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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  • abs0lut3 - Tuesday, October 13, 2009 - link

    When is GT 240 coming out and when are you going to review it? I had expected the GT 220 to be as low as it comes (reaaallly low end), however, I saw some preliminary reviews on other forums on the GT 240, the supposedly new Nvidia 40nm mainstream card with GDDR5 and quite fascinate with result. Reply
  • MegaSteve - Tuesday, October 20, 2009 - link

    No one is going to buy one of these cards by choice - they are going to be thrown out in HP, Dell and Acer PCs under a pretty sticker saying they have POWERFUL GRAPHICS or some other garbage. Much the same as them providing 6600 graphics cards instead of 6600GTs, then again, I would probably rather have a 6600GT because if the DirectX 10 cards that were first released were any indication this thing will suck. I am sure this thing will play Bluray... Reply
  • Deanjo - Tuesday, October 13, 2009 - link

    "NVIDIA has yet to enable MPEG-4 ASP acceleration in their drivers"

    Not true, they have not enabled it in their Windows drivers.

    They are enabled in the linux drivers for a little while now.

    ftp://download.nvidia.com/XFree86/Linux-x86_64/190...">ftp://download.nvidia.com/XFree86/Linux-x86_64/190...

    VDP_DECODER_PROFILE_MPEG4_PART2_SP, VDP_DECODER_PROFILE_MPEG4_PART2_ASP, VDP_DECODER_PROFILE_DIVX4_QMOBILE, VDP_DECODER_PROFILE_DIVX4_MOBILE, VDP_DECODER_PROFILE_DIVX4_HOME_THEATER, VDP_DECODER_PROFILE_DIVX4_HD_1080P, VDP_DECODER_PROFILE_DIVX5_QMOBILE, VDP_DECODER_PROFILE_DIVX5_MOBILE, VDP_DECODER_PROFILE_DIVX5_HOME_THEATER, VDP_DECODER_PROFILE_DIVX5_HD_1080P

    *

    Complete acceleration.
    *

    Minimum width or height: 3 macroblocks (48 pixels).
    *

    Maximum width or height: 128 macroblocks (2048 pixels).
    *

    Maximum macroblocks: 8192

    Reply
  • Deanjo - Tuesday, October 13, 2009 - link

    I should also mention XBMC already supports this as well in linux. Reply
  • Transisto - Tuesday, October 13, 2009 - link

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz............... Reply
  • Souleet - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    I guess the only place that actually selling Palit right now is newegg. http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Sub...">http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductLi...&Des... Reply
  • MODEL3 - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    Great prices, lol (either they have old 55nm stock or the 40nm yields are bad or they are crazy, possibly the first)

    Some minor corrections:

    G 210 ROPs should be 4 not 8 (8 should be the Texture units, GT220 should have 8 ROPs and 16 Texture units)

    http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/geforce-gt-220,revie...">http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/geforce-gt-220,revie...

    (Not because tomshardware is saying so, but because otherwise, it doesn't make sense NV architects to designed a so bandwidth limited GPU) (and based on past architecture design logic)

    G 210 standard config CPU core clock is 589MHz, shaders 1402MHz.

    (check Nvidia's partner sites)

    9600GSO (G94) Memory Bus Width is 256bit not 128bit.

    http://www.nvidia.com/object/product_geforce_9600_...">http://www.nvidia.com/object/product_geforce_9600_...

    58W should be the figure NV is giving when GT 220 is paired with GDDR3, with DDR3 the power consumption should be a lot less.

    Example for GDDR3 vs DDR3 power consumption:

    http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Palit/GeForce_G...">http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Palit/GeForce_G...
    http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Zotac/GeForce_G...">http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Zotac/GeForce_G...
    Reply
  • Souleet - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    I'm sure there is cooling solution but it will probably going to hurt your wallet. I love ATI but they need to fire their marketing team and hire some more creative people. Nvidia needs to stop under estimating ATI and crush them, now they are just giving ATI a chance to steal some market share back. Reply
  • Zool - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    Its 40nm and has only 48sp 8rop/16tmu and still only 1360MHz shader clock.Is the TSMC 40nm this bad or what. The 55nm 128sp gt250 has 1800 Mhz shaders.
    Could you please try out some overckocking.
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Tuesday, October 13, 2009 - link

    We've seen vendor overclocked cards as high as 720MHz core, 1566MHz shader, so the manufacturing process isn't the problem. There are specific power and thermal limits NVIDIA wanted to hit, which is why it's clocked where it is. Reply

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