Nvidia recently launched their GT 430 without much fanfare, which is understandable since this is a mainstream card that not many people would care about. However, in our country, a graphics card around the 5K price range sells the most and is primarily where the volumes lie. As enthusiasts we may never give a second glance to these cards, but in reality a majority of PC users don't want to spend more than five to six grand on something that will be used primarily for gaming.
Luckily, the new stripped down Fermi's are priced under 5K, which I'm sure is the sweet spot for many. So how do these new cards fare against the ruling champions like ATI's HD4670 and Nvidia's very own long-running 9600GT. The two cards we have today are from Galaxy and ZOTAC, both of which carry their own custom cooler design, connectivity options and slightly different memory timings. Both these cards will be available for under five grand, so let's find out which one is better and if Nvidia's new chip is worth considering incase you were planning to upgrade.
The GT 430 is based on a new core codenamed GF108. It's fabricated using the same 40nm process and is based on a downscaled version of the Fermi chip. The new SKU comes with 96 shader units or CUDA cores, as Nvidia likes to call them. The ROP's are cut down quite a bit to just 4, which doesn't look too good for gaming performance.
There is a generous helping of 1GB GDDR3 memory running on a 128-bit memory bus. More than the shaders, the lesser number of ROPs look like it could impact gaming negatively, but we'll have to wait and see. Compared to the GT220, the GT 430 doesn't bring a whole lot of new things to the table other than HDMI 1.4a and TrueHD and DTS-HD audio bit-streaming support.
Comparing the specs of both the cards we can see that ZOTAC has used a slightly higher memory clock of 1800MHz, whereas Galaxy has gone with 1600MHz. In fact, if you check Nvidia's site, they mention two memory speeds, so in the end it's up to the manufacturer to use. The rest of the clock speeds are identical and correspond to the reference design.