Three well-known suppliers of Nvidia GeForce-based graphics cards on Tuesday started to offer improved versions of graphics cards under GeForce GTX 260 brand-name. The relatively small amount of Nvidia partners launching the new product may indicate that there is a dispute between the chip designer and actual add-in-board vendors over the upgrade.
BFG Technologies, EVGA Corp. and Zotac International started to offer Nvidia GeForce GTX 260 graphics cards with improved specifications – 216 stream processors (SPs), 72 texture units (TUs), 30 render back ends (RBEs) and 896MB of GDDR3 memory connected using 448-bit interface. Earlier the GeForce GTX 260 graphics boards featured 192 SPs, 64 TUs, 28 RBEs and 896MB of GDDR3 memory. The new graphics cards promise to offer higher performance compared to the previously released products with GTX 260 model numbers. But not everyone may be happy with improved speed amid roughly the same price.
Only three vendors out of sixteen of Nvidia’s partners who began to ship their GeForce GTX 260 and GTX 280 solutions in mid-June decided to release the new GTX 260 at this time. The reason for this is simple: many still have a lot of now outdated GTX 260 boards in stock, which means that once the new cards are on the market, the demand towards older products will decrease dramatically; hence, add-in-card suppliers will have to adjust their prices, which will indisputably hurt their profit margins. Nevertheless, the improved model 260 will boost competitive positions of Nvidia and will allow to more successfully compete against ATI Radeon HD 4870 on performance-mainstream market.
Traditionally, video game fans who acquire expensive graphics cards, such as the GeForce GTX 260, enjoy all possible performance boosts. But some of them may not appreciate it this time. Some gamers got their GeForce GTX 260 graphics cards for $299 with the aim to acquire another one and get ultimate performance thanks to Nvidia’s 2-way or 3-way SLI technology that lets two or three graphics boards to work in tandem in order to get higher rendering speed. Unfortunately, Nvidia SLI does not let two GPUs with different amount of execution units to work together, hence, once the “old” models 260 disappear from the market, there will be no upgrade path for owners of such graphics cards interested in multi-GPU graphics sub-systems.
Fortunately for the consumer, graphics cards makers tend to use slightly different naming scheme for the new GeForce GTX 260: BFG calls its new 260 as GeForce GTX 260 OCX Maxcore, EVGA refers to its new models as GeForce GTX 260 Core 216, whereas Zotac names its novelty as GeForce GTX 260².
Nvidia did not release any official statements on the matter of the launch of its new graphics solutions.