As we have expected, GeForce GTS 250 didn’t cause any revolution: and what could we expect from a graphics accelerator that is in fact none other but a renamed GeForce 9800 GTX+? Of course, we could talk about moral and aesthetic aspects of Nvidia’s actions, as they have once again offered the users old architecture under a new name. However, from a pragmatic standpoint, we can conclude that this architecture still has some fire in it, as it copes well with what it is supposed to: it ensures acceptable gaming performance in contemporary titles. And the 55nm process is certainly of great help as it improved the frequency potential of G92.
Unfortunately, since ATI has recently slashed the prices, things are not so rosy for Nvidia anymore: $149 for GeForce GTS 250 is hardly competitive against Radeon HD 4870. However, let’s take a look at the detailed performance results first:
In 1280x1024 GeForce GTS 250 doesn’t really benefit from having 1GB of video memory onboard: the average performance gain is only 4% and in some cases it even falls behind. The latter, however, is the problem of this particular Palit graphics card model, which video memory works at a lower than nominal frequency.
If we compare Palit GeForce GTS 250 1GB with Radeon HD 4850, we can state that there is parity between them. However, everything actually depends on a particular game you are running: while in F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin or Prince of Persia the advantage is on Nvidia’s side, then in X3: Terran Conflict, for instance, ATI offspring is far ahead of the competitors.
As for Radeon HD 4870, things are not as good here: Palit GeForce GTS 250 1GB lost to the former almost in all tests with the average lag about 22%. We are talking about Radeon HD 4870 1GB here, but I doubt that things would have got any better even if it had been Radeon HD 4870 512MB that has recently been priced down to $149. Nvidia will have to drop the prices for their new family of graphics cards to ensure that they are compatible in the today’s market.
As for the benefit from overclocking, it varies between 4% and 29% with an average of 12%. It is a very good gain achieved at minimal expense.
In 1680x1050 resolution things remain practically the same: the performance boost compared with GeForce GTS 250 512MB/GeForce 9800 GTX+ is about 4-5%; situation with Radeon HD 4850 should be considered individually for each particular game, and average lag behind Radeon HD 4870 1GB increases to 24%. Overclocking helps Palit GeForce GTS 250 1GB a little more here: its performance increases by 13.5% on average.
When we have 1920x1200 resolution with enabled FSAA 4x, the memory subsystem is loaded quite extensively and its size starts to have more noticeable effect on performance. On average, Palit GeForce GTS 250 1GB is about 6.5% ahead of the GeForce GTS 250 512MB, and in some cases, such as Crysis Warhead and Far Cry 2, it is way beyond 20 %. Nevertheless, in some other games, like Enemy Territory: Quake Wars and Devil May Cry 4, lower memory frequency of the Palit solution made it yield to the reference Nvidia card with half the local video memory onboard.
The opposition between Palit GeForce GTS 250 1GB and Radeon HD 4850 remained the same: in some games (Crysis Warhead, F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin) the Nvidia solution took the lead, while in a few other titles (Enemy Territory: Quake Wars or Fallout 3) the ATi solution will be more preferable.
You can’t compete against Radeon HD 4870 in this resolution, because it is equipped with super-fact GDDR5 memory providing 115.2GB/s bandwidth against only 70.4GB/s by GeForce GTS 250. The Nvidia newcomer fell about 30% behind on average in this case.