Nvidia Rolls Out 236 Watt Graphics Card Design


Santa Clara (CA) - Nvidia today unveiled its GT200 graphics chip, now integrated into the GTX260 and GTX280 graphics cards. The graphics processor has more of everything : More transistors, cores, bandwidth, GFlops, game performance - and power.

All your efforts to trim down the power consumption of your PC could be useless, if you are installing on of Nvidia’s latest graphics cards, which top power meters at 182 watts (max) for the GTX260 model and at 236 watts (max) for the GTX version. (Idle power for both cards is 25 watts.) But, to be fair, enthusiasts rarely care about the power consumption of such products and both cards deliver a boatload of features and upgrades over the G80 predecessor.

Compared to the 681 million transistors and the 128 cores of the G80 chip, the GT200 now holds 1.4 billion transistors and 192 (GTX260) or 240 (GTX280) processing cores. The GPU is built in 65 nm and, according to TSMC - the manufacturer of the GPU - the largest chip the company has ever product : The die size is 576 mm2 - more than five times larger than Intel’s 45 nm dual-core processor with Penryn core.

The GTX280 comes with a 1296 MHz core, 1107 MHz memory as well as a 1024 MB memory capacity. The floating point performance of the GPU is 933 GFlops, which is 80% above the 8800 GTX (518 GFlops). The GTX260 has a 1242 MHz core, 999 MHz memory and 896 MB of memory capacity.

Nvidia claims that the new GPUs will deliver 50% more gaming performance over the GeForce 8800 Ultra GPU overall. Both the GTX280 and GTX260 support three-way SLI configurations.

Several reviews have been posted by the usual suspects this morning and it appears that both the GTX280 and GTX260 have secured their place just behind the dual-GPU version 9800 GX2 and ahead of AMD’s Radeon HD 3870 X2 in terms of gaming performance. The GTX280 is setting new record levels in several disciplines in 3D Marks’ Vantage benchmark (overall score, GPU score), beating the 9800 X2. The GTX260 comes in third in most 3D Mark Vantage results we have seen this morning.

Graphics cards integrating GeForce GTX 260 GPUs are scheduled to become available starting on June 26 for $399 MSRP. GTX 280 cards will sell from $649, Nvidia said. Online shops are currently listing GTX260 cards in a price range of $420 to $620 and GTX280 cards from $640 to $895.

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