|Palit GeForce GTX 260 Sonic 216SP|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Sunday, 22 March 2009|
Page 15 of 16
GT200 GPU Final Thoughts
Paying to be an early adopter of technology or buying from the top-shelf has never really been my personal taste, even for someone as immersed in technology as I am. There are always new technologies that people talk up as they are developed, such as Blu-ray Disc for example. Yet, because there isn't enough value behind the added features or functionality to warrant paying for the premium price tag, most people simply wait extended periods of time before making their purchase. There is occasionally the rare exception however, when you can find a revolutionary new product that really makes the price worth the purchase.
For me, the GT200 graphics processor that conducts a symphony of 240 processor cores inside the GeForce GTX 280 video card has made me believe a uniquely rare exception had occurred. Months later we see the GT200 (B1 revision) launch inside the GTX 285, and I begin to see that waiting would have also been a good idea. Now I'm not going to tell you that GT200-based video cards are a must-have item for everyone. After all, the GTX 260, 280, 285 and GTX 295 are now NVIDIA's top-shelf premium GeForce products and demand a high price for admission in the midst of an economic recession. However, the technology enhancements offered by the GT200 will improve the experience for everyone from the gamer to someone encoding video.
There has been the occasional mention of parallel computing architecture throughout this article, and for very good reason. The GT200 isn't just a graphics processor, at least not in the sense we have experienced for the past decades of video card products. NVIDIA began the movement towards parallel computing with the GT200, which helped the GPU perform many of the same tasks a CPU would; only better. While they each have their strengths, these days they tend to play more of a multi-purpose role. Intel and AMD processors have long since be capable of lower-level graphics processing (mostly 2D limited), and lately they have "evolved" into four Hyper-Threaded cores with the introduction of Intel Core i7 Platform. Built at 55nm, the GT200 is beginning to look, and work, in many of the same ways a CPU does.
For everyone else who actually reads through this entire article, there's a lot going on with the GT200 that is not available anywhere else. For those with deep pockets, NVIDIA SLI technology has taken graphics to unreachable level with GeForce GTX 200-series graphics cards. NVIDIA PhysX technology, which is becoming mainstream in game development, will require no additional accelerator to enjoy the amazing new graphical effects of upcoming game titles. Even Enterprise computing environments will benefit from CUDA applications coded to make use of the many cores inside the GT200, more threads, double-precision math, and increased register file size.
Hopefully, the money-wise hardware enthusiast will begin making smarter decisions when purchasing new computer systems, and might conduct a rudimentary performance analyses to optimize their PC to match the CPU with the GPU. I think that they will find out just how well a realistic mainstream CPU paired with a higher-end GPU will actually produce better gaming performance than the reverse; and for the same price. This idea of heterogeneous computing is what NVIDIA has been working hard to accomplish with the GT200. Selecting the most appropriate graphics processor is now exactly as important as choosing the right processor any specific task. Please see our NVIDIA GPU Computing FAQ for additional information on this topic.
Even if you're only after raw gaming performance and have no real-world interest in CUDA, there's reason to appreciate the GT200 GPU. New enhancement products, such as the NVIDIA GeForce 3D Vision Gaming Kit, double the frame rate output and hence require more powerful graphics processing. This is where products like the GeForce GTX 260216 and GTX 280/285 deliver the performance necessary to enjoy the extended gaming experience.