but its proper name is 9600GSO 512. So nv use the same exact thing (8800GS) and renamed it to another product (9600GSO) without improving anything. And now queitly chg the 9600GSO and lower the SP to half and din even chg the name? Why dun they release a 120 SP's GTX 280? Or simply renamed 9800 GTX to GTX 280? Reply
  • Lonyo - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    Actually they did take a 9800 and release it as a GTX280, of a fashion.

    The mobile GTX280 is just an 8800/9800 card rebadged and with all its SPs enabled (128). The mobile 8800/9800 had only either 96 or 112 ( I can't remember), so they made a 128 SP version and called it the GTX280-M
  • Seramics - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    Why is my fav site which is Anandtech can make such lousy silly mistakes? Ryan Smith, where did ur 9600 GSO came from? The spec of it is all wrong. It is a renamed 8800 GS with the same G92 core as 8800GT/8800GTS/9800GTX. It basically got 96 SP's with 192 bit memory bus. Even nvidia website is correct for a change. Look.">

    tell me, enlighten me, where did ur 9600 GSO come from??????
  • Ryan Smith - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    There are 2 9600GSOs. The old one was G92 based and had 96SP. The new one is G94 based (9600GT) and has 48SP. The old one is no longer produced, while the new one is the current 9600GSO, and is the GSO NVIDIA and its partners are referring to when they compare the GT 220 to the 9600GSO.

    We actually tested an old model 9600GSO, but that's only because it's the slowest thing we have on-hand that's above a 9500GT.
  • Seramics - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    Thanks for replying Ryan. I just cant help thinking nvidia has gone to another low yet again. This new products coverage is basically too little too late and too slow and too expensive. Ppl looking for low end card can get their needs met by going for equivalently priced ATI cards. Despite releasing such slow card n so late in the market, they still refuse to sell it at lower price. How can GT220 worth USD69-79? A Radeon HD4670 easily can outperform it while costing similar or less (depending on ur location). And wht is G210 crap? 16 SP's? Nvidia muz be joking and must be laughing at every single ignorant noob stupid customers who would purchase a crap like that for like what? 40-50 dollars? Gotta be kidding me man. It doesnt even worth half that amount. Mayb if its 10 dollars, I will recommend it to ppl with 10 dollars budget for graphics card. Reply
  • gwolfman - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    To me, this looks like nVidia's trial run of some GT300 technology (audio over PCIe bus for example) before it's released. Reply
  • samspqr - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    well, to me this looks like nvidia taking too long to finish a product that was nearly done 3 quarters ago

    by nvidia's 2009 standards, you can expect GT300 to come out around 2010Q2

    (I know they'll have some sort of launch much earlier, but I'd expect it to be just press samples, with less than spectacular clocks and a dustbuster fan, sitting somewhere in between 5870 and 5870x2, for a price that's irrelevant because of lack of availability... until some new respin comes around, as I said, close to 2010Q2)
  • yacoub - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    Two years after releasing the 800GT, NVidia releases a card with... half the performance!

    lol. what a waste. so how's the 5770/5750 review coming along? that'll be more interesting.

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