NVIDIA GeForce GTS 250: A Rebadged 9800 GTX+by Derek Wilson on March 3, 2009 3:00 AM EST
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More From CeBIT: New Mobile Parts
Unfortunately, we were unable to get any notebooks with these new GPUs to test them out before we tell you about them, but both NVIDIA and AMD are announcing new mobile GPUs today.
NVIDIA's move parallels what's happening on the desktop in that the newest additions to the mobile line up are 55nm G92 based parts with names in the new style NVIDIA has chosen. Actually, the entire lineup of 9xxxM series parts is being replaced by parts with new names. This is certainly more expected on the mobile side, as we usually do see much more lag in this space than on the desktop.
As for the specifics, the new parts are the top of the line models. The GTX 280M will be up to 50% faster than the 9800M GTX, which is nice in theory, but final performance will still be up to notebook makers who will set the final clocks on the part on a per notebook basis to accommodate their power budget. The GTX 260M is one step down from the 280M in that it has 112 SPs enabled (like the original G92 introduced as the 8800 GT) and lower maximum clock speeds.
These two high end GTX parts replace the top end 9800M parts, and subbing for the 9800M GS is the GTS 160M which will also offer improved performance, although we didn't get full specifications on this part. Rounding out the bottom of the lineup are the GT 130M and the G 110M.
On the AMD front, we see something a little more intriguing in the form of the first 40nm GPUs in the mobile space. Smaller die sizes, lower power and better power are promised, though the general naming will stay the same for AMD. The new 40nm 4800 series parts can be paired with either DDR3, GDDR3, or GDDR5; the choice is up to the notebook maker. AMD touts the fact that they can get about double the processing power in the same area with their new process, which will only benefit them going forward.
NVIDIA paints the GDDR5 option as overkill, but we really won't know about performance of either the new NVIDIA or AMD parts until we have hardware to test.
The NVIDIA and AMD supplied relative performance graphs are nearly useless in sorting out how these parts should compare to each other, so we'll really have to save the head to head for a time when we have hardware on our hands. 40nm could be a big plus for AMD, but remember that NVIDIA has made the first move in making mobile drivers available from their web site. The value of that is very high, as notebook OEMs tend not to like updating their drivers very often. Sure, it's possible to hack desktop drivers onto a mobile part, but it is a supreme headache and we hope AMD will soon follow in NVIDIA's footsteps with this move.
Back to the Tests at Hand
Now that we've covered all the announcements and introductory material, let's get to testing the hardware we've got in our hot little hands.
We got our card just a couple days ago, so we haven't had time to test everything, and we've only received one card so we haven't been able to test SLI with the 1GB version. We would also have added to our benchmarks by including 1280x1024 in our tests if we had had the time. This is a very important resolution for this class of hardware, but 1680x1050 should be a good enough indicator of relative performance in most cases so that this won't matter too much.
Our comparisons will be a little lop sided though. We've got two each (for single and dual configurations) of the 512MB 4850 and the 512MB GTS 250 (the 9800 GTX+). These comparisons we can do, and it's nice and neat as both parts are now set at a $130 (cutting recent street prices by about $15). We do have a GTS 250 1GB, but we don't have a 1GB 4850 to compare it to. On the flip side, since we've only got 1 GTS 250 1GB, we can't compare GTS 250 1GB SLI to the 4850 X2 2GB we have.
The test setup hasn't changed for this article, except that we've had to use the 182.08 for the GTS 250 1GB.
|CPU||Intel Core i7-965 3.2GHz |
|Motherboard||ASUS Rampage II Extreme X58|
|Video Cards||Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 4850 X2 2GB |
ATI Radeon HD 4870 512MB CrossFire
ATI Radeon HD 4850 CrossFire
ATI Radeon HD 4870 512MB
ATI Radeon HD 4850
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 SLI
NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX+ SLI
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 core 216
NVIDIA GeForce GTS 250 1GB
NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX+
|Video Drivers||Catalyst 8.12 hotfix |
|Hard Drive||Intel X25-M 80GB SSD|
|RAM||6 x 1GB DDR3-1066 7-7-7-20|
|Operating System||Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit SP1 |
|PSU||PC Power & Cooling Turbo Cool 1200W|