Word from behind the lines where graphics cards are produced is that AMD recently postponed the launch of its Radeon HD 6000 series, pushing back the release from October 12 to sometime in November.
This gives Nvidia a short Window to steal some market share that would have otherwise gone towards AMD next month. To help do that, Nvidia plans to launch its new entry-level GeForce GT 430 in October, while also trimming the price on its existing GeForce GT 220 and GTX 460 graphics cards.
Getting back to AMD, sources say the company's HD 6000 series will use a 40nm manufacturing process as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) opted to skip over its 32nm R&D for GPUs and advance directly to 28nm. This would seem to give some weight to the leaked AMD slide that we posted yesterday.
Acer probably takes the name of its gamer-specific Predator desktop range too literally. The world's second largest PC maker has left no stone unturned in making every singly Predator desktop look curiously intimidating. The latest members of the Predator family also manifest this design philosophy. But let's for once turn blind to the exterior so we can sift through their innards.
The Acer Aspire Predator AG7750-U3222 packs in a quadcore Intel Core i7-930 CPU, NVIDIA GeForce GTX470 graphics, 1.5TB storage (supports up to 8TB), and 12GB SDRAM. Acer is asking $1,999 for the liquid-cooled AG7750.
But if you can't justify giving an arm and a leg for the AG7750, then try to justify spending $1,350 on the mid-range AG5900, which features a Core i7-870 CPU, 8GB of memory, 1.5TB of storage space and ATI Radeon HD 5850 1GB graphics.
“We’re now offering two killer Predator models with the goal of satisfying a wider range of gamers,” said Steve Smith, senior business manager of consumer desktops for Acer America. “Not everyone needs the most extreme gaming rig, so we designed the AG5900, a more mainstream alternative to our premium AG7750. The AG5900 boasts excellent core features, such as a high- speed processor, excellent graphics and tons of memory to hobble the competition at an affordable price.”
Late last week, Nvidia's GeForce 260 Series beta driver release leaked to the Web, and with the cat now out of the bag, Nvidia has gone and officially offered them up for download.
Still in beta form, the GeForce 260.63 drivers add support for the just released GeForce GTS 450 GPU. For existing GTX 480 and 460 owners, the new drivers supposedly increase performance in a number of titles, including a generous 22 percent boost in Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena (1920x1200, noAA, GTX 460), as well as a bunch of other double-digit performance improvements.
Other features include the addition of Blu-ray 3D support, HD audio enhancements, a bunch of new 3D Vision game profiles, and a whole lot more.
You can download the beta drives and check out the release notes here.
Goals are good, according to our parents, elementary school teachers from yesteryear, and everyone else who told us to aim high. A little graphics card company called Nvidia -- perhaps you've heard of them? -- took those words of encouragement to heart and has set its sights on regaining its top position in the graphics card market.
It's not a matter of if, but when, according to Nvidia's general manager of notebook product business, Rene Haas. Why is a notebook product manager getting into the discussion about graphics card? Well, Haas predicts the company's mobile Fermi-based GeForce 400M series will put the company back on top.
Haas points out that Nvidia has gone and released seven GeForce 400M-based GPUs, all of which support the company's Optimus technology and run, on average, 40 percent faster than the competition. And despite Nvidia's past problems in the mobile sector, companies aren't holding a grudge. Acer, Asus, Dell, Lenovo, Samsung, MSI, and Toshiba are all using GeForce 400M graphics in their notebook lineup.
Palit has just become the newest member in the 2GB GeForce GTX 460 club, joining Gainward, Sparkle, and Zotac as the only other manufacturers (so far) to slap 2GB on this mid-range Fermi part.
Natrually, memory alone does not a performance part make, and so Palit opted to goose the clockspeeds a touch. The card itself cruises along at 700MHz, up slightly from Nvidia's reference 675MHz clockspeed, while the 2GB of memory runs at 950MHz, up from 900MHz stock.
So far we're not seeing any vendors selling this card in the U.S. We suspect that will change, and in the meantime, a handful of U.K. vendors are charging about £190, or $301 USD for the part. For the sake of comparison, Palit's 1GB version sells for $230 on Newegg, while 460 cards from other manufacturers run anywhere from around $200 to $250.
Astute readers might remember that we already posted an announcement about Nvidia's 258.96 drivers a week ago, but apparently the only ones that weren't labled as 'beta' were those for the GTX 460 and above.
That's no longer the case, and now anyone with a GeForce videocard has access to WHQL-certified drivers from Nvidia. The release notes remain unchanged from last week, and the latest drivers still don't support Surround Gaming with 3-way SLI setups. In addition, the Graph tab on the Adjust Desktop Color Settings page is also not available.
The drivers do, however, resolve a number of issues in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows Vista and Windows 7 for both single- and multi-card setups. For a full list of changes, see the release notes here (PDF).
Following the release of its GeForce GTX 460 videocard, Nvidia has a new set of WHQL certified drivers available for download, version 258.96.
Of course the biggest change is that the newest driver release adds official support for the GTX 460 videcoard, but there's more to it than that. Other changes include:
Added support for Nvidia Surround technology
Added support for GTX 400M series of notebook GPUs
Installs Nvidia PhysX System Software v9.10.0224
Installs HD audio driver, version 188.8.131.52
In other words, it's pretty much an all-encompassing update. It's also the last driver Nvidia will ever put out to support Hybrid Power, which is a Hybrid SLI technology supported on the GeForce 9800 GX2 and 9800 GTX series.
The latest release also resolves a fair number of issues across multiple operating systems, both in single-GPU and multi-GPU configurations.
We’ve seen a parade of GeForce 400 series GPUs march out of the TSMC fabs in Taiwan. While they’ve been priced differently and offer differing performance levels, they’ve all consisted of the same chip: the three-billion-transistor monster that was the original GF100. Each one—even the top-of-the-line 480 GTX—has had varying numbers of functional units disabled in order to hit power, thermal, and price targets.
Nvidia’s GeForce 460 GTX brings a brand-new GPU, code-named GF104, to the table. This chip is specifically designed for a more mainstream audience, and it delivers an interesting blend of features consisting of DirectX 11-capable shader cores combined with enough texture and render back end horsepower to easily manhandle previous generations of games. The GF104 will be available in two flavors: one with 24 raster outputs and 768MB of GDDR5 memory, and a slightly beefier model with 32 ROPs and 1GB of GDDR5.
New drivers are available for Nvidia graphics card owners, version 257.21. The latest release adds support for Blu-ray 3D with Nvidia 3D Vision technology and serves up a ton of performance improvements for GTX 400 series owners, some of which include:
Up to 14 percent in Aliens vs Predator
Up to 4 percent in Batman: Arkham Asylum
Up to 5 percent in BattleForge
Up to 24 percent in Enemy Territory: Quake Wars
Up to 40 percent in Metro 2033 with SLI
Up to 9 percent in Unigine: Tropics
Up to 5 percent in 3DMark Vantage
Nvidia also made upgrades to the PhysX System Software to version 9.10.0223, added support for OpenGL 4.0 for GTX 400 cards, added a new Control Panel feature for "ultimate control over CUDA GPUs," and a bunch of other changes, some of which are specific to version 257.21 and others that apply to the 256 (and above) family of drivers.
It looks as though Galaxy Tech is going to try their hand at a dual-GPU GeForce GTX 470 videocard, at least if Computex is any indication. Galaxy Tech has been showing off a slice of silicon with two of Nvidia's GF100 GPUs slapped onto a single PCB.
The thing measures about 12 inches long and includes two 8-pin PCI-E power connectors, three dual-link DVI ports, 16 memory chips, and a whole bunch of capacitors. It's every bit a prototype card, and Galaxy Tech didn't say when, or even if they realistically plan on bringing this one to market.
The obvious challenge here would be in keeping thermals in check. A single GTX 470 comes rated at 215W TDP, and a dual-GPU solution would presumably run noticeably hotter.