While our high end enthusiast Geoffrey has been enjoying the graphical splendor delivered by high end graphics cards like the Geforce 8800 GTS
and Radeon HD 2900 XT
we have to acknowledge that not everybody has the funds or needs to buy an expensive video card. Today we take a closer look at the new low end introduced by NVIDIA, with the help of PNY
we are able to test the 8500 GT 256Mb DDR2 graphics card and compare it to a previous generation low end sample, the 7300 GT 256Mb DDR2.
If we look back at the different low/mid range cards offered by NVIDIA these past years we’ve noticed a trend. It started with the Geforce 2 series, where the first Geforce 2 GTS and Ultra were high priced, and it was only later that the MX series was introduced, at lower price point and lower performance goals. The Geforce 3 series did not really have a low end card, while the Ti 200 did reduce cost, it was not low budget. It wasn’t until the Geforce 4 series introduction that we were greeted by the now accustomed life cycle of GPUs. The Geforce 4 MX series was well populated and came at very low prices (at that time) for a dedicated 3D card. Performance was not stellar; it allowed then recent games to be played at low/medium game settings at best. The infamous Geforce FX series continued this trend, although it was less popular due to its flagship 5800 Ultra missing the ball in the performance/noise camp, and the later released 5900 did not really chance things drastically for the better. We can safely say that the Geforce 6 series was one of the most successful ones for NVIDIA, it outperformed ATI Radeon’s offering at similar price point, and gave birth to the Geforce 6600GT VGA card, available both in AGP/PCI Express version this card was labeled “the” budget card for a long time, the cheaper Geforce 6200 was available with TurboCache (making use of system memory) or onboard memory, it proved quite popular for those looking to get the most bang of the buck, as with a bit of tweaking and overclocking the 6200 was able to match the performance of the more expensive 6600 series. (6200 > 6600 Performance Test
). The Geforce 7 series was a blessing for the budget gamers, both mid-range 7600GT and low-end 7300GT offered excellent performance/price balance.
8500 GT Core
Now that NVIDIA has had the high end Geforce 8 cards on the market for a while, it was time for the mid and low-end cards to make an appearance. The product family has grown and we now have 8500, 8600, 8800 with a mix of GT(S) extensions to choose from. To find out if NVIDIA keeps its tradition of providing better performing cards at same price point, we pitted the new 8500 GT budget card (available in stores from $80+) to the old reigning champ: the 7300 GT.NVIDIA 7300 GT , DDR2 vs DDR3 Memory
NVIDIA first released the 7300 GT with DDR2 memory and with these specifications:GPU: 350Mhz
This card was quite a success and many got their low end cards running above default speeds with a nice FPS boost in many games. Newer manufacturing processes and lower memory prices allowed for a newer version of the 7300 GT to make an appearance, equipped with DDR3 it had these specs:
Quite a boost from the original specifications, the Geforce 7300 GT with 128Mb ram can be had for approximately $70 from online stores. In our comparison today we both versions to see how much a difference the GPU/MEM boost have.
PNY 8500 GT vs PNY 7300 GT
The product samples tested today were lent to us by PNY Technologies, both are for sale at the time of writing and come with extra game content, DX10 compatibility stickers and are competitively priced in the European market.