eVGA GeForce GTS 250

Review

posted 3/6/2009 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms: PC
NVIDIA's done some product rebrands over the ages like other companies so it comes to no surprise when they decided to rename some of their old cards to fall in line with their new naming convention. What we have today is the NVIDIA GeForce GTS 250 from eVGA which is roughly the GeForce 9800GTX+, a popular card in its own right, with some minor changes. That's not to say there aren't any benefits for those folks coming from lower end cards but let's take a closer look at the card and what it has to offer besides solid gaming speeds.

The eVGA GeForce GTS 250 Superclocked is built on the 55nm process and it's the G92b GPU with speeds of 771MHz for the core, 1890MHz for the shaders, and 2246MHz for the memory. Compared to a stock card consisting of 738MHz for the core, 1836MHz for the shaders, and 2200MHz for the memory you get speed increases of 4% in GPU, 3% for the shaders, and 2% for the memory. Nothing earth shattering in terms of speed increases over a stock card but you do get it overclocked straight out of the box so you don't have to do it yourself. Total memory on board the review unit is 1GB of GDDR3 memory but there will also be a 512MB version as well which is the same as the 9800GTX+. The difference though is the 1GB version of the GTS 250 will have a 1GB frame buffer as opposed to the 512MB version/GeForce 9800GTX+ which has a 512MB frame buffer.


Basics of features supported are DirectX 10 support, PureVideo, PhysX, CUDA, and OpenGL 3.0. Also, one that's not on the box but is a nice feature is the ability to use the GeForce 3D Vision which I'll touch on more later. So, since it uses the same GPU and such, there's nothing new in terms of features here but that's to be expected. So the card doesn't really bring anything new to the table in terms of features and that can be a little disappointment for those wanting something new since this is a new SKU.

Physically, the card takes up two slots as it houses a heatsink and fun unit that funnels hot air out the back. It's a 9.5" board which is shorter than the GeForce 9800GTX+. One nice change is that the GeForce GTS 260 only needs one six-pin power connector. The GeForce 9800GTX+ had two and NVIDIA has stated that the absence of a power connector shouldn't affect overclocking performance. The six-pin power connector faces up so it makes it a little bit easier to reach and plug in. The bracket features your traditional NVIDIA setup with two Dual-Link DVI connectors and a video out connector. On top next to the SLI connectors is a two pin S/PDIF connector in case you want to use the card with an HDMI connection and funnel sound through that single cable. For those that want to pair up multiple cards, the GeForce GTS 250 supports 2 and 3 way SLI giving you the option of boosting your graphical power by adding another card or two if your motherboard supports it. The top features two SLI connectors to allow for the two configurations.

eVGA's bundle is pretty sparse but that's not that big of a deal these days to me. Besides the card, you get a driver/software CD, DVI to VGA adapter, a 6-pin PCI-E power cable, and a user's guide. That's it. Ok, so that's pretty basic and you're just getting the bare essentials with it. I would've liked to have seen a DVI to HDMI adapter bundled in as well like the Radeon HD 4850 though.

Like the GeForce 9800GTX+, the GeForce GTS 250 is made to compete with the AMD Radeon HD 4850 in terms of performance. But, recent additions to NVIDIA's stable of products does make this card have an added value besides gaming performance. First off, there's CUDA which turns GPU processors into general processing units. For those that do programming, if you can break up program workflow into a number of threads that can be operated on simultaneously having more cores work on the code can speed up completion time tremendously. I've worked with threading in some of my programs before and if you can do it right it's a great benefit. Many companies are starting to release products that utilize NVIDIA cards such as the GeForce GTS 250 to accelerate their processes but a few are starting to crop up for ATI's Stream technology.
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