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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  • chizow - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    Of course, discerning consumers know better and demand new architectures! It wouldn't make any sense to accept old parts and rebadges that offer 2x the performance at a lower price! Reply
  • yacoub - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    er, 8800GT. fingers... Reply
  • poohbear - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    man i never thought i'd be saying this, but nvidia needs to get their shiat together!!! we need competition!!! they're getting trashed by AMD, what happened to em? Reply
  • Souleet - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    Everybody know NVIDIA is downplaying until they see how well Window 7 will be. Plus ATI releasing 5800 series with DX.11(software/games not going to be compatible with it until 2011). Reply
  • formulav8 - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    Huh? The new Radeons are compatible with every game the old radeons and geforce cards are and much better/faster.

    And there is a small list of games with DX11 features being released very soon that ONLY the new radeons can take advantage of.

    And nVdia isn't downplaying anything. They simply DO NOT have a answer to ATI's new cards at this time. And apprently it won't be till the first part of next year that they will have their answer.

    Why I keep seeing people trying to downplay nvidia's faults is beyond me?


    Jason
    Reply
  • Souleet - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    Well I guess we have to wait and see. You cannot assume they do not have the answer. It is not the right time to release something at the caliber yet. I'm not bias but it seem that people are saying that ATI have won but there is no facts/comparison. Sure you can compare ATI 5800 series to the GT295/275(old graphic) but I think everybody want to see GT300 series face off with 5800 series. Remember what happen to ATI when NVIDIA came out with SLI? ATI release crossfire(not innovated) just to try and match NVIDIA instead of creating something more innovated. ATI never had a solution to defeat SLI and that is the fact. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    I wouldn't say ATI has "won", but they are currently leading. NVIDIA isn't releasing Fermi right now because they can't -- they don't have the hardware ready. The card shown was a mock-up part, and you don't use a fake card if you have real product ready. All signs are Jan/Feb 2010 for the GT300 release. That gives ATI a full four months of being the ONLY DX11 GPU supplier, right at a major buying time for consumers. NVIDIA isn't out by any stretch of the imagination -- just as ATI wasn't out with the 2000 and 3000 series, and NVIDIA weathered the FX 5000 times. Short-term, though, this has to be hurting.

    On the other hand, I can say that NVIDIA is the way to go on virtually any gaming laptop right now. ATI has some competitive parts, yes, but I wouldn't touch them until they get reference drivers for all major parts on their site. Depending on laptop manufacturers for driver updates is a really bad idea, and NVIDIA thankfully addressed that area a while back.
    Reply
  • brybir - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    Your statement is only partially true.

    There are several games that have some DirectX 11 features out right now. Perhaps the more accurate thing to say is that DirectX 11 will not see feature set adoption en mass until sometime in 2011.

    I think ATI somewhat admits this as they spent a good deal of time tweaking some of its driver and hardware features to boost the performance of directX 9 engine games. There was something about that on Anand a few weeks ago about that.
    Reply
  • BenSkywalker - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    You show the 9600GSO winning the majority of the benches you decided to allow it to take part in, it is cheaper then the 4670, and the 4670 is the clear winner?

    Why do you bother quoting the price of the 9600GT when you refused to show benchmarks for it?

    Right now on the Egg you can get a 9600GSO for $40 AR, $60 before rebate. The article may be right in terms of the parts that are launching being a bad value, but more then anything that is because of how soundly they are bested by nV's existing parts- which are already faster and cheaper then the 4670.
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    It's one of those 96SP GSOs based on G92. We include for reference only; you can't buy them any more (and the 96SP model listed on Newegg is wrong, it's a 48SP model). Reply

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