In the beginning there was the GeForce 8800 GT, and we were happy.

Then, we then got a faster version: the 8800 GTS 512MB. It was more expensive, but we were still happy.

And then it got complicated.

The original 8800 GT, well, it became the 9800 GT. Then they overclocked the 8800 GTS and it turned into the 9800 GTX. Now this made sense, but only if you ignored the whole this was an 8800 GT to begin with thing.

The trip gets a little more trippy when you look at what happened on the eve of the Radeon HD 4850 launch. NVIDIA introduced a slightly faster version of the 9800 GTX called the 9800 GTX+. Note that this was the smallest name change in the timeline up to this point, but it was the biggest design change; this mild overclock was enabled by a die shrink to 55nm.

All of that brings us to today where NVIDIA is taking the 9800 GTX+ and calling it a GeForce GTS 250.

Enough about names, here's the card:

You can get it with either 512MB or 1GB of GDDR3 memory, both clocked at 2.2GHz. The core and shader clocks remain the same at 738MHz and 1.836GHz respectively. For all intents and purposes, this thing should perform like a 9800 GTX+.

If you get the 1GB version, it's got a brand new board design that's an inch and a half shorter than the 9800 GTX+:


GeForce GTS 250 1GB (top) vs. GeForce 9800 GTX+ (bottom)

The new board design isn't required for the 512MB cards unfortunately, so chances are that those cards will just be rebranded 9800 GTX+s.

The 512MB cards will sell for $129 while the 1GB cards will sell for $149.

 

While the GPU is still a 55nm G92b, this is a much more mature yielding chip now than when the 9800 GTX+ first launched and thus power consumption is lower. With GPU and GDDR3 yields higher, power is lower and board costs can be driven down as well. The components on the board draw a little less power all culminating in a GPU that will somehow contribute to saving the planet a little better than the Radeon HD 4850.


There's only one PCIe power connector on the new GTS 250 1GB boards

Note that you need to have the new board design to be guaranteed the power savings, so for now we can only say that the GTS 250 1GB will translate into power savings:


These are the biggest gains you'll see from this GPU today. It's still a 9800 GTX+.

Why NVIDIA Did It
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  • mard - Wednesday, April 15, 2009 - link

    just wondering if anybody knew if the Thermalright HR-03 GTX Rev.A
    would be compatible with the GTS250. if not, what would be another passive cooling option for this card

    thanks
    Reply
  • Core Core - Monday, April 06, 2009 - link

    I'm glad this review was done, it really has given me more data on which card to buy. I hope it is updated with some more focus on people who have my set of concerns, see below...

    I want a newer HD Ready/DX10/Shader4 card, and it has to work in a SFF case. I have only one dual slot and one 2x6 video card power supply, so i want to choose one of the two 1GB cards from ATI/nVidia (250 vs. 4850).

    Low heat & power & noise are very important to me. I also think dual slot exhaust is needed in my case. Currently, i have a very hot, noisy, power hog (ATI's X1900XTX) that i want to replace.

    A nVidia GTS250 or ATI 4850 are in my price range and are roughly double the performance i have now, i am connecting to a very large HD Ready display and i want to watch HD movies, game, and compute without problems.

    Your review did not do the ATI 4850 1GB card or go into any details on High Definition 1080p uses, i would like a comparison and review of HDCP, 1080p, and clarity of displayed text on a HD ready test system.

    I'm a total gamer, i watch heaps of HD anime, as well as compute & web browse.
    Reply
  • cactusdog - Sunday, March 22, 2009 - link


    SiliconDoc, you should see a doctor. Instead of blaming everybody else for Nvidia's poor standing in the eyes of the tech community, maybe you should look at why no one likes them....and your own bullying attitude should give you a clue.

    I've read a lot of "fanboy" comments but you take it to a new level. Psychofanboy would be more appropriate for you.

    Reply
  • SiliconDoc - Wednesday, April 08, 2009 - link

    LOL - At least this fella tells the truth, and yet you admit "your idea is the tech community hates them".
    Believe me, I know EXACTLY why, I've seen it all too often, no need for me to find out, mr cryptic with the EPIC FAIL.
    .
    Well, that leaves the SANE PERSON with the conclusion all the little red haters are LYING SACKS OF FUD AND CRAP, and they are near always blabbing out a lie for unfair red advantage, and THEREFORE - buying the nvidia card is the smart thing to do. The more they hate (with their endless stream of lies), the better the nvidia card really is.
    Now, if you don't have an actual counterpoint to the OTHER posts I've made, that destroyed and exposed the 6 months long plus red rooster fanboy fud parrot lines, why then you just go ahead and respond like you did above - because this one absolutely matches yours - PURE SPECULATION with nary a fact in it - just like you, you idiot.
    Reply
  • SiliconDoc - Wednesday, March 18, 2009 - link

    The problem is even on all the other computer hardware, a naming scheme NEVER tells the avid consumer which one is really better. Same with CARS. Same with kitchen blenders.
    The REALITY of the product only hits the interested public when word actually gets around...when people buy it, reviewers and Consumer Digest take a stab, Tv commenters blab they have one and it's great or it's in the shop - facebook or myspace spreads the news, someone tweets about it...
    THIS is the reality of our computer age !
    In other words, I'm sure everyone wants an easier way out, and wants it all perfectly suited to absolute fairness - but the FACT REMAINS, on EVERYTHING one purchases, without some information far more extensive than the pretty PR ad box and name gives you - YOU WILL EITHER GET SCREWED OR GET LUCKY. PERIOD.
    If you have a really keen eye and some awesome circus sense, you just might make the right call from sight, smell, cover and wording, and placement on the shelves - but then...
    you'd be a wonderous expert with a special gift that could be put to work for pay.
    Face REALITY.
    Reply
  • earthshaker87 - Monday, March 09, 2009 - link

    My 4850 runs better than what these benchmarks say. I recently tested my card in COD: WaW with FRAPS. Im running XPSP3, C2DE8200 2.66, 2GB Kingston Value RAM, ASUS P5K-SE/EPU, MSI R4850(ref clocks and cooler) and got average FPS of 53.36 on same settings as yours. Could it be that Windows XP is the difference? Reply
  • cbm - Friday, March 06, 2009 - link

    How bout testing this on a system that people actually would own at this point in time. Reply
  • Hrel - Tuesday, March 10, 2009 - link

    They've said this before; they test on the highest end system they can to try and remove all system limitations so the only difference you're seeing in test results come from the GPU's. Instead of the CPU, RAM or HDD. If they tested GTS250 in SLI on a dual core DDR2 system the GPU would be limited by the system, so you wouldn't get accurate results comparing the cards. These articles aren't supposed to show you how the cards will perform in your system, they're just supposed to show yo the difference between the cards. Reply
  • SiliconDoc - Wednesday, March 18, 2009 - link

    In other words, with "our systems" with limited cpu, ram, hd's and motherboards, these results especially at the enourmous resolutions and excessive framerates are really overkill and border on meaningless.
    The are meaningless to a large extent until games catch back up with the gpu's, or people catch up with the test beds and monitors.
    So when they, in these reviews, parse a few percentage framerate difference at the high rezz - on the high end rig, on the expensive 30" monitor, then screed out a winner, they are essentially DELUDED.
    It's a winner "for them" while they are at work, mind numbingly whacking away at the hundreds of runs... the few little frames that they have NO CLUE are any different even at high resolutions weren't it for fraps and the pretty yellow numbers on screen.
    Yes, it's a sad day, huh.
    Then, the raging wackos scream about the 1,2,3 maybe 10% difference on the supposedly "one to one" card comparisons - at resolutions and system powers they can only dream of.
    I think that makes it MORE THAN CLEAR that the added value is much more important - what comes with the card, a game, the adapters, the looks, cuda, physx, folding , video conversion, fan type - heat generation - and very important - drivers and stability.
    Well NVIDIA wins those, hands down (save the bundle in some cases). TWIMTBP - and plenty of reasons WHY.
    Reply
  • Hrel - Saturday, March 21, 2009 - link

    I don't necessarily disagree with anything you said, other than saying the tests are meaningless. But you seem to be block headed and not want to listen so here... repetition yeah:
    These articles aren't supposed to show you how the cards will perform in your system, they're just supposed to show yo the difference between the cards.
    These articles aren't supposed to show you how the cards will perform in your system, they're just supposed to show yo the difference between the cards.
    These articles aren't supposed to show you how the cards will perform in your system, they're just supposed to show yo the difference between the cards.
    These articles aren't supposed to show you how the cards will perform in your system, they're just supposed to show yo the difference between the cards.

    These articles aren't supposed to show you how the cards will perform in your system, they're just supposed to show yo the difference between the cards.
    These articles aren't supposed to show you how the cards will perform in your system, they're just supposed to show yo the difference between the cards.
    These articles aren't supposed to show you how the cards will perform in your system, they're just supposed to show yo the difference between the cards.
    These articles aren't supposed to show you how the cards will perform in your system, they're just supposed to show yo the difference between the cards.
    These articles aren't supposed to show you how the cards will perform in your system, they're just supposed to show yo the difference between the cards.
    These articles aren't supposed to show you how the cards will perform in your system, they're just supposed to show yo the difference between the cards.
    These articles aren't supposed to show you how the cards will perform in your system, they're just supposed to show yo the difference between the cards.
    Reply

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