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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  • 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!
    Reply
  • 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
    Reply
  • 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. http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?...">http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?...

    tell me, enlighten me, where did ur 9600 GSO come from??????
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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)
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply

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