updated 02:55 pm EDT, Wed August 27, 2008
NVIDIA GeForce 9400 GT
NVIDIA has quietly bolstered the rear guard of its GPU line with the addition of the GeForce 9400 GT. Sharing the same optimizations as the rest of the 9 series, the chipset has just 16 visual effects cores but is fast enough to double the performance of its GeForce 8400 equivalent from just a year ago, according to the graphics card maker's estimates. A 550MHz main clock speed and 800MHz effective memory clock also keep it relatively cool and let NVIDIA's reference design use a small cooling fan.
The improved budget card also supports NVIDIA's CUDA language for running some general-purpose computing on the video card and is one of the least expensive ways to add the feature for in-game physics or more professional tasks such as 3D modeling.
While configurations are liable to vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, a stock 9400 GT should carry 512MB of memory as well as single dual-link DVI and VGA connections for digital and analog sources respectively. NVIDIA hopes to set a new floor for graphics and is targeting the new GeForce card's average asking price at about $59. Third parties should already have cards available now or in the near future, though PC vendors should also bundle their own cards with future desktops.