Not everyone can afford a $500+ AIB, especially if one is not interested in crypto-mining, and AAA FPS games. But many people need a fast render’er for photo work and even spreadsheets. Also, there is a certain status in bragging that your PC has a discrete graphics AIB, that’s a cut above an ordinary PC with just integrated graphics. The implication is that the work you do is so demanding, important and you need a discrete graphics AIB, it’s a productivity tool and has immense ROI.
Nvidia, the smartest marketing company to hit the PC market ever (although Apple is a very close second) understood the status of a discrete AIB, and the challenge of costs, especially in China. Nvidia’s partner Lenovo also understood it—Lenovo got started in 1984 by making inexpensive PCs that could display Chinese characters.
So in 2021 Nvidia came up with the idea to leverage their very successful GPU, Pascal, that made the Titan a Titan. The company did a process reduction from 16 to 14 nm—a readily available, high-yield, and inexpensive process, knocked out a few shaders, and offered a 2GB AIB.
BAM! Behold the GT 1010.
The GeForce GT 1010 AIB was announced by Nvidia on January 13th, 2021. Built on the 14 nm process, and based on the GP108 Pascal design, in a GP108-200-A1 variant. The AIB is compatible with DirectX 12 and is a relatively small chip with a die area of only 74 mm² with 1,800 million transistors.
|Nvidia’s GP108-200-A1 GPU circa 2021 (source: Nvidia)|
Unlike the more powerful and unlocked 384 shader GeForce GT 1030 DDR4, the GeForce GT 1010 has 256 shading units, 16 texture mapping units, and 8 ROPs. The two GB of GDDR5 memory has a 64-bit memory interface and operates at 1502 MHz (6 Gbps effective). The GPU runs at 1228 MHz and can be boosted up to 1468 MHz.
The GT 1010 is a single-slot AIB, the Nvidia GeForce GT 1010, does not require an additional power connector, the power draw is rated at 30 W maximum. It offers a DVI and a mini-HDMI display output and plugs into a PCI-Express 3.0 x4 interface. The AIB measures 147 mm in length with a single-slot cooling solution.
|Nvidia’s reference design version of the GT 1010 AIB (Source: Nvidia)|
The photos below are from HXL on Twitter and show an AIB without the Nvidia heat sink, labeling on the AIB (below the heatsink), or a lot of gold PCIe pins. That may mean Lenovo built it to Nvidia’s specifications.
|Lenovo’s GT1010 AIB (source https://market.m.taobao.com/)|
As far as performance, the GeForce GT 1010 is about 33% slower than the GT 1030 in the Geekbench Vulkan tests according to Videocardz:
|GT 1010||GT 1030||GT 1010/ GT 1030||RTX 3090||RTX 3090/ GT 1010|
|Benchmark scores for Nvidia GT 1010 (Source: Geekbench via @BenchLeaks)|
The Lenovo GT 1010 is listed on the Taobao online marketplace for 450 RMB (around $70).
What do we think?
Nvidia has cleverly binned a shrunken low-end Pascal GPU and created an incredibly inexpensive 2GB DirectX12 AIB for under $100. Graphics has always been and always will be a performance for money game. Therefore comparing or criticizing a $70 AIB for not performing like a $700 AIB is not only unfair, it’s just stupid. The GT 1010 is going to make a lot of people happy.