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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  • uibo - Saturday, October 17, 2009 - link

    "This could have been a killer HTPC card...one year ago. "

    ... for me to poop on.
    Reply
  • VooDooAddict - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    I'd love to see this around $40 and make it's way into inexpensive OEM desktops. The GT 220 would be perfect for low end desktops if the price gets low enough. This would enable cheap eMachines to play MMOs and keep PC gaming alive.

    But as it stands right now 4650 and 4670 are the two cards I currently use to build low end desktops for others.
    Reply
  • Lonyo - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    A joke launch for what I can only hope is supposed to be a joke product.
    Mind you, at least NV have launched _something_ at 40nm for the general market rather than OEMs only.
    Reply
  • yoyojam - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    Glad to see AMD pretty much destroying Nvidia on the graphics front (for now). They're processor division is doing so badly, and we need our CPU competition... Reply
  • MegaSteve - Tuesday, October 20, 2009 - link

    I doubt that AMD is destroying or will even destroy Nvidia in any respect. What they are doing is providing them with credible competition and that is what we all benefit from. Although I will say this whole renaming cards and providing meagre performance increases is wearing a little thin.

    I enjoy the fact that I can choose between similar performance levels in cards from either camp for less money than when the 8800 series came out (I am referring to the GTX/Ultra parts). Now I know I can see your skin turning a solid shade of AMD Red but remember we have no answer from Nvidia yet, so the only thing that has occurred here is that ATI has beaten them to the market - perhaps Nvidia would rather be late and avoid another 5800 Vacuum Cleaner launch, I am sure that cost them dearly.

    AMD/Nvidia really have to ensure that they spend time ensuring their products are going to rival the Larrabee/DX 11 threat that very well has the possibility to clean them both up. I would rather have to install a graphics card and a processor of my choice than to have a single intel provider of all in my PC. As you can see nvidia is trying to push multiple uses for their GPU which seems pretty smart to me.
    Reply
  • Souleet - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    They are not destroying NVIDIA. I think we have to wait and see NVIDIA big guns(GT300 series) before we can truly judge who is beating up on who. I consider this a defensive move until Windows 7 release and to see how the market react over the ATI 5800 series. Remember what happen to the ATI 9700/9800 series, we all know what happen after that. :) Reply
  • teldar - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    Tool
    So because nVidia is going to bring out something in 2-4 months, AMD isn't doing better?
    And how is an overpriced budget card a response to brand new, high end cards?
    They already know how the market has responded to the 5800 cards. As many as they can make are being sold.
    Reply
  • Souleet - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    They only responded because that's like the newest ATI technology since long ass time. When you are down the only way is up or bankrupt. SLI was a knockout blow to ATI and just now they barely catching up. Reply
  • RubberJohnny - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    Ahh Souleet, you are a candidate for the most uninformed reader on Anandtech.

    SLI a knockout blow HAHAHA, thats the funniest thing i've read today!
    Reply
  • Souleet - Tuesday, October 13, 2009 - link

    Really? Then prove to me that SLI wasn't a knockout blow? After SLI came out, who brought ATI? I love ATI but those are the facts. Show me some proof that AMD stock is up since the merger. Reply

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