Nvidia GeForce GTX 275 Preview: A Well-Timed Retaliatory Strike?

If you’re one of those sadists who love to see 31 flavors of graphics cards slicing the market into $10 increments, then today is your lucky day. Not only do you have ATI’s new Radeon HD 4890 1 GB sliding into the $249 price point, but Nvidia is also launching its GeForce GTX 275 at the same price, set in between the GTX 285 and GTX 260 Core 216—decidedly closer to the GTX 285, as we found in our testing.

We won’t pretend that the simultaneous timing of these two unveilings is in any way coincidental. It’s certainly easy to understand the two companies’ line of thinking here, though.

On one hand, you have ATI coming off successful launches of its Radeon HD 4850, 4870, and 4870 X2 cards. The red team is out to show everyone that it still has the moves, and that its re-timed RV790 architecture is worth as much now as RV770 was 10 months ago.

On the other hand, you have Nvidia, which took a beating early on in the ATI RV770 GPU's life cycle—until it lowered prices on its own boards to compete a little more evenly. We have to imagine the green team is out to show that it can do battle based on performance and an attractive price tag right out of the gate this time around.

Filling In The Gaps

Nvidia has already tried the “let’s disable one thread processing cluster” angle with its GT200 architecture—that resulted in the GeForce GTX 260 Core 216. The GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 is about on par with the Radeon HD 4870 1 GB already. So, Nvidia needed something newer, something faster.

The only thing short of a GeForce GTX 280, which is being phased out in favor of the GTX 285, is a GeForce GTX 280 with the GTX 260’s back-end—the 28 ROPs and 896 MB of GDDR3 on a 448-bit memory bus. Incidentally, that’s the same GPU doubled up and slapped on Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 295. Now there’s a concept that works.

Nvidia is playing its price card very close to its proverbial chest. Set a target too early and ATI finds out, using price and performance data to re-orient the Radeon HD 4890. Loose lips sink ships and all of that. But by withholding the GeForce GTX 275’s price tag until the very last minute, comparing the card to its competition becomes a tricky matter.

With that said, early murmurs from Nvidia fall right around $249—right at ATI’s suggested retail price on the Radeon HD 4890 1 GB. Moreover, cards are expected to start trickling out shortly after launch in Europe and be widely available to the rest of the world by April 14th, so you very likely won’t be able to buy a card right away (in contrast, the Radeon HD 4890 should be available at launch). Finally, the drivers with which we’re testing are in beta, and will be posted to Nvidia’s download site as betas on April 2nd. Combine those three factors and we’re a little more comfortable calling this a preview. The hardware is final, but some of the other particulars could be subject to change between now and when the GTX 275 shows up for sale--especially once ATI and Nvidia find out what each other are charging and start jockeying for position.

Create a new thread in the UK Article comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
16 comments
Comment from the forums
    Your comment
  • Anonymous
    I expected the 4890 to be faster :O
  • GavinT
    I'd take the benchmarks with a pinch of salt...kinda get the feeling they're pro nVidia here!
  • Anonymous
    http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/599/1051599/nvidia-hoodwinks-reviewers-mythical-gt275s

    The main question is if the boards the reviewers get are going to be different to the ones that appear on sale. Or is the Inq just having a go at nVidia because they don't like them at the moment.
  • godfath3r
    yeah im gona wait a couple of weeks after the wide release before making my mind up. by then should have more of an idea on price and performance, and hopefully the 185 drivers will be fully released.

    then i shall decide on which card to get :D
  • jennyh
    Anandtech has the 4890 beating the 275 in 7/8 benchmarks. It's just getting to be farcical now tbh.
  • david__t
    Can't we go back to the good old days of naming conventions on nVidia cards (such as the Geforce 2) where the low end part was the MX, then the Geforce 2, then the GTS & then the Ultra? Now there are so many model names, memory configurations & die sizes, I'm suprised even they know which card is best any more!
  • GavinT
    BreadonArrivalhttp://www.theinquirer.net/inquire [...] cal-gt275sThe main question is if the boards the reviewers get are going to be different to the ones that appear on sale. Or is the Inq just having a go at nVidia because they don't like them at the moment.


    Charlie is definitely an ATI fan, have a read of more of his articles and you'll see that. It's a shame that there are not many sites that are neutral when it comes to hardware reviews.
  • Anonymous
    www.novatech.co.uk already have loads of both cards on sale. They were available from midnight. How come all the review sites apart rom this one show the radeon 4890 to be faster in most benchmarks, but this is the opposite way around?
  • wild9
    david__tCan't we go back to the good old days of naming conventions on nVidia cards (such as the Geforce 2) where the low end part was the MX, then the Geforce 2, then the GTS & then the Ultra? Now there are so many model names, memory configurations & die sizes, I'm surprised even they know which card is best any more!


    I agree, David. They should offer degree courses in this stuff. The honours would go to the those who summise that just because a card has a higher model number doesn't necessarily mean it's better. Unfortunately by the time those people are ready to collect their degrees they'll be old hat since by the time the ink's dried on the certificate there'll be yet another set of cards to decipher :)
  • Anonymous
    ATI needs to push some of the developers with games like Nvidia are doing to get the scene moving.

    each to their own with games, but i still get 90+ fps with 1x gtx 260 on cod 4 & 5 @ 1920, so what's the point in buying a newer card? if you wanna keep up with the "Jones's" then you are a fool with $$ or ££'s to waste.

    We need some new games...games that are gonna push graphics to the limit...make us want, sorry, NEED to spend money on new hardware.
  • Reynod
    Bottom line is NVidia can't produce these and make a profit so the halo effect of a higher end card will not do them any good when they can't produce them in volume (won't in fact either as they lose money on them)and ATI will just drop the price on their gpu anyway.

    NVidia are stuck with a die too big to OC, and too expensive to produce in volume unless they are massively faster ... which they are not.

    Goodbye NVidia ... IBM or Intel are about to buy you.
  • americanbrian
    I like how they stress the importance that the drivers are still in beta here, but on the 4890 review they don't mention it at all.
  • americanbrian
    and to quote:

    "Update: In fact, it looks like ATI is aiming for $220 with mail-in-rebates, which gets us a little closer), we’d be much more likely to step up from the Radeon HD 4870 1 GB to a retail HD 4890 and try our hand overclocking the 4890 even farther."

    However for this review they didn't overclock it at all. They overclocked it a titchy wee bit in its own review.

    Here though theis implies that they are running an overclocked card against a stock Nvidia card which is simply not the truth.
  • t-track
    'I expected the 4890 to be faster'

    Hahaha...confused? That is right, m8. This review is a wrong call.

    The article is comparing a ATI's 4890 to Nvidia's 260 and 285 by using a driver for the new 4890 that actually does not support fully this card and on the other side a well updated and well tested driver for the Nvidias' counterparts.

    That is why the conclusions about the cards' performance are ill founded.

    Wait until the release of the new catalyst 9.4 and you will see that 4890 does not only kill NV 280, but also NV285 at this price range.
    ;)
  • sheol
    I'm sorry, but I think this is something you should look into:

    DirectX 10.1 in Stalker - you say, that "all are running DX10 to keep it consistent", but which player would play a game at dx10, if there's an option to improve performance with dx10.1? therefore the whole comparison is pointless for me.
    Same point with Physx - you should put the results in the same table as the rest of the results when a game supports physx, so people get a better overview, not just some artificial results that don't tell the whole story.
  • Anonymous
    them any good when they can't produce them in volume (won't in fact either as they lose money on them)and ATI will just drop the price on their gpu anyway.