Nvidia has taken its time about it, but now we're seeing its DirectX 11 Fermi GPU filtering down into the mainstream sector with the £70 GeForce GT 430.
AMD has had its lineup of DX11 cards set up since February this year, around which time the green side of the graphics divide was starting to really nail down its first DX11 part: the GTX 480.
This inaugural seriously sub-£100 Fermi card is from graphics gurus Asus, and the first thing you'll notice is that it's designed to cater for the wee machine crowd.
The chip is based on a half-height PCB and in the box you'll find two spare brackets – both half-height too – for plugging into media-centre/lounge PCs.
With another new CPU design to cover this lower-end card, we're seeing a GPU that as well as having its PCB halved in size has been almost halved itself relative to the GTS 450's GF106, which hit us a month or so back.
We say almost, because it's actually a little bit less than half the chip of the rather impressive GTS 450. The GF108 has two Streaming Multiprocessors as opposed to the GF106's four, meaning we get half the number of CUDA cores and texture mapping units at 96 and 16.
The big difference is the render output units (ROPs) have been cut by two thirds. This means we only get four against the GF 106's count of 16.
Still, the GT 430 does come with the same 128-bit memory interface, though, but it's only running cheaper GDDR3 memory rather than the full-fat and pricier GDDR5.
It's also worth noting that while the GT 430 can come in passive-cooling trim, this Asus version comes with a dust-proof fan. Essentially, that means there is a protective lip around the bearings to stop any errant dust particles getting inside to clog things up.
But this isn't a hardcore gamer's card. Rather, it's a GPU designed to be dropped into small form factor PCs to play high-def video and do as much video encoding and photo editing as you need in your lounge.
The bonus is that you can get rather decent gaming framerates from this card if you sacrifice a few of the bells and whistles. As you'll see on the next page.