The high end of the gaming video card market took a sharp turn for the worse at the end of last year mainly due to the economy tanking and the fact that the mainstream cards of 2008 ($200) were as good as the high-end video cards of 2007. Add to that the fact that there was no killer app that required more powerful video cards and the high-end market nose-dived according to JPR (Jon Peddie Research). The market for the under $200 video card is never stronger, however.
The vast majority of sales on the video card market is in the under $200 range. NVIDIA has decided to rename their GeForce 9800GTX card to the GeForce GTS 250 branding. Since the 9800GTX is effectively a fully unlocked GeForce 8800GT from 2007 this is the second rebranding of the same chip. Why was the rebranding necessary? NVIDIA's (and ATI's for that matter) naming schemes for their video cards has gotten very convoluted. The GeForce 8800GT/8800GS/9600GSO/9800GT/9800GTX/9800GTX+/9800GX2 all use the same core chip with a few modifications in terms of the clock speeds and SPs. The 9800GX2 is a special case due to it being two G92 chips on a single graphics card but functionally it is the same chip. NVIDIA wants to differentiate their naming scheme by having GTX stand for the enthusiast cards, GTS for the mainstream and GT for the lower end. The number following the prefix indicates the performance with higher numbers meaning higher performance. For example, the GeForce GTX 280 is faster than the GTX 260 216 core. In any event, today's review is on the XFX GeForce GTS 250 card.