Friday, 26 September 2008

New GPU Names For Nvidia GPU's

For A long time now consumers have been complaining about the naming conventions applied to graphics cards produced by Nvidia and ATi. Now, I’ll be perfectly honest when I say that I cannot entirely understand people’s difficulties with Nvidia’s naming convention, however I myself do not entirely understand ATI’s.

However, my ignorance to the naming convention applied by ATi is just that, ignorance. I do not buy ATi cards because I do not like ATi as a company, and therefore I have little to no interest in their products, and less interest in how they name them.
Conversely, Nvidia cards do interest me, and I do buy them. I like Nvidia. They have a cool name, cool logo, cool colour scheme (green and black) and they produce some truly spectacular and innovative new technology.

Now, Nvidia has bitten the bullet and listened to its customer’s complaints regarding the manner in which they structure the model names of their hardware, and have decided to abandon the old way, and have - with their new GTX range - introduced a new naming scheme which is beginning to unfold.

I have been motivated to write this article in response to a news article over at my favourite magazines website, CustomPC, entitled “Rumour Control: Nvidia to introduce new GPU names”.
The article explains how Nvidia may be planning to rename their 9000 series graphics cards with a G100 series naming convention, which will include GT100, GT120, GT 130, GT140 and GT150.

While it’s fair to say that renaming 9000 series cards as GT1xx will help to bring card products in line with the newer GT200 cards, surely this only serves to confuse customers further?
Personally I think that the manner in which Nvidia have been naming their various model is fine.

Let’s break things down:

Example 1 – 9000 Series

In the 9000 series are 8 cards as follows (in order of performance, highest to lowest)
· GeForce 9800 GX2
· GeForce 9800 GTX+
· GeForce 9800 GTX
· GeForce 9800 GT
· GeForce 9600 GT
· GeForce 9600 GSO
· GeForce 9500 GT
· GeForce 9400 GT

As you can see, the lowest performing card, the 9400 GT has the lowest number and just the GT suffix. Then above that is the 9500 GT, a higher number meaning high performance, above that is the 9600 GSO and GT... "S" comes before "T" in the alphabet; therefore the GSO does not perform as well as the GT. Above that you will see the 9800 cards listed as GT, GTX, and GTX+. Surely you can see a pattern? The GX2 is a bit of an anomaly, but the 2 gives it all away... 2 GPU’s on one card.

Now, here is how to group the cards together: 9800 are at the top of the performing pile, 9600 smack bang in the middle and anything below is the budget end of the range.

Example 2 – 8000 Series

Currently the 8000 Series is advertised on the Nvidia website as having just 4 cards in the range. There were more, but these are no longer advertised by Nvidia as the 8000 series is at the end of its life and being phased out.
· GeForce 8800 GTS
· GeForce 8800 GT
· GeForce 8600 GTS
· GeForce 8600 GT

There were also a few other 8800 models some time ago, and an 8400 series at the budget end.
You can see though that the 8600GT and GTS are the mid performers, while 8800’s are at the top end of the performance scale.

The same pattern was applied to the 7000 series and 6000 series.

Now, why is that so difficult?

The problem seemed to be that people expected 9400 GT card to be a better performer than an 8800 GT because the model number is higher, when in fact this is not the case. The first number denotes the series, the second number denotes where that model lies in the series.
I hope this has clarified matters a little? To be honest, I feel quite annoyed by this whole topic, when you go and by a new Ford Fiesta you expect it to be faster than your old one, and often this is the case, unless you previously owned a 1600cc model and have now gone and purchased a 1300cc model of course. Well it’s the same with graphics cards.

Now that my little rant is over and done with, I’d like to read your thoughts on this matter. Do you feel that you have in the past been duped by Nvidia? Do you think a new naming convention will actually help? Are you as annoyed as I am by the whole need to change? Use the comments area below to voice your opinion.

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