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NVIDIA GeForce GT 220 Graphics Card

The low-end novelty.

January 21, 2010



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After AMD has released new DirectX 11 solutions for price ranges of over $100, NVIDIA decides to rollout new low-end solutions with DirectX 10.1 support which isn't a radically new feature for cards priced $80 and less.

From the business point of view it seems logical to release new, cheaper GPUs using a finer process technology to replace the previous GeForce 9500/9400 series. However, NVIDIA's product renaming series has already had time to pester both retailers and buyers. For this reason, GT 220 -- a new incarnation of 9500 GT -- hasn't attracted much attention. After all, the previous 9500 GT was quite enough for the low-end segment already. Besides, it's still well on sale.

Now this is where marketing experts come in. Equip the otherwise weak products with 1GB of VRAM and put nice memory capacity numbers on boxes. Who cares that only a quarter of that gigabyte will actually be used. Of course, they could add PhysX support to the GeForce 9xxx series, so those cards could work as secondary physics accelerators. But, marketwise, it's better if GT 220 has the feature, while the previous series has not. Just a matter of drivers.

It's true that the number of unified processors has grown from 32 (of 9500 GT) to 48. But the number of texture processors and ROPs has been halved at that. Do you think this is going to help the novelty perform better? It hardly will.

Thus, we can state that GT 220 is a temporary replacement for 9500 GT to keep buyers interested in the low-end price range which has become more attractive because of the economic depression.

Now let's examine six graphics cards from various vendors and see how they compete against solutions from AMD, the primary rival being RADEON HD 4670.

Design


Chaintech GeForce GT 220 1024MB
  • GPU: GeForce GT 220 (GT216)
  • Interface: PCI-Express x16
  • GPU clock rate (ROPs/Shaders): 700/1540 MHz (625/1360 MHz nominal)
  • Memory clock rate, physical (effective): 900 (1800) MHz (800 (1600) MHz nominal)
  • Memory bus: 128-bit
  • Vertex processors: -
  • Pixel processors: -
  • Unified processors: 48
  • Texture processors: 8
  • ROPs: 4
  • Dimensions: 190x100x16 mm
  • PCB color: green
  • RAMDACs/TDMS: integrated into GPU
  • Outputs: Dual-Link DVI, VGA, HDMI
  • VIVO: -
  • TV-out: -
  • Multi-GPU support: software SLI
ECS GeForce GT 220 1024MB
  • GPU: GeForce GT 220 (GT216)
  • Interface: PCI-Express x16
  • GPU clock rate (ROPs/Shaders): 625/1360 MHz (nominal)
  • Memory clock rate, physical (effective): 400 (800) MHz (800 (1600) MHz nominal)
  • Memory bus: 128-bit
  • Vertex processors: -
  • Pixel processors: -
  • Unified processors: 48
  • Texture processors: 8
  • ROPs: 4
  • Dimensions: 190x100x16 mm
  • PCB color: blue
  • RAMDACs/TDMS: integrated into GPU
  • Outputs: Dual-Link DVI, VGA, HDMI
  • VIVO: -
  • TV-out: -
  • Multi-GPU support: software SLI
Gainward GeForce GT 220 512MB
  • GPU: GeForce GT 220 (GT216)
  • Interface: PCI-Express x16
  • GPU clock rate (ROPs/Shaders): 650/1414 MHz (625/1360 MHz nominal)
  • Memory clock rate, physical (effective): 900 (1800) MHz (800 (1600) MHz nominal)
  • Memory bus: 128-bit
  • Vertex processors: -
  • Pixel processors: -
  • Unified processors: 48
  • Texture processors: 8
  • ROPs: 4
  • Dimensions: 190x100x19 mm
  • PCB color: red
  • RAMDACs/TDMS: integrated into GPU
  • Outputs: Dual-Link DVI, VGA, HDMI
  • VIVO: -
  • TV-out: -
  • Multi-GPU support: software SLI
Inno3D GeForce GT 220 1024MB
  • GPU: GeForce GT 220 (GT216)
  • Interface: PCI-Express x16
  • GPU clock rate (ROPs/Shaders): 625/1360 MHz (nominal)
  • Memory clock rate, physical (effective): 790 (1580) MHz (800 (1600) MHz nominal)
  • Memory bus: 128-bit
  • Vertex processors: -
  • Pixel processors: -
  • Unified processors: 48
  • Texture processors: 8
  • ROPs: 4
  • Dimensions: 190x100x16 mm
  • PCB color: green
  • RAMDACs/TDMS: integrated into GPU
  • Outputs: Dual-Link DVI, VGA, HDMI
  • VIVO: -
  • TV-out: -
  • Multi-GPU support: software SLI
Point Of View GeForce GT 220 1024MB
  • GPU: GeForce GT 220 (GT216)
  • Interface: PCI-Express x16
  • GPU clock rate (ROPs/Shaders): 625/1360 MHz (nominal)
  • Memory clock rate, physical (effective): 810 (1620) MHz (800 (1600) MHz nominal)
  • Memory bus: 128-bit
  • Vertex processors: -
  • Pixel processors: -
  • Unified processors: 48
  • Texture processors: 8
  • ROPs: 4
  • Dimensions: 190x100x16 mm
  • PCB color: black
  • RAMDACs/TDMS: integrated into GPU
  • Outputs: Dual-Link DVI, VGA, HDMI
  • VIVO: -
  • TV-out: -
  • Multi-GPU support: software SLI
Zotac GeForce GT 220 1024MB
  • GPU: GeForce GT 220 (GT216)
  • Interface: PCI-Express x16
  • GPU clock rate (ROPs/Shaders): 625/1360 MHz (625/1360 MHz nominal)
  • Memory clock rate, physical (effective): 790 (1580) MHz (800 (1600) MHz nominal)
  • Memory bus: 128-bit
  • Vertex processors: -
  • Pixel processors: -
  • Unified processors: 48
  • Texture processors: 8
  • ROPs: 4
  • Dimensions: 185x100x16 mm
  • PCB color: blue
  • RAMDACs/TDMS: integrated into GPU
  • Outputs: Dual-Link DVI, VGA, HDMI
  • VIVO: -
  • TV-out: -
  • Multi-GPU support: software SLI


Chaintech GeForce GT 220 1024MB

1024MB GDDR3 SDRAM in 8 Samsung chips on the front side of the PCB. Peak clock rate 900 (1800) MHz.

ECS GeForce GT 220 1024MB

1024MB GDDR2 SDRAM in 8 Qimonda chips on the front side of the PCB. Peak clock rate 500 (1000) MHz.

Gainward GeForce GT 220 512MB

512MB GDDR3 SDRAM in 4 Qimonda chips on the front side of the PCB. Peak clock rate 1000 (2000) MHz.

Inno3D GeForce GT 220 1024MB

1024MB GDDR3 SDRAM in 8 Samsung chips on the front side of the PCB. Peak clock rate 800 (1600) MHz.

Point Of View GeForce GT 220 1024MB
1024MB GDDR3 SDRAM 8 Hynix chips on the front side of the PCB. Peak clock rate 800 (1600) MHz.

Zotac GeForce GT 220 1024MB

1024MB GDDR3 SDRAM in 8 Samsung chips on the front side of the PCB. Peak clock rate 800 (1600) MHz.



Comparison with the reference design, front view
ECS GeForce GT 220 1024MB Reference NVIDIA GeForce 9500 GT
Chaintech GeForce GT 220 1024MB
Gainward GeForce GT 220 512MB
Point Of View GeForce GT 220 1024MB
Inno3D GeForce GT 220 1024MB
Zotac GeForce GT 220 1024MB


Comparison with the reference design, rear view
ECS GeForce GT 220 1024MB Reference card NVIDIA GeForce 9500 GT
Chaintech GeForce GT 220 1024MB
Gainward GeForce GT 220 512MB
Point Of View GeForce GT 220 1024MB
Inno3D GeForce GT 220 1024MB
Zotac GeForce GT 220 1024MB

Obviously, the design of all of today's cards is rather simple thanks to the 128-bit bus, and somewhat similar to that of 9500 GT. It's also clear why the Gainward's product has twice as few memory chips -- it has 512MB of VRAM.

Note that for some reason the solution from ECS has GDDR2 memory instead of GDDR3 which works at nearly halved frequency at that. Obviously, it'll be a performance outsider.

The GT 220 series feature audio codecs, so nothing else it required to transmit audio to HDMI. This is another difference from the previous solutions.

These novelties do not require additional power supply.

Also note that you can have two simultaneous HDMI outputs with the help of a DVI-to-HDMI adapter.

Maximum resolutions and frequencies:

  • 240 Hz maximum refresh rate
  • 2048 x 1536 x 32bit @ 85Hz Max -- analog interface
  • 2560 x 1600 @ 60Hz Max -- digital interface (Dual-Link DVI/HDMI)

As for the HDTV support, a review is available here.


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Article navigation:

Page 1: Introduction, design

Page 2: Cooling

Page 3: Bundles, boxes

Page 4: Performance in games



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