Articles: Graphics

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As you could learn from our tests, the junior GF100-based graphics card Nvidia GeForce GTX 465 was no good due to its low performance and rather high price of $279. Like the rest of Fermi-based solutions, it was good enough at geometry processing, e.g. when doing tessellation, but on the whole could not match the Radeon HD 5850. It would even occasionally be inferior to the GeForce GTX 275, which was a total failure for Nvidia. The company desperately needed a modern DirectX 11 compatible solution with a price of about $200 but the GeForce GTX 465 could not fill that role.

Fortunately, Nvidia was already busy preparing its GPU that would be rather simple and not costly to make and yet deliver a rather high performance. A kind of counterpart to the ATI RV870 “Cypress” chip. We guess Nvidia should have given more effort to this project from the beginning instead of focusing on the sophisticated and expensive GF100, but anyway. It is good that the company could learn from its mistakes and develop a competitive mainstream GPU. This is something that Nvidia’s fans have long been waiting for as they have had to use outdated G200-based solutions that do not support modern APIs.

In a new presentation Nvidia compares the GF100 with a main battle tank designed to dominate the battlefield but we wouldn’t call this comparison correct. This GPU is more like a heavily armored and armed super-tank whereas the main tank must be rather simple, have acceptable technical parameters and be produced in mass quantities. There is no doubt the German Tiger was superior to the Soviet T-34 during World War II but the latter was far for numerous. The same is true for the world of gaming 3D graphics hardware.

The diagram from Nvidia indicates that graphics cards priced at $199 and higher make up for but a 14% share of the market, even though this category includes such rather affordable models as the Radeon HD 5850. Thus, really expensive products like the GeForce GTX 480 account for but a few percent of the market. On the other hand, the below-$199 category occupies as much as 31% of the market of discrete graphics cards, bringing the biggest profit to the manufacturer. It is in this very category that Nvidia has not been able to offer anything competitive to its users recently. The GeForce GTX 470 was more expensive, the GeForce GT 240 belonged with a lower market segment, and the GeForce GTX 465 failed to perform as expected. In other words, the company didn’t have the main battle tank. But they worked to produce one and the result was announced on the 12th of July 2010. It is Nvidia’s first DirectX 11 compatible mainstream GPU codenamed GF104. This rather simple and inexpensive chip should spearhead Nvidia’s attack in the sector of affordable gaming graphics cards and expand the success of the GeForce GTX 480 and 470. This review is entirely dedicated to the new GPU.

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