Nvidia doesn't avoid DX10.1 anymore: Months after the company introduced the first DirectX 10.1 cards to the OEM market there now are retail versions, too. PC Games Hardware tests, what the new Geforce GT 220 capable of.
Geforce GT 220 reviewed [Source: view picture gallery]
Today Nvidia launches the Geforce GT 220. As the name indicates this is a graphics card for the entry-level market. It offers a performance noticeably below the Geforce GTS 250 (also known as 9800 GTX+) and even the 9800 GT (aka 8800 GT aka GTS 240 OEM) is faster. You might already know the name Geforce GT 220 since the graphics card has been used for complete PCs by several manufacturers for some time. Now Nvidia brings the card with the same frequencies to the retail market.
Geforce GT 220: Specifications
Geforce GT 220: GPU-Z doesn't detect the card correctly yet. [Source: view picture gallery]
The Geforce GT 220 is Nvidia's first retail graphics card with DirectX 10.1 support. The GT216 chip uses 48 ALUs and 16 texture units. According to the specifications the frequencies of the card are 625/1,375 MHz (GPU/Shader). The GDDR3 video memory is linked via a 128 Bit interface and runs at 790 MHz by default. In theory the GT 220 has advantages in "Computing”, but in games a limitation of the GPU due to the bandwidth is most likely.
The chart below lists the most important technical specifications: Geforce GT 220 reviewed: Board and Cooling
Up to now we received three Geforce GT 220s. It is quite interesting that Nvidia apparently doesn't support SLI with the GT 220 since none of the cards has the required connector. The samples from Palit and Gainward are very similar - the small heatsink has only few aluminum fins and a 55 millimeter fan which is connected to the card with a 2-pin connector and can be controlled via software. The compact board is only 24.7 centimeters long and the card is supplied with power via the PCI Express slot. Gainward uses Quimonda's GDDR3 memory type HYB18H1G321AF-10 with 1.2 nanoseconds, while Palit uses memory with 1.0 nanoseconds. Both devices offer a D-Sub, a Dual Link DVI and a HDMI video output.
Zotac recycles board and cooling for the GT 200: Apparently the GT 220 has the same cooler as the 9500 GT and the board is a very similar, too. The card is 26 centimeters long. Between the aluminum fins Zotac has placed a 45 mm fan which controls the temperature of the GPU and itself is PWM controlled. The heatsink covers the memory but strangely it doesn't though the chips - questionable from a temperature related point of view. Like Gainward and Palit Zotac offers D-Sub, Dual Link DVI ad HDMI.
Palit Geforce GT 220 Sonic: the cooler [Source: view picture gallery]
Palit Geforce GT 220 Sonic: 1.2 ns GDDR3 RAM [Source: view picture gallery]
Zotac Geforce GT 220 1024M [Source: view picture gallery]
Geforce GT 220 reviewed: Loudness and Power Consumption
Zotac Geforce GT 220 1024M: the cooler [Source: view picture gallery]
With our equipment we record the acoustic pressure in Decibel (a) and the loudness in Sone at a distance of 50 centimeters. The remaining components of our test system are silent: A AMD Athlon X2 BE 2350 with 2.1 GHz is passively cooled by a Scythe Orochi on a Asrock A780 FDP with AMD 780G chipset. The system is powered by a Nesteq X Zero PSU with 600 watt output and the operating system is stored on a Hama SSD. The ambient noise of our sound lab doesn't exceed 0.1 Sone.
The temperatures and the power consumption are also tested with this test system. We record 2D results on the Windows desktop as well as results at full workload. For this we use Race Driver Grid at 1,920 x 1,200 with 4x MSAA and 16:1 AF. The game is more challenging for the graphics card than Crysis Warhead and other games with a constant workload.
As an absolute worst-case scenario we use Ozone3D Furmark in version 1.6.5. With a renamed exe file this tool stresses the graphics cards to the maximum and is most challenging for the cooling solutions. Important: This scenario reveals what the absolute worst-case is in matters of loudness and power consumption. Such results are most unlikely to be reached during all day usage. Results: Geforce GT 220 (Gainward, Palit, Zotac)
We tested three samples of the GT 220 and encountered big differences between the individual devices: In idle mode the power consumption varies between 10 and 14 watt and the temperatures lie around 40 degrees Celsius. If stressed the results vary more widely as the cards reach 32, 41 and up to 55 watt. The temperatures are irregular, too. The Zotac is quite cool at all times, but produces a constant noise level of 1.7 sone. The Palit/Gainward cards only reach 0.5 sone in idle mode and the Palit reaches 1.1 sone on workload. Apparently the manufacturers integrated different fan controls.
Nvidia officially specifies a power consumption of 7 watt in 2D and up to 58 watt in 3D mode. The throttling temperature of the GT216 is set to 105 degrees Celsius.
Geforce GT 220 reviewed: Overclocking
We tested both versions of Geforce GT 220, one with 512 MiByte and one with 1024 MiByte VRAM, to check the overclocking capabilities. Both cards are doing very well: The Palit with 512 miByte and the Gainward with 1024 Mibyte can deal with up to 1050 MHz chip frequency. In comparison to Nvidia's specifications this is an increase of 33 percent. The 40 nanometer GPU runs with 770/1674 respectively 750/1620 MHz. The gaming performance benefits noticeably of overclocked memory - the Fps ratio is on average about 25 percent higher.