GeForce GTS 250 Roundup (ASUS, Gigabyte, Sparkle, EVGA)

by Michael "SKYMTL" Hoenig     |     May 7, 2009

A Shootout at the GTS 250 Corral

Looking through various retailer listings for the GTS 250, it quickly becomes apparent that Nvidia’s board partners have been quick to release a stunning variety of cards. Unfortunately, this wide variety has also led to a situation where the buyer must be well informed regarding the advertised clock speeds of the card he / she is looking at. When the thought of this roundup first taking shape, situations in which GTS 250 clock speeds were below reference specifications came to our attention. While the vast majority of these cards run at stock speeds or higher, we weren’t at all surprised when we received one card that claimed to be overclocked but was instead running at reference speeds and another that had memory clocks significantly below what Nvidia specified.

Above we have the general specifications of the four competitors which will be represented in this roundup. Notice anything a bit odd? To us it seems that some of Nvidia’s board partners are a bit hazy regarding the reference memory clocks of the GTS 250. First of all, the ASUS Dark Knight uses a memory speed which is reminiscent of the older 9800 GTX+ 1GB cards instead of the 200Mhz higher reference speed of the GTS 250. Gigabyte seems to be on this same track since their GTS 250 is billed as an “overclocked memory” edition but in the end, the overclocked memory just brings its speed up to reference specs. Remember this throughout the roundup: even though Gigabyte markets this card as being overclocked, it runs at stock speeds.

We asked Bryan Del Rizzo, marketing manager at Nvidia for a comment about the memory speed discrepancy: “…stock memory clocks (on the 1GB card) should be 2200Mhz (DDR), or 2.2Ghz.” End of story.

As you can see, the cards from both Sparkle and EVGA are truly overclocked and will definitely have a slight advantage over some of the other competitors. From quickly looking at the chart it seems that even though EVGA’s Superclocked model has the edge in core speeds, Sparkle’s 512MB Calibre X250 has the highest shader and memory clocks. The battle between these two cards in particular will be very interesting to witness as will the overclocking potential of every one of these products. One of the most interesting aspects will certainly be that ages old question that has been brought up so many times: will 1GB of memory really mean higher performance?

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