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Posted on February 24th, 2010 by Mike Jennings

Nvidia rebrands yet more GPUs

FermiFinally, after months of waiting, Nvidia has announced that two of its Fermi chips will be released at the end of March – but, to sate eager customers, the Californian firm has been busy churning out some new parts.

Except that they’re not new in the strictest definition of the word.

Instead, Nvidia has merely rebranded some of its older chips with bigger numbers for the benefit of OEMs – and to the detriment of people who’d naturally think that a GT 340 was more capable than the GT 240 or a GTX 295. Presumably, it’s an attempt to eke as much cash out of these older cores before the much-delayed Fermi arrives.

Take, for instance, the GeForce 310, which is the same part as the GeForce 210 and, consequently, uses the same GT218 core. Nvidia has even used the exact same picture for both of these GPUs on its website.

History of the G92

The GeForce 310 has been around since November 2009, though, and so Nvidia has partnered its sole GeForce 300-series chip with four new parts. The GeForce 315 shares the same GT216 core with the GT 220, and the GT 340, the most powerful part of this “new” series, appears to be the GT 240 with a new sticker – after all, both these parts share a virtually identical specification.

The GeForce 315 and GT 340 sandwich a couple of parts which can trace their lineage back even further. The GT 320 and GT 330 both used the G92b core, which was also used for the GTS 240 and GTS 250 and, before that, was used – albeit with small tweaks – to power four GT 100-series parts, all of which were OEM-only.

The G92b and its variants are even older: six parts in the GeForce 9000-series used this chip, with the oldest making its debut March 2008.

Remarkably, that wasn’t the first appearance of the G92 core, which was introduced way back in October 2007 inside the 65nm-based GeForce 8800 GT – a card that was quick at the time but has evidently aged badly: its score of 26fps in our High-quality Crysis benchmark is now almost tripled by the likes of the ATI Radeon HD 5870, which scored 66fps in the same test.

So, that’s the same core, tweaked, revised and reduced, for almost two and a half years. It’s no surprise that ATI has entirely taken over the A List thanks to its Radeon HD 4000 and HD 5000-series chips, which have consistently innovated.

In the meantime, though, these rebranded parts are OEM-only and aren’t likely to appease any customers who have grown weary of Nvidia’s stagnant strategy in the run-up to Fermi’s release. If you’re as confused as us about the origins of some of Nvidia’s latest GPUs, we’ve put together a handy flow-chart illustrating the origins of the G92 – after all, we’ve had plenty of time on our hands.

Posted in: Rant


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22 Responses to “ Nvidia rebrands yet more GPUs ”

  1. admica Says:
    February 24th, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    I still prefer NVidia products to their ATI counterparts. I never have driver issues and they seem to last longer. For example NV GX260 is better than the ATI 5770

  2. Flavio Martins Says:
    February 24th, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    Yeah right, admica. After the nvidia 8400/8600 fiasco you say they are better built. Also you bash the ATI card that is stealing most market from nvidia nowadays. I hope they buy you some gfx cards for that endorsement.

  3. mrtarktheredditor Says:
    February 24th, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    I agree with Admica. The nvidia products I’ve purchased have greatly out performed ATi in both quality control and raw power. This fiscal year will bring many surprises, me thinks.

  4. Sunshine Says:
    February 24th, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    5770 not far off vs GTX260, while having lower idle/load and being 20 euro’s cheaper.

  5. betterth Says:
    February 24th, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    I’m keen to agree. ATI has been cheaper for years, but their drivers have always left A LOT to be desired. nVidia may be the pricier brother, but I’ve always had rock solid results with their drivers.

    And not to mention, EVGA and BFG have been ace with their life time warranties. Last time I had a problem with a heatsink, I got a card back from them that was about twice as powerful at no cost to me. (EVGA, that time).

  6. Sunshine Says:
    February 24th, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    Yes, EVGA is a good one. How ever, one should wonder how long EVGA will stay nVidia exclusive after constant rebranding and almost non-excistant availability of GTX 470/480 at March.. Certainly with the only 1 year warranty nVidia gives while EVGA gives lifetime. It’ll cost EVGA dearly..

  7. OpaqueSheen Says:
    February 24th, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    This must be some bizarro world where the HD4870 never existed. Where am I? How do I get back home? I can’t afford to stay here.

  8. Mike Says:
    February 24th, 2010 at 11:53 pm

    3xx series are all 40nm versions of the existing architecture. Some also have more CUDA cores. If these didn’t receive diff. product numbers, how could customers tell them apart?

  9. Michael Says:
    February 25th, 2010 at 4:00 am

    betterth: HIS should as good as EVGA and they now have ATI cards. Additionally, I’ve never had driver problems w/ ATI and have had insane system instability with nVidia.

  10. Gindylow Says:
    February 25th, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    I had been a long standing Nvidia fan but after finally saving up for an 1Gb 8800 card only to find it was badly manufactured and had terrible drivers bluescreening COD 4 & 5 left right and center, I swapped back to my old 8600 before finally getting hold of a Radeon 4800 series for peanuts which runs like a dream.

    It seems best to check the forums and do an Alta Vista search beforehand before actually commiting to etiher companies product.

  11. Mike Says:
    February 26th, 2010 at 1:33 am

    ATi have a bad reputation for Linux drivers… but I tend to like their stuff better then Nvidia, and the price performance ratio is normally a little better than the Nvidia too (not always though).

    At the end of the day, it is similar to a AMD v. Intel type of debate… with fan boys on both sides… each has pros & cons, and makes good releases & bad releases!

  12. makomk Says:
    February 26th, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Mike: 3xx are identical to 2xx, which is the original name for their 40nm versions of their existing architecture. Read the article more carefully.

  13. Jim Says:
    February 26th, 2010 at 10:09 am

    I have no preference to either card manufacture, I had an ATi card (X800) that I swapped for an nVidia card (8800GTX) and now have an ATi card (4870×2).

    My point being that at different times both seem to take the lead, when the 8800 cards came out ATi had nothing to touch them, similarly now nVidia is very far behind.

  14. milliganp Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    The product photo hints at the possibility of upgrading an existing nVidia card by writing FERMI on it with a felt tip pen -must try this!

  15. juan_carlos Says:
    March 1st, 2010 at 12:27 am

    @milliganp let me know if it works for you. il do the same thing. wow talk about getting something for nothing! do you have to write it on the chip itself? or will any other part of the card do?

  16. veato Says:
    March 2nd, 2010 at 10:48 am

    @juan_carlos it works better if you hammer and chisel it onto the GPU

  17. G&T Says:
    March 5th, 2010 at 7:20 am

    admica (message #1), it’s no wonder nVidia have the driver set quite well done. After all, they have had a lot of time to make it perfect as the hardware has kept the same for ages…

  18. Bradfirj9 Says:
    March 9th, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    I don’t think it’s really fair to say one manufacturer is worse than the other for having produced a certain poor product. *cough* 8600 *cough*
    Both camps have produced lemons in the past, and will most likely continue to do so in future.

  19. Bass-Playing Chemist Says:
    March 15th, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    As a linux user, I have found that Nvidia’s linux drivers to be so much better than ATI’s, so it’s Nvidia every time for me. It is a shame though to see them languishing with an aging product line whilst ATI are pulling ahead with what looks like better hardware at the moment.

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    November 6th, 2011 at 12:53 pm

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