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GeForce 3 prices through the roof

Apparently all this talk of "fair pricing" and "market knowledge" is just a smokescreen for the most expensive 3D graphics card, ever

There was a time when the GeForce 2 GTS cost £250 or more - when I bought one last year, I thought that was a hell of a lot of money for a graphics card, having spent a meagre £99 on my first, a 12Mb Maxi-Gamer Voodoo 2, a few years previously. I had expected that with constant development, the graphics card market would take on a similar model to the CPU market, with price brackets for each performace level. Whenever a new CPU is released, the lowest specification model is discontinued, and all the other CPUs jump down a few quid to match the price previously occupied by their lessers. It's a sensible system, and it stops CPUs from becoming extraordinarily expensive. Unless of course you're Intel, but that's another story entirely. With graphics cards though, it's (quite worryingly) never been like that. The Voodoo 2 cost £99, the TNT2 cost £150, the GeForce SDR and DDR cost nearly £199 and £250 respectively at launch, and the GeForce 2 GTS was going for over £300 when Hercules launched their 3d Prophet II. Today, people still sell 64Mb GeForce 2 GTS cards for close to £300, and the absurdly-priced GeForce 2 Ultra goes for £450 at its peak. EuroGamer is in the process of testing an Ultra just at the moment, and to be blunt, it isn't worth the extra cash on top of a 32Mb GTS. All this brings us to NVIDIA's next big thing, the so-called NV20, which is now known in retail circles as the GeForce 3. The GF3, it has long been thought, would signify a change in pricing, and slip to about £400 - a price some people consider to be the upper echelon of what they are prepared to pay anyway. Well, we have news for you. This morning, x-bit labs, a specialist harware site, revealed more details on the GF3, only a week away now from the 27th February date when the first cards will start making themselves known. Their details include information on the first ASUS card, the V8200, and ELSA's Gladiac 920 (which we hope to review shortly after its release). The specs for the graphics card are as follows:-

NVIDIA GeForce3 chip;

350MHz RAMDAC;

64MB DDR SDRAM (3.8ns memory chips);

200MHz core and 460MHz memory frequencies;

3.2Gtexel/sec theoretical fillrate;

AGP 2x/4x bus with FastWrites support;

TV-Out.

The notables are the lower core and memory frequencies than the GeForce 2 Ultra, but the more impressive performance elsewhere. Make no mistake though, this lump of silicon with knobs on is not worth the asking price. Did I mention the asking price? Oh yes, according to x-bit labs, it's $699. Six-hundred and ninety-nine dollars. As Overclockers.com rightfully pointed out in a typeface large enough to convey their incredulity, "YOU CAN BUY A WHOLE DAMN COMPUTER FOR THAT!!" x-bit are confident that the price will drop some $150 by the time the cards become available in larger quantities, but to be honest, $550 isn't that much of an improvement, lads. No-one's really sure whether the GeForce 3 will exhibit the performance benefits one would generally expect to see from such an extraordinary expensive upgrade; unfortunately we're still in wait-and-see territory. As for how NVIDIA intend to market the chipset to owners of the GeForce 2 GTS - we're stumped.

Source - x-bit labs

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Tom Bramwell avatar

Tom Bramwell

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Tom worked at Eurogamer from early 2000 to late 2014, including seven years as Editor-in-Chief.

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