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A few months back NVIDIA "released" the GeForce GTS 250 priced at just around $150. The reason behind the quotations in the previous statement is that the GTS 250 is not exactly something new. While a lot of NVIDIA's R&D dollars have gone into their higher-end products such as the GTX 285 and GTX 295, to satisfy their mid-level needs they turned to an old stand-by: rebranding a previously higher-end card. In the case of the GeForce GTS 250, we're pretty much looking at the same specifications that we saw with the GeForce 9800 GTX+, with a 1GB frame buffer being the only major difference (and even that isn't a meaningful differentiating factor as 9800 GTX+ cards with 1GB of onboard memory have been around for quite some time.)

Still, it's not all as bad as it might seem, for the 9800 GTX+ was a powerful card in its prime, which means you're getting that same power for much less than the 9800 GTX+ retailed for just over a year ago. Additionally, with the rebranding, NVIDIA hopes to eliminate some of the confusion that comes from having different product lines out there. For example, one might expect a "9800" series card to outperform a "285" series, even though we as enthusiasts know better. Renumbering the cards, as well as placing the GT / GTS/ GTX marker before it, should give a better indicator of where the performance level should be, relative to other NVIDIA offerings.

So, then, what's a manufacturer to do with their current and future product listings? To remain competitive, and not have products lingering in the warehouses, companies need to adjust for these changes quickly. For Gigabyte, they went down parallel paths in regards to the GTS 250. First, they took the GeForce 9800 GTX+ GPUs currently in their possession, flashed their BIOSes, updated the cooler, and rechristened them as the GV-N250ZL-1GI. Newer shipments that were already marked as GTS 250s were used to create the card that we're looking at today, the GV-N250OC-1GI. Although it might be noted that "OC" is part of the product name, this card actually does not get overclocked past the default specifications laid out by NVIDIA. Instead, it appears that the OC refers to the differences in speeds between the 'ZL' model and the 'OC' model, with the ZL clocking in at 740 / 1850 / 2000 MHz and the OC at 738 / 1836 / 2200 MHz. The biggest variance appears to be with the memory clocks, although a recent BIOS update for the OC version will update the core and shader clock speeds to match the ZL. We also became aware, however, of a revision to the GV-N250OC-1GI that comes with higher core and shader clock speeds, bringing the GPU up to 765 MHz and the shaders up to 1912 MHz.

Gigabyte GV-N250OC-1GI GeForce GTS 250

Crisis Causer

Nvidia is also rolling out the good ol' 8800GT / 9800GT as the GTS 240.  Party like it's 2007, w00t!