Authour: James Prior
Editor: Charles Oliver
Date: October 11th, 2010
The September 2010 Steam survey shown below reinforces the statements we heard in our conference call with Nvidia early last week. Chris Daniel, Product Manager for the GeForce GT 430, talked about the need for upgrade option from integrated graphics - specifically, he introduced the GeForce GT 430 as being the best solution toward resolving compatibility and quality issues for current and new titles. From this statement we can infer the target market are PCs equipped with Intel integrated graphics. While AMD's integrated graphics options are better than Intel's, they remain based on the venerable RV620, which has roots in the old ATI Radeon HD 2400.
September 2010 Steam Survey - Primary Display Resolution
Most Popular Resolutions (Steam, Sept '10)
The GeForce GT 430 is aimed at the casual gamer running 1024x768 through 1440x900 resolutions - this represents 35% of the market. These casual gamers are playing at medium or low settings, with many advanced features like advanced or high quality shadows, HBAO or even Anti-Aliasing disabled. It's designed to be an option for upgrading integrated (either motherboard or CPU) graphics options, and as such has a lot of competition - notably several products from AMD's ATI Radeon HD 5000 series. Starting at $79 the GeForce GT 430 doesn't actually get the majority of its sales from retail or e-tailers direct to consumers, but in the prebuilt and reseller channel as an up-sell option for OEM desktops. Below is a comparison of the NVIDIA and AMD offerings:
Low End Mainstream Products
The GeForce GT 430 looks poised to take on the HD 5570 and lower specified HD 5670 models, competing for design wins in OEM PCs. It has a TDP advantage over the HD 5670, and hits all the same checkboxes plus offering HDMI 1.4a and Stereoscopic 3D support now. This is a necessary feature if you want 3D Blu-ray support, and the GT 430 also includes bitstream HD audio support, like the GTX 460, although like the GTS 450 an update to player software will be required for it to be utilized.
Multi-GPU and Surround
NVIDIA's GeForce GT 430 doesn't support more than two outputs, dropping support for Surround unlike AMD's top-to-bottom support for ATI Eyefinity in the HD 5000 series (DisplayPort output required). How much this will dent design wins for the GeForce GT 430 is unclear, as triple-display adoption rates are unknown, but check-box happy OEMs might consider productivity possibilities over 3D support, depending on their product line target market. While both Stereo3D and three-display single desktops require additional hardware (and cost) to implement, three displays are more broadly useful at home and at work. Now that NVIDIA is out of the chipset business, desktop solutions like AMD's cross-generation Crossfire (IGP HD 4290 and discrete HD 5450) are not possible, and in fact the GeForce GT 430 does not support SLI.
In a couple of weeks we should have a GeForce GT 430 sample to test, and at that time we'll see what prebuilt options you should look for - AMD or NVIDIA low end graphics solutions. The biggest problem NVIDIA's GeForce GT 430 faces is the new Northern Island series of GPUs, as any design wins NVIDIA gain now might be lost in a few months when AMD's Fusion APU and HD 6000 series low end launches.
However, OEMs don't tend to change products at the drop of a hat, so the real battle for NVIDIA's channel marketing team is to convince their customers and partners it's a long-lasting and compelling option now, and not to wait. The GF108 core is already shipping worldwide in NVIDIA Optimus equipped digital media notebooks, so this won't be a completely new sell for the channel. With twenty-one products ready for the launch, and more in design (including GDDR5 equipped models), adding desktop sells shouldn't be too hard task - if the performance meets expectations. NVIDIA estimates a 50% performance increase over the GeForce GT 220 that the GeForce GT 430 replaces, so those wins should be secure. We'll look forward to testing those claims soon.
Large Variety of Launch Products
Keep your eye on the Rage3D front page (for a couple of reasons...;-)) to see our performance and feature testing of the NVIDIA GeForce GT 430 later this month.
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