Gigabyte GV-N250OC-1GI GeForce GTS 250
Performance Summary and Conclusion
Overall, the Gigabyte GV-N250OC-1GI placed nearly in the middle of the pack of our mid-priced assortment of graphics cards. It wasn't really a challenger to the higher priced GTX 260 Core 216 or Radeon HD 4870 cards, but easily surpassed the older GeForce 9800 GT and 8800 GTS 512. Compared directly with a GeForce 9800 GTX+, however, things get really tight. Although the two cards are, for the most part, equals on the battlefield, we consistently saw small performance gains in our benchmarks by the older 9800 GTX+. The only instance where the GTS 250 really did outgun the 9800 GTX+ was in Far Cry, where the card's 1GB frame buffer kept frame rates much higher on the GTS 250 than its counterpart. Comparisons with a Radeon HD 4850 were also a mixed. Depending on the game engine, each card had its minor victories, with the notable exception of H.A.W.X., where the DX 10.1 compatible part from ATI took the lead.
At $150, Gigabyte's GV-N250OC-1GI is a decent value. You're basically getting a rebranded GeForce 9800 GTX+ at a fraction of its original cost, with a few tweaks thrown into the mix as well. 2 oz. copper layers in the PCB and top-tier electronics keep the card running cool and stable, prolonging its lifespan. The PCB layout has been reworked as well, with the GTS 250 shipping on a slightly smaller 9 inch card and requiring only a single 6-pin power connector. Gigabyte has also gone ahead and used another one of Zalman's OEM heatsink / fan creations to maintain cool temperatures while keeping noise output to a minimum.
All of the positives can't hide the fact, however, that the GTS 250 isn't necessarily the best buy out there. It's quite possible to find not only the equally performing Radeon HD 4850 for less, but with recent price drops find the much more powerful Radeon HD 4870 retailing for almost the same price as the GTS 250. Those looking for an even larger boost in performance might be best served by saving up a few more dollars and getting the GTX 260 Core 216 instead. At the end of the day, it really comes down to what serves your needs best. Those looking for a true performance beast may want to look elsewhere, but if lower power consumption, temps, and noise is what you're looking for, than the GV-N250OC-1GI might fit the bill.