We've been hearing rumbles for a while suggesting that Nvidia was about to drop the price of the GeForce GTX 260 216 and it looks as if the first of these price drops has finally made it through into the channel today.
Novatech is listing Zotac's stock-clocked GeForce GTX 260 216 part at just over £210 including VAT
. Before today, the GeForce GTX 260 216 cards have started at around £230 (inc. VAT) which meant that Nvidia has struggled to compete with AMD's ATI Radeon HD 4870 1GB as it has been aggressively priced against the competition from Nvidia's two GeForce GTX 260 variants.
As I'm sure you know, there are two versions of the GeForce GTX 260 – one with 192 stream processors, and a newer variant with 216 shaders – and it's the latter that's supposed to compete with the 4870 1GB.
In addition to the price drop, the release of the Forceware 180 series drivers, which deliver some fairly nice performance improvements, it looks like the GeForce GTX 260 216 could be an attractive option moving forwards.
Not only does it match the Radeon HD 4870 1GB's performance characteristics—the two trade blows across a range of the latest games—but it's also now matching it on price. It means that things like better Folding@Home performance and PhysX support are now worth taking into account for a wider recommendation.
We're in the process of building our new X58-based graphics card test systems and one of the first things we're planning to do is to have another look at graphics card performance across the board.
Our only concern about the price drop relates to the margins that Nvidia is likely to get from this product – after all, the GT200 chip is not cheap to manufacture compared to RV770 because of its sheer size, but I'm sure it's something Nvidia has taken into account. This could be a matter of the company clearing stock ahead of the transition to 55nm, which it has been talking about since its second quarter earnings call.
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