DirectX 10.1 on an NVIDIA GPU?

Easily the most interesting thing about the GT 220 and G 210 is that they mark the introduction of DirectX 10.1 functionality on an NVIDIA GPU. It’s no secret that NVIDIA does not take a particular interest in DX10.1, and in fact even with this they still don’t. But for these new low-end parts, NVIDIA had some special problems: OEMs.

OEMs like spec sheets. They want parts that conform to certain features so that they can in turn use those features to sell the product to consumers. OEMs don’t want to sell a product with “only” DX10.0 support if their rivals are using DX10.1 parts. Which in turn means that at some point NVIDIA would need to add DX10.1 functionality, or risk losing out on lucrative OEM contracts.

This is compounded by the fact that while Fermi has bypassed DX10.1 entirely for the high-end, Fermi’s low-end offspring are still some time away. Meanwhile AMD will be shipping their low-end DX11 parts in the first half of next year.

So why do GT 220 and G 210 have DX10.1 functionality? To satisfy the OEMs, and that’s about it. NVIDIA’s focus is still on DX10 and DX11. DX10.1 functionality was easy to add to the GT200-derrived architecture (bear in mind that GT200 already had some DX10.1 functionality), and so it was done for the OEMs. We would also add that NVIDIA has also mentioned the desire to not be dinged by reviewers and forum-goers for lacking this feature, but we’re having a hard time buying the idea that NVIDIA cares about either of those nearly as much as they care about what the OEMs think when it comes to this class of parts.


DX10.1 in a nutshell, as seen in our Radeon 3870 Review

At any rate, while we don’t normally benchmark with DX10.1 functionality enabled, we did so today to make sure DX10.1 was working as it should be. Below are our Battleforge results, using DX10 and DX10.1 with Very High SSAO enabled.

The ultimate proof that DX10.1 is a checkbox feature here is performance. Certainly DX10.1 is a faster way to implement certain effects, but running them in the first place still comes at a significant performance penalty. Hardware of this class is simply too slow to make meaningful use of the DX10.1 content that’s out there at this point.

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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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