NVIDIA's just-launched GeForce 9500GT, 9800GT, and 9800GTX+ GPUs are already seeing commercial implementations on consumer graphics cards from a number of vendors, Digitimes reports. The new GPUs are positioned in between existing products, and the 9500GT is already destined for a 55nm migration.
The 9500GT has half the stream processors (32) of the popular 9600GT, runs at slightly lower clock speeds, and is populated by 256MB or 512MB of DDR3 or DDR2, depending on the manufacturer. It features a standard pair of DVI ports and an HDTV out. The DVI ports allow audio-carrying HDMI with an included adapter, a feature which, prior to the 9600GT, was only supported on ATI cards. It's less than seven inches long and entirely bus-powered, adding to ease of installation and support for small cases. With fairly robust media features, HDMI, and support for hardware acceleration of high-definition video playback, the 9500GT is a fairly compelling HTPC card, although only moderately competent at games. It will retail for about $70.
As part of its 55nm migration plans, NVIDIA will move the 9500GT to 55nm fabrication within the year. This will reduce costs significantly, and allow lower-power and higher-clocked solutions, and possibly easier passive cooling.
The 9800GT and 9800GTX+ are gaming cards. The 9800GT is essentially a 9800GTX with one block of stream processors disabled, for 112 processor cores instead of 128, and downclocked from 675Mhz to 600Mhz. It should be quite competent as a gaming card; it's essentially an 8800 GT. This extra muscle comes at a price, though: the card is longer, needs external power, and consumes more electrical power. It retails at about $170. The 9800GTX+ is exactly what its name suggests: a 9800GTX die-shrunk to 55nm and clocked higher, accordingly. It retails at about $200.
MSI, Asus, Gigabyte, Foxconn, Biostar, and Leadtek are all shipping cards on these GPUs, as are several other manufacturers. Most implementations closely follow the reference design, although some are mildly overclocked. Biostar even has a passively-cooled 9500GT. The new cards are already appealing, and the promise of a lower-power 9500GT makes the future promise of this particular GPU even more alluring.