Enthusiasts are normally concerned with crazy framerates and high resolutions. The hardware required though is hardly cheap, and the fact of the matter is, high-end video cards are not the cash cows you might expect. The real money for most companies come from the mid-ranged to mainstream parts found in your under-$200 aisles and eMachine-ish PCs.
Today NVIDIA will be announcing their GeForce 7300 GS product. Aimed strictly at the mainstream, their latest will compete directly against ATI's X1300 product line. The GeForce 7300 GS will feature 4 pixel pipes and 3 vertex shaders. The core will be clocked at 550MHz, but the memory clock will vary depending on what the add-in card partner decides on. NVIDIA expects you will see a number of GeForce 7300 GS based graphics cards with a memory clock at 400MHz (DDR2) on a 64-bit memory interface. TurboCache is supported with this product which can bump up the total addressable memory via the PCI Express bus.
As with all of the GeForce 7 Series GPUs, the GeForce 7300 GS features PureVideo which will provide very good image quality at the targeted price-point. Therefore, builders of HTPCs can look into this product since it will accelerate MPEG-2 in hardware, as well as Windows Media HD Video (WMV HD). The GPU offloads video decoding from the CPU and should provide smoother video playback and lower CPU usage. PureVideo offers advanced de-interlacing and enhanced 3:2 and 2:2 pulldown to cut down on the blur and ghosting which they say is present with ATI products (this is something many editors have noted, including us in independent reviews).
There will be more on the way, but the 7300 GS is the first NVIDIA part built on a 90nm fab process. While the reference cards will be actively cooled, we can expect to see a few 7300 GS based cards with passive cooling from their add-in card partners.
At this moment, SLI will not be supported with the GeForce 7300 GS. Pricing will also vary depending on the layout by the add-in card partners, but the MSRP is currently set at $99. We do not have any benchmarks yet, other than what NVIDIA has shown us, but according to their tests, the 7300 GS is expected to be between 20% to 90% faster than the X1300 across several benchmarks. We'll be better able to confirm these numbers as soon as we receive our review samples.