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Robert Richmond
October 2001

nVidia GeForce Titanium

- a preview


Introduction

nVidia has announced the availability of its upcoming
GeForce Titanium series of graphics processors.  Over the next two months, products based upon these three "new" chipsets will be available within both the OEM and retail market channels.  The GeForce-3 Ti 500 is an overclocked version of the GeForce-3, while the GeForce-3 Ti 200 is a lower clocked version envisioned as being nVidia's new mainstream graphics solution.  The GeForce-2 Ti essentially moves into the lower market segments, though it actually provides no real benefits as compared to the original GF-2 architecture.


Specifications

T&L Renderer

Core Clock

Memory Clock

Fill Rate

Bandwidth

GF-3 Ti 500

Programmable

240 MHz

500 MHz

960 MP/s

8000+ MB/s

GF-3 Ti 200

Programmable

175 MHz

400 MHz

700 MP/s

6400+ MB/s

GF-3 Original

Programmable

200 MHz

460 MHz

800 MP/s

7360+ MB/s

GF-2 Ti

Static

250 MHz

400 MHz

1000 MP/s

6400 MB/s

GF-2 Ultra

Static

250 MHz

460 MHz

1000 MP/s

7360 MB/s

GF-2 Pro

Static

200 MHz

400 MHz

800 MP/s

6400 MB/s


Product Analysis

The GF-3 Ti 500 represents the most powerful desktop video solution to ever be released within the desktop channel, especially considering its suggested $349 US price point.  However, do not forget that ATI is nearing the debut of its similarly priced Radeon 8500 architecture.  Early performance numbers indicate the 8500 might be slightly slower, though this next-generation Radeon clearly offers the better feature set in terms of future compatibility.  nVidia may be taking a gamble here, as performance is rapidly becoming a subjective measurement since hardware engineers have generally outpaced software developers over the past couple of years.

The GF-3 Ti 200 is the most interesting offering of this new product series due to its affordable $199 US suggested price.  The Ti 200 features slightly diminished clock speeds as compared to the current GeForce-3, though those willing to attempt a moderate overclock should easily realize the full potential of this mid-range card.  The predominate reason for the Ti 200 is to introduce a product which scales better with nVidia production techniques.  The GeForce-3 core architecture is so complex that effective yield rates at 200+ MHz are usually marginal at best.  By introducing a new 175 MHz standard, nVidia can now ship core samples that once would have been discarded with the previous fabrication standards.

The GeForce-2 Ti seems to be the black sheep of this family, as it does not appear to be competitive in terms of cost or performance.  With a suggested retail price of $149 US, the GF-2 Ti does not appear to be an overly attractive purchase for retail consumers.  Most people users will likely spend the extra $50 for the more powerful GF-3 Ti 200.  It can be best assumed that the GF-2 Ti will rapidly fall in price over the next few weeks, thus moving into the entry-level segment now occupied by the GF-2 MX.


Initial Availability

GF-3 Ti 500

Link

Asus V8200T5

Digit-Life

Inno3D Ti 500

SavageNews

Elsa Gladiac 921

Amazon International

Hercules Prophet-III Ti 500

Hercules

MSI G3Ti500 Pro VD

Riva Station

MSI G3Ti500 Pro VTG

Riva Station

VisionTek Xtasy 6964

nV News

eVGA e-Force3 Ti 500

eVGA

GF-3 Ti 200

Link

Asus V8200T2

Digit-Life

Inno3D Ti 200

SavageNews

Elsa Gladiac 721

Media Xplosion

Dell Ti 200

Dell

Prolink Ti 200

Akiba

Hercules Prophet-III Ti 200

Hercules

MSI G3Ti200 Pro VD

Riva Station

VisionTek Xtasy 6564

nV News

eVGA e-Force3 Ti 200

eVGA

GF-2 Ti

Link

Asus V770Ti

Digit-Life

Inno3D GF-2 Ti

SavageNews

Elsa Gladiac 516

Amazon International

Hercules Prophet-II GF-2 Ti

Hercules

VisionTek Xtasy 5864

nV News

eVGA e-Force2 Ti

eVGA


Final Thoughts

I find it amusing that nVidia is somehow claiming the new GeForce-3 Ti series offer amazing new technologies like shadow buffering and 3D texture support.  The actual fact is that these rendering technologies are already supported by the original GF-3, though it requires the latest DetonatorXP driver release to realize the potential of these features.  I view this as marginal marketing at best, as advertising "new" features for "new" products that also work on older products is somewhat deceptive at best.  Still, the GF-3 Titanium chipsets are a welcome addition to nVidia's lineup in terms of performance and cost.  These positives are especially true for the Ti 200, as this card should offer enormous potential for those interested in overclocking.  nVidia has delivered on its promise of a new design every six months, and the Titanium series should be yet another popular offering from this valued manufacturer.

   

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