There is an ungreen revolution taking place in enthusiast game PC circles.
The eye-opening graphics possible on today's game PCs come at a cost: light-dimming power consumption. The trend, rooted in the perennial quest for more speed, bucks the overall greening of the PC industry.
This is not the case for high-end gaming PCs, where bigger is better. How far this trend can go isn't clear, but a seminal … Read more
In a story on PC Pro, Nvidia architect John Montrym (whose name was incorrectly spelled "Mottram") quoted my recent blog post on Larrabee as concluding that "the 'large' Larrabee in 2010 will have roughly the same performance as a 2006 GPU from Nvidia or ATI."
Alas, this isn't really what I said or meant.
What I actually described as equating to "the performance of a 2006-vintage...graphics chip" was a performance standard defined by Intel itself--running the game F.E.A.R. at 60 fps in 1,600 x 1,200-pixel resolution with four-sample antialiasing.
Intel used this figure for some comparisons of rendering performance. If Larrabee ran at 1GHz, for example, Intel's figures show that… Read more
Update at July 15, 3:00 a.m. PDT with additional information and corrections concerning the Intel-Nvidia dispute.
Nvidia said Monday that its multichip technology will be architected to work on Intel's upcoming Nehalem chip platform.
This announcement may help Nvidia to work around a standoff with Intel over whether Nvidia can make chipsets that work with Intel's next-generation Nehalem platform, due later this year. And also demonstrates that despite Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang' s rhetoric, Nvidia must cooperate with Intel in order to thrive.
Monday's announcement has no relation to separate licensing negotiations, according to sources … Read more
Nvidia has slashed the price of products with its newest GTX 260 and 280 graphics processors only a few weeks after it launched the chips, in response to stiffer competition from Advanced Micro Devices' ATI unit.
Nvidia said Sunday night that the GeForce GTX 280 is now available for $499 and the GTX 260 for $299. The high-end GTX 280 was originally $649, while the 260 was priced previously at $399. Both products were rolled out less than a month ago.
Nvidia's graphics boards are now more in line with ATI's newest offerings. At $299, the GTX 260 … Read more
Advanced Micro Devices' bet on a new approach to graphics chip design appears to be paying off, according to analyst Jon Peddie. This could put AMD's ATI graphics chip unit on top again--or at least on equal footing with Nvidia, the graphics leader over the last few years.
Peddie heads Tiburon, Calif.-based Jon Peddie Research, which specializes in graphics chip market research.
But beyond the day-to-day test scores, AMD'… Read more
Nvidia has posted a video that involves the new GTX 280 chip, overclocking, lots of liquid nitrogen, and the Nvidia labs. Oh, and no quad-core processor. Get the point?
"A lot of people believe you need an Intel quad-core or Intel quad-core Extreme to build an extreme PC," says the post by "Steffee" on the Nvidia Web site. "Today I'm going to build a gaming PC using the Intel Core 2 Duo. That's duo. Got that? Duo, two cores."
I think the point the blogger is trying to make is that the … Read more
Graphics performance improves rapidly. We can be confident that each new generation of graphics chips will be faster than the previous one, and that AMD and NVIDIA will regularly surpass each other with new product launches. I've been watching this process professionally since 1996, when I began covering graphics technology for Microprocessor Report.
As of today, NVIDIA is on top. The new GeForce GTX 280 is the fastest graphics chip you can get. See the first part of this review for details of the chip itself.
If you can get one, anyway. NVIDIA says boards based on the GeForce GTX 280 and its companion GeForce GTX 260 will be available "in quantity" tomorrow (June 17), but if previous launches are any indication, those quantities won't be enough to satisfy everyone.
And you may not be able to afford one-- a GTX 280 board with 1GB of RAM will likely be priced around $649, while GTX 260 boards with 896MB will go for about $399. (The GTX 280 / 1GB board I tested was made by NVIDIA, so it isn't necessarily representative of commercial products.)
But avid gamers won't be discouraged by these prices. Both AMD and NVIDIA like to point out that an expensive graphics card is a much better investment than a high-end CPU or motherboard if you care about gaming.
The standard of comparison for gaming performance is the number of frames per second that can be rendered for a given combination of screen resolution and quality features... or, conversely, what resolution and features can be used without reducing the frame rate below a playable level.
So in my own testing, I used frame rate as a metric for games that could run acceptably with maximum quality at the maximum resolution of my monitor (1,600 x 1,200 pixels), and quality for other games.
I did my testing with four games:… Read more
Today, NVIDIA officially announces its new GeForce GTX 200 family of graphics processing units (GPUs) and the first two products in the family, the GeForce GTX 280 and the GeForce GTX 260.
The GeForce GTX 280 is the new flagship of NVIDIA's GPU product line, taking over from last year's GeForce 9800 GTX. (The change in the product-name format from "9800 GTX" to "GTX 280" is potentially confusing and doesn't seem that useful to me, but I'm sure we'll get used to it over time. I suppose NVIDIA's other choice was to go with numbers above 10,000, which might have been even worse.)
NVIDIA disclosed the details of these products at an Editor's Day conference in May, and most of the attendees, including myself, received GTX 280 graphics cards for editorial review. These cards are NVIDIA reference boards, not retail products.
I'll be doing this review in multiple parts, each addressing a different aspect of these products and the effects they'll have on the PC graphics market.
First, an overview of the GTX 280 chip itself.
This is a huge chip. NVIDIA won't say exactly how large, and I'm not going to bust open the chip package on my reference board just to find out, but NVIDIA VP of technical marketing Tony Tamasi says… Read more
UPDATE: On Monday, Advanced Micro Devices and Nvidia are launching graphics chips based on distinctly different design philosophies.
Nvidia's GTX 280 and GTX 260 are designed to deliver the biggest performance bang per chip. A so-called "monolithic" approach packs 1.4 billion transistors and 240 processing cores onto one piece of silicon.
AMD's modular approach tends toward less is more: smaller, less power-hungry chips that can be strung together to achieve higher performance. The company plans to implement this strategy with the HD 4850 and HD 4870 … Read more