With so many great products in the £100 to £150 price range, there's never been a better time to buy a performance mainstream graphics card... or has there? Tim Smalley mulls over the ups and downs of having lots products to choose from.
"It's clear that Nvidia had really struggled to compete with the Radeon HD 3850 ever since its launch and, in fact, it was the first time it has struggled to compete with AMD for some time. Nvidia didn't know what to do with the Radeon HD 3850 256MB when it launched, because the GeForce 8800 GT 256MB was taking longer than expected to get to market. I was even offered a BIOS that would disable 256MB of memory on one of our GeForce 8800 GT 512MB reference cards, just so that Nvidia didn't look as bad. This was something I turned down – "Get me a real product," I said.
Nvidia ended up paper launching the GeForce 8800 GT 256MB and it was quite a bit more expensive than the card it was supposed to compete with. It actually ended up sitting right in between the 3850 and the 3870.
With the 8800 GT 256MB suffering from stock shortages and paper launches, it wasn't too long before the GeForce 8800 GS appeared on the market. It was almost a desperate second attempt to squash the Radeon HD 3850, and one that we felt was unsuccessful..