|by Michael "SKYMTL" Hoenig | September 15, 2008|
The Current Nvidia Lineup / EVGA Core 216 Specifications
The Current Nvidia Lineup
Here it is; the new Nvidia lineup in all its glory and there are some pretty significant changes that we can see right off the bat. The most notable of these changes is the discontinuation of the short-lived 9800 GX2 as Nvidia’s flagship product which is now replaced by the GeForce GTX 280 and to a lesser extent the GTX 260 as well. The rest of the Nvidia high to mid-range lineup stays pretty much the same with cards like the 8800GT and 9600GT receiving some pretty steep price cuts of late. There has also been the addition of the 9800 GT X+ and the 9800 GT of which the former uses the new 55nm manufacturing process. Dropped from the lineup are quite a few cards including the 9800GTX in favour of the plus model. The 9800 GT on the other hand is basically an 8800GT with a few features thrown in for good measure and uses either 65nm or a new 55nm core.
Into this equation now comes the GTX 260 with 216 shader processors which is positioned slightly above the standard GTX 260 in terms of both price and supposedly performance. Not only does this new card get the extra shaders but there is also a slight bump in the texture filtering units from 64 to 72. It may seem odd to have a card like this seeing the light of day but there has already been some speculation that the cores used on these cards are failed GTX 280 cores which Nvidia would like nothing more than to insert into a competing position against the HD 4870. Other than the bump in shaders and TPUs, all of the other specifications for the GTX 260 216 are a mirror image of the standard card. What does strike us as interesting is the fact that this more powerful card is priced less than the GTX 260 was selling for just a short while ago.
Meanwhile, sitting at the top of this new lineup is the GTX 280 which is equipped with 1GB of GDDR3 memory working at 2214Mhz (DDR) and is basically on-par with what we saw with the GX2. Also gone are the days were we see a 256-bit memory interface on something that is deemed a “high-end” product since the GTX 280 now uses a 512-bit interface. This should eliminate many of the claimed bottlenecks of the narrower interface used on cards like the 9800 GT X. The core speed (which includes the ROPs and TMUs) operates at 602Mhz which is quite interesting since many pundits claimed that with the switch to a 65nm manufacturing process we would see a rapid incline in clock speeds. This has not happened with the core of the G2T00 series it seems.
Looking at the “little brother” GTX 260, it seems that there was quite a bit of pruning going on with lower clock speeds and less memory being the flavour of the day while also being combined with less processor cores. This in effect lowers its price and makes it easier to produce in volume but at the same time it could offer significant performance decreases when compared with the GTX 280.
To keep with their new parallel processing mentality, Nvidia has changed the name of their Stream Processors (or shader processors depending on your mood) to “processor cores”. There are 240 of these so-called processor cores in the GTX 280’s GT200 core which operate at 1296Mhz with those on the GTX 260 operate at a bit more mundane 1242Mhz. This speed is once again quite a bit less than what we are used to seeing with past Nvidia products but considering the number of processors, we can consider this a brute force approach rather than the finesse which comes with faster speeds.
EVGA GTX 260 Core 216 Superclocked Edition Specifications
As of late, EVGA has begun to overhaul their naming conventions for overclocked cards so the Superclocked Edition (which used to be one of the higher spec’d cards in their lineup) now represents the lowest pre-overclocked SKU while the FTW Edition is the balls-out fastest version. Even though the Core 216 Superclocked will be placed right above the stock version in EVGA’s lineup, it still gets some decent overclocks. The core gets a 50Mhz increase and with it the shaders have been bumped a little over 100Mhz and finally, the memory also gets pushed up around 100Mhz. In our opinion, none of these overclocks will noticeably change gaming performance which is a bit of a disappointment when you look at the $20 price premium this EVGA card commands over the stock clocked card.
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