Intel’s CEO Paul Otellini had a bounce in his step going into his shareholder briefing on Tuesday. Intel’s continued dominance over AMD and a solid earnings report has left his investors glad they placed their money in hardware rather then software. Investors on the other hand are nothing if not fickle. The conference call quickly turned into a debate over the shortage of Atom processors and weakness in Intel’s flash memory business. Put on the defensive Paul Otellini hinted that Atom isn’t the chip maker’s primary focus. "(Atom) is less than a third the performance of our Centrino (processor). You're dealing with something that most of us wouldn't use," he said. He further goes on to clarify that Atom is aimed at the emerging Netbook audience and is a way that Intel can grow without cannibalizing its other processor offerings. He continued to reassure investors that Intel has plenty of Atom chips in stock and back end improvements to testing as well as increased production of chipsets should solve the problem. Intel has been steadily increasing its production capacity of the popular CPUs since November.
More than a few early GTX 280 and GTX 260 adopters are catching a break thanks to vendors stepping up to the plate with cash back offers. XFX announced it would give its qualified customers up to $120 back in the wake of Nvidia's aggressive price cuts, and Evga has opened up a similar program. Evga customers must have purchased their GTX 280 or 260 videocard between June 16, 2008 and July 7, 2008 to be eligible for the kickback, and those eligible can choose between $75 in Evga bucks or $60 cash back (GTX 260), or $150 in Evga Bucks or $125 cash back (GTX 280). Other terms and conditions include:
Must be a new purchase from an authorized Evga reseller. Step-ups do not qualify
You have 14 days to register and upload a qualified invoice to claim your Evga Bucks
Only customers who purchased the Evga GTX 280 or GTX 260 at the full Manufactured Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) will qualify for the Reimbursement Program
So far this marks two Nvidia partners (that we know of) offering relief to early adopters affected by the quick price cuts, and it's anyone's guess if more will follow. Who thinks BFG will be next?
Being an early adopter doesn't always net you bragging rights. Just ask your neighbor how his HD-DVD player is working out for him, or your co-worker what he bought with his Apple gift card after being one of the first to own an iPhone. And in the world of PCs, being the first to own a Geforce GTX 280 means you're stuck watching others pay $499 for the same videocard you plopped down $649 for just weeks ago.
It's because of this that XFX's latest announcement comes as an epic win for its customers. The company says it wants to "thank you for your loyalty and believing in the XFX brand," and to prove it, XFX is issuing up to $120 cash back for anyone who purchased an XFX-brand Geforce GTX 280 or 260 videocard between June 16, 2008 and July 11, 2008. This from the same company that offers a double-lifetime warranty on all its videocards.
My trusty PC is long in tooth, and it’s 7900GT just no longer serves well enough for my gaming desires. I’ve taken to dropping items in my New Egg cart on the weekends and putting together my own Dream Machine, only to sigh and dump everything out when I realize that my wife would only strangle me for spending that much on anything short of diamonds for her. Hey, I live in Vermont, the women out here are tough.
Fortunately Nvidia has introduced new prices on the GeForce GTX 280 and 260 to be even more competitive with ATI’s line. The GeForce GTX 280 is now available for around $499. The GeForce GTX 260 is now going for around $299.
So maybe I can slip one of those into my current rig before she gets the credit card bill. After all it is better to beg forgiveness, than ask permission. At least I’ll have a nice new videocard to console myself with afterwards.
No, this wasn’t a typo, GPU manufacturer Albatron Retrotechnology is actually releasing the Nvidia 8400, 8500, and 8600 for the PCI, not PCI-Express architecture. What kind of performance can we expect from these “phat” cards riding the skinny bus?
Click the jump to find out, and why even power users might want one.
Rambus, the technology company turned responsible for RDRAM has filed suit against Nvidia claiming that they violated 17 of its memory patents. Rambus’ lawsuit alleges that at least six of Nvidia's product lines infringe the Rambus patents including chip sets, graphics processors and applications processors. They ask for an injunction that would prevent Nvidia from selling the products as well as damages.
Tom Lavelle, senior vice president and general counsel at Rambus was quoted as saying, "For more than six years, we have diligently attempted to negotiate a licensing agreement with Nvidia, but our good faith efforts have been to no avail," he adds, "We are left with no other recourse than litigation to protect and seek fair compensation for the use of our patented inventions,".
Can you smell the bull? I better get my rubber boots it’s getting thick. His own statement shows this to be an attempt to force Nvidia to cough up something to make Rambus go away and they haven't been interested. Nvidia has yet to comment on the suit.
Cost cutting must top Nvidia’s priority list after it lowered its financial outlook for Q2, 2009 and announced $150-200 million product replacement and repair expenses. It plans to cut production costs by making the shift from 65nm to 55nm manufacturing process by the end of the current quarter, according to a Commercial Times report. All of its upcoming GPUs that are expected to be out after August including G94b, G96b and G98b will utilize 55 nm processes. Although the transition will lower production costs by 20%, Nvidia will need to do more than that if it has to wrest some momentum from its resurgent rival AMD.
When it rains, it pours, and Nvidia could use a good downpour to put out the flames. Perhaps literally. Just last week Dave Murphy reported Nvidia was setting aside $150 to $200 million to cover warranty and repair costs associated with an "abnormal failure rate" in its mobile graphics cards, news of which sent Nvidia stock spiraling downward. Now there's speculation that the failures might not be limited to just a specific batch of notebook GPUs.
Rumor, news, and review site The Inquirer is saying that "all the G84 and G86 parts are bad. Period. No exceptions." That includes both mobile and desktop parts. According to The Inq, both use the same application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC), and both ASICs are plagued by a heat related problem originating from an un-named substrate or bumping material. Because of this, The Inq surmises more failures are iminent. But are they?
Find out what Nvidia has to say about the failures after the jump.
Tomshardware.com is reporting that Eran Badit editor-in-chief of ngohq.com has had some success running Nvidia’s CUDA platform and PhysX drivers on a Radeon video card. Apparently adding Radeon support to CUDA was not a big deal, but adding Radeon support for CUDA at the driver level is more challenging.
Badit says he needs support from ATI to finish out Radeon’s support for CUDA, but ATI has been slow to answer him, taking several days to reply. Surprisingly, Nvidia has been much more helpful and opened access to their Developer Relations and is providing assistance, including access to documentation, SDKs, hardware and actual engineers.
Nvidia’s official position is now that it doesn’t mind PhysX running on the Radeon an interesting change from when Justin Kerr reported that Nvidia wanted to license PhysX support to ATI pennies a GPU. This looks like additional pressure from Nvidia to make it’s platform dominant over ATI and Intel’s planned platforms. Third party implementation of CUDA on the Radeon is sure to rattle ATI’s cage.
Tom’s Hardware pinged ATI on the issue, but hadn’t heard anything back as of yet. The longer we wait for a competing platform from ATI, will only help Nvidia’s platform capture more market share. ATI looks to have an uphill battle against the already established
If you're a subscriber to Maximum PC magazine, turn to page 8 in this month's issue (and for everyone else, hit the subscription link) and read Gordon Mah Ung's take on Intel and Nvidia's Secret War. Gordon discusses the issues preventing users from being able to run SLI on an Intel chipset, and what roadblocks might be in place for future Nehalem support on upcoming Nvidia chipsets. In other words, you might end up having to choose a side. Sound familiar?
Now there's talk of Nvidia want to support Intel's Atom processor, and whether or not you care about the low-cost PC and MID market, it might be in your best interest if the two sides can come to an agreement. But can they? Earlier in the year Nvidia and VIA entered into an alliance, and speculation suggests it was forged to compete against Intel's Atom. Now it appears Nvidia's intention all along may have been to gain a bargaining chip to convince Intel to let its Atom processor support Nvidia's MCP73 IGP chipset. If Intel agrees, DigiTimes reports Nvidia will then terminate its alliance with VIA and its Nano processor. And while VIA might not be too pleased with the idea (rebound relationships never work out anyway), an agreement over licensing terms in the low-cost PC market might open the door to better communication in the mid- to high-end desktop sectors.