Nvidia launches GeForce GT 440

Only for OEM’s, alongside new GTS 450

NVIDIA IS CONTINUING to launch new GeForce 400 series cards, although this time it’s the OEM partners that are getting new cards in the shape of the GeForce GT 440 and a very different GTS 450. The two cards don’t appear to be all that different once you start reading the specifications, which makes us wonder what Nvidia is playing at.

The GeForce GT 440 is a single slot card with a 144 shader GPU clocked at 594MHz with the shaders working at 1189MHz and a memory clock of 800 or 900MHz. The card has a 192-bit memory interface which is a step up from the retail GTS 450 which only has a 128-bit memory interface. For whatever reason Nvidia has seen fit to equip the GeForce GT 440 with either 1.5GB or a massive 3GB of GDDR3 memory and we can’t think of a single time when you’d need 3GB of graphics memory on a card like this. The card comes with a DVI, D-sub and HDMI port and it also supports SLI, unlike the GT 430 which doesn’t have an SLI connector.

However, what really surprised us is Nvidia’s new OEM GTS 450, as this is not at all the same card as the retail one. The OEM card has a mere 144 shaders, just like the GT 440. The OEM GTS 450 has a higher clock speed at 790MHz with its shaders at 1580MHz, but this only seems to give a small performance benefit with a texture fill rate of 19 billion/sec compared to 14.3 billion/sec for the GT 440. The memory bandwidth is much higher though at 86GB/sec thanks to the 192-bit memory interface and 1.5GB of GDDR5 memory running at the peculiar speed of 1804MHz. Considering that the retail GTS 450 has a 128-bit memory interface and a memory bandwidth of a mere 57.7GB/sec, this is going to upset some, despite the retail cards having 192 shaders and a higher texture fill rate of 25.1 billion/sec. The rest of the card appears to be the same, but this is a real head scratcher.

If nothing else, this is a great way to confuse consumers that don’t know the difference between one model and the next. Of course, for most people that would end up with one of these cards in their system, they wouldn’t know either which way as most of them wouldn’t know which graphics card to buy in the first place. Still, we can’t understand the point of making two completely different solutions here, although the OEM GTS 450 and the GT 440 seem to have more in common than the OEM GTS 450 and the retail GTS 450. Maybe it’s a new scheme from Nvidia where the company will start to hold back certain solutions for its OEM partners that perform better than its most basic retail parts, yet not as good as its higher-end retail parts.S|A

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