NVIDIA GeForce GTS 250 Mainstream GPU

Article Index

Our Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary: The GeForce GTS 250 is very similar to the GeForce 9800 GTX+, and as such, the two cards perform almost identically when the new GTS 250's larger 1GB frame buffer doesn't come into play. At higher-resolutions, when additional pixel processing is employed (like in FarCry 2, for example), the GeForce GTS 250's larger frame buffer allows it to measurably outperform the older GeForce 9800 GTX+. In comparison to the Radeon HD 4850, generally speaking, both cards perform at nearly the same level, with a slight edge going to the GeForce GTS 250.


We suspect NVIDIA is going to take some flak from a few members of the tech press, for releasing yet another "new" graphics card based on the aging G92 GPU. And we can certainly understand why. But if you take a step back and look at the GeForce GTS 250 for what it really is, it's an interesting option, considering the current economic climate. The GeForce GTS 250 is smaller and quieter than the GeForce 9800 GTX+ and Radeon HD 4850--although the latter does come in a single-slot form factor. The GTS 250 also uses somewhat less power than its predecessor, it's cheaper, which will then drive the price down of the remaining 9800 GTX+ cards still sitting on store shelves.  It also has double the frame buffer memory--1GB vs. 512MB. For about $149, it's really not a bad deal. And don't forget that NVIDIA's cards offer PhysX and CUDA support, which differentiates their offerings from ATI's currently. We wish NVIDIA had something truly new on tap for this release, but we can't really knock them too hard for releasing a more capable graphics card at a lower price point than its predecessor.

Although the embargo on GeForce GTS 250 information is lifting today to coincide with demos taking place at the CeBIT trade show, expect wide retail availability of cards on or around March 10. 512MB versions of the GeForce GTS 250 (which will be SLI-compatible with existing GeForce 9800 GTX+ cards) have an MSRP of $129, and as we've mentioned the 1GB variant we tested here will sell for about $149. Based on current graphics card pricing, taking recently revealed price drops on Radeon HD 4800 series cards into consideration, the GeForce GTS 250 represents a good value.  Although a 512MB Radeon HD 4870 would be a great alternative if you own a 22" or smaller monitor, that can't hit resolutions above 1920x1200.  It may not be based on a totally new GPU, but if you're on a budget and want a capable graphics card, the GeForce GTS 250 is worth a look. If you can muster the extra coin, however, there's a lot of performance to be gained by investing in a GeForce GTX 260 or 1GB Radeon HD 4870.

  • Relatively Inexpensive
  • CUDA and PhysX Support
  • 1GB Frame Buffer
  • Cool and Quiet
  • Relatively Low Power


  • Based on "old" G92
  • No New Features
  • Naming Convention May Confuse some buyers


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