Galaxy GeForce GTS 250Manufacturer: Galaxy
UK Price (as reviewed): £91.72
US Price (as reviewed): $199.99
We heard a rumour on the grapevine that the graphics card market is becoming so competitive that the laws governing it are going to change dramatically. It seems that there’s so much competition that the government is going to build a gladiator-style arena in which manufacturers can battle it out using a variety of weapons ranging from medieval replicas to props from the first generation of Star Trek. CEOs are to circle one another, crablike, weapons at the ready, to decide who gets shelf and web-page space to flog their wares. It will be a bold new world where benchmarks matter less than ability to wield an axe.
In the meantime though, manufacturers will have to resort to the old fashioned and considerably less entertaining method of bolting on custom coolers and change the clock speeds. Galaxy, an Nvidia partner that’s soon to expand it’s reach from the US to over here in the sunny UK, has taken both approaches with their GeForce GTS 250 1GB.
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The GeForce GTS 250 has a somewhat controversial history - despite the name it's yet card that's based on the ageing G92 chip
which was first seen in the GeForce 8800 GT at the end of 2007. The GTS 250 is based on - well, is, really - a GeForce 9800 GTX+, which tweaked the original G92 by shrinking the manufacturing process and upping the speeds. While the GTS 250 might not be the newest design around, considerable price drops have seen it become an attractive prospect for those not looking to spend over £100 on their graphics card.
The custom cooler that Galaxy has designed looks relatively capable and covers both the GPU and the memory. It’s a sensible combination of machined copper contact plate with aluminium fins and a 92mm fan sitting on top. A sneaky tactic sometimes used by cooler designers is to have a large plastic plate on the top to make a cooler look more substantial than it is (for example, the used on the Gigabyte Radeon HD 4770 512MB
). However the plastic casing on the Galaxy covers the sizeable heatink's actual dimensions and looks as if it’s fashioned so as to encourage the air from the fan over the fins. The downside though is that the cooler doesn’t exhaust heat directly out the back of the case so you’ll need decent through-flow to make the most of it.
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Next up; the clock speeds. While we said that Galaxy had changed the clock speeds, we didn’t say how. It's actually slightly underclocked its GTS 250. Specifically, the memory which is stated on Nvidia’s website
to run at 1.1GHz (2.2GHz effective). The 1GB of GDDR3 memory on the Galaxy though runs at 1GHz (2GHz effective). It’s not surprising to see that Galaxy didn’t call the card the GTS 250 ‘UC’. The core clock runs at 738MHz and the 128 stream processors run at 1.836GHz, both of which are stock speeds. The slightly underclocked memory means slightly less memory bandwidth. The Galaxy has 64/GBsec compared with a shade over 70GB/sec for a stock card.