Buoyed by the early promise of its ATI Radeon HD 4850 card, AMD expects its discrete graphics card market share to reach 40% in Q3, 2008 up from 30% at the beginning of this year. The performance-oriented HD 4850 is an absolute steal for $199 and most industry watchers expect it to tear into the market held by $200-300 card.
The launch of the HD 4850 left Nvidia with no choice but to drop the price of its GeForce 9800 GTX+ from $229 to $199. But when AMD decides to cut Radeon HD 4850’ price – a long way off – sales will get a huge boost.
If you’re already gaming with a G92-based 8800 GTS, there’s very little reason to move up to a G92-based 9800 GTX such as PNY’s XLR8. The architecture in both GPUs is nearly the same, with 128 stream processors, a 256-bit interface, and 512MB of GDDR3. Slightly faster clock speeds yield only a modest bump in performance. That’s not to say the 9800 brings nothing to the table, but you’ll have to decide for yourself whether its offerings are worth the price.
Watching the ongoing race between AMD and Nvidia to build the ultimate graphics processor reminds us of the tale of the tortoise and the hare. AMD has played the hare, aggressively bounding ahead of Nvidia in terms of process size, number of stream processors, frame buffer size, memory interface, die size, and even memory type. Yet Nvidia always manages to snag the performance crown. The GeForce 200 series is but the latest example. We lay hands on the smokin’-fast GeForce GTX 280. Could this be the graphics processor to finally tame Crysis? We reveal what makes the card unique and how its architectural advances translate in the benchmarks!
AMD’s Radeon HD 3870 is a fine GPU for the money. It doesn’t outperform Nvidia’s GeForce 8800 GTX, and it lags far behind the extravagant 8800 Ultra, but it does deliver a phenom— er, make that a tremendous price/performance ratio.