Nvidia launches GTX 200 series GPUs
Massive chip for high-end gaming rigs
Nvidia today rolled out its next-generation 200-series GPUs, the GeForce GTX 260 and GTX 280.
The series name is at last a concession to the bewildering naming scheme Nvidia has played with in the vast array of GeForce graphics chips. That is — starting now. Customers will still wade through the convoluted model numbers with older offerings.
The 200-series GPUs are fabricated by the Taiwan foundry, TSMC, on a 65nm process that uses 1.4 billion transistors. It's an enormous 576 square millimeters chip and the largest GPU that TSMC has manufactured to date. To compare, the G92 chip (used in the GeForce 8800 and 9800 GPUs) measures 330 square millimeters.
Tony Tamasi holds up the 200-series chip
Of course, the wafer real estate required for each chip means greater manufacturing cost, and you can probably guess where that expense is ultimately shouldered. That said, the GPUs pack a lot of punch.
They use a double-slot design that measures 26.67cm (10.5 inches) in length. You might want to break out the measuring tape on your box, and also make sure you've got 6-pin and 8-pin power connectors to feed the GTX 280 board's 236W demands. The GTX 260, meanwhile, needs two 6-pin connectors for 182 watts board power.
GeForce GTX 280
The big GTX 280 sports a 512-bit memory controller — an upgrade from the previous generation 384-bit controller — connected to 1,024MB GDDR3 memory running at 1107MHz. The chip has 240 processing cores (which used to be called shader units) and 32 edROPs (raster operations processors), and clocks at 1296MHz. Nvidia is selling its new big GPU for $649 (£333) beginning tomorrow.
GeForce GTX 260
The GTX 260 has a 448-bit memory controller connected to 896MB GDDR3 memory clocked at 999MHz. The chip has 192 processing cores and 28 ROPs, running at 1242MHz (that's pretty darn close to the GTX 280.) The smaller GPU is $399 (~ £205) and goes on sale June 26.
All said, Nvidia claims the GPUs on average give a 1.5x performance boost over GeForce 8 or 9 series GPUs.
Big screens benefit the most
Hmmm, from some Inquiring sites, the early numbers seem to suggest that it's the big screens that get the biggest benefit. So if you are still on your 19" monitor with a maximum resolution of 1280x1024, the upgrade would hardly be worth it.
Then again, the people that can afford the 30" screens that benefit the most are the ones most likely to be able to afford one of these cards anyway!
I wonder if ATI will be doing the same as they did at the last launch and concentrating on volume as opposed to Top Dog. The card that is the Top Dog typically costs Top Dollar, and as I said, it's the people that have the big house that has the large room for large monitors that buys the Top Dog card. So in terms of earnings, I think the lesser cards are what makes the company coffers less empty.
However, the cynic in me still thinks that if ATI could have shot for Top Dog they would have....
PS: I'm a PC gaming fan with a 24" monitor with a self specced Crysis killer machine (heh, my machine lost to the beast that is Crysis!) but the whole Console and HD thang is most definitely going to be my next purchasing focus.
Nice hardware, could we have some drivers please?
Great, more Nvidia hardware.
Perhaps they could spend a couple of dollars more on the stabilty of their drivers? The latest 175 series drivers are woeful, leading to all manner of amusing BSODs. Even the latest Nvidia Linux drivers (well, the 64bit ones) won't recognise my nearly-new 8800GTS!
If you know the wattage of the card then some basic maths will give you the amps..
Watts = Volts x Amps
Amps = Watts / Volts
19.66A = 236W / 12V
Mines the one with the pocket protector and slide rule.
which is why whenever i buy from abroad, i make sure i enter my full first name.
"Gift for" being a very popular first name round my neck of the woods.
Funny that. All the decent products I've ever looked at seem to have a spec sheet on the manufacturer's website showing total amps available and the max draw on each rail. That even goes down as far as the not-a-well-known-brand unit currently doing its stuff in my rig.
For the cheap ones, who gives a toss? If you buy an el cheapo PSU you should be damned grateful if the volts are anywhere near spec, never mind the current. Anyone not quoting a full spec probably has a damned good reason for keeping quiet on the subject.