As much as we love to write about the latest and greatest flagship graphics cards here at HotHardware, the fact of the matter is, cards that fall into the more mainstream market segments are vastly more popular with consumers--at least in terms of the overall sales numbers in the retail channel. As such, the major players in discreet graphics, currently NVIDIA and ATI, typically drive many more features and into this segment from year to year, while also increasing performance significantly.
The latest mainstream graphics card to land in our lab comes by way of NVIDIA. NVIDIA's new GeForce 9500 GT is the company's latest weapon in its arsenal of sub-$100 graphics cards but don't let the relatively low price fool you. Of course the card won't offer the same level of 3D performance as current high-end, more expensive products. However, its feature set is comparable to just about anything else on the market. And its power consumption is nice and low as well. We'll get into the details in a bit. For now take a look at the specifications and features...
In comparison to the recently released GeForce GTX series, the GeForce 9500 GT has only a fraction of the number of stream processors, ROPs, and texture units available, but the GPU's configuration does put it on par with or ahead of the GeForce 8500 / 8600 series of graphics cards, that the 9500 GT will eventually replace (along with the already released GeForce 9600 GT).
As you can see, NVIDIA has disclosed that initial 9500 GT GPUs will be manufactured at 65nm with a 55nm refresh following sometime later. The GPU is comprised of 314M transistors, with 32 stream processors, and partners will offer a range of cards with frame buffers using either DDR2 or DDR3 memory with sizes likely ranging from 256MB to 512MB.