According to the latest rumors, Nvidia is likely to delay its next-gen DirectX 11 GPU, codenamed Fermi, to March 2010. That's disappointing news for a hyped up chip originally scheduled to launch back in November 2009 before being pushed back to CES in January.
Nvidia hasn't said anything officially, but market rumors suggest the original release was pushed back because of defects, and it would appear the graphics chip maker still has a few bugs to iron out of its Fermi architecture. Assuming smooth sailing from here on out, Nvidia is expected to launch its 40nm Fermi-GF100 GPU in March, followed by the high-end GF104 in the second quarter.
While Nvidia fixes Fermi, AMD is gearing up to launch 40nm Radeon HD 5670, 5570, and 5450 GPUs sometime between the end of January and February 2010.
It’s easy to be seduced by the latest and greatest graphics cards, but you can sometimes find excellent deals in older-generation cards that can still keep up with today’s shader-heavy PC games. Gigabyte’s 260 GTX SuperOC is a good example.
To make the cards, Gigabyte starts with cherry-picked 260 GTX chips from the factory. Then it clocks the GPUs at 680MHz, more than 100MHz faster than the standard 576MHz. Similarly, the SuperOC pushes the shader clock to 1,466MHz, instead of the stock 1,350MHz. Rounding off the performance push is 896MB of GDDR3 running at 1.25GHz instead of 1GHz. Gigabyte delivers these rarefied clock rates at slightly less than $200.
Setting up and maintaining a liquid-cooling setup isn't for everyone, and it's this crowd BFG is targeting with a pair of maintenance-free, self-contained liquid-cooled GeForce graphics cards, the GTX 285 H2O+ and the GTX 295 H2OC.
Both new cards sport BFG's new ThermoIntelligence Advanced Cooling Solution, which when you take away the fancy title means you can enjoy the benefits of water cooling your videocard(s) without all the fuss. According to BFG, the cards are easy to install right out of the box and never need refilling or additional components. The benefit, says BFG, is up to 30C cooler temps under load when pitted against standard air cooled models.
"We're very excited to be the first company to bring this type of professional grade advanced cooling solution to PC enthusiasts," said John Malley, senior director of marketing for BFG.
BFG's GTX 295 H2OC will sport a 675MHz core clockspeed, 2214MHz memory data rate, and 1458MHz shader clockspeed. The GTX 285 H2O+ will run at 691MHz, 2592MHz, and 1566MHz core, memory, and shader clockspeeds, respectively.
The GTX 295 H2OC will be available in limited quantities starting August 5th, while the GTX 285 H2O+ will also be available in limited quantities, starting August 12th. No word on price.
Some recent reports have suggested that Nvidia is planning to launch their new 40nm GeForce GT 220 and GeForce G210 GPUs at the end of September.
Until now, Nvidia has had to delay the launch of their 40nm GPUs due to low yield rates from TSMC. But, recently the rate has improved a great deal, allowing Nvidia to schedule a launch before the end of the year and most importantly – in time for the holidays!
We've heard rumors that Nvidia was planning on refreshing its GeForce GTX 295 videocard with a second, single-PCB version, and it looks like EVGA is the first to offer the new design.
"EVGA is proud to announce the latest and fastest in high performance graphics accelerators, the EVGA GTX 295 CO-OP Edition," EVGA wrote. "This card combines two GPUs onto a single PCB, a clear indication on why this card is called CO-OP!"
Core clockspeed will remain at 576MHz -- the same as EVGA's previous GTX 295 videocards -- however the company has goosed the memory clockspeed up from 1998MHz to 2016MHz.
EVGA also plans to sell separately a waterblock for the new card called the Hydro Copper. The full-cover copper waterblock ships with both 3/8-inch and 1/2-inch barbs and includes "an extreme high flow path design with a unique, integrated, pressure point."
Nvidia this week released a new set of mobile GPU GeForce drivers, version 186.03 (WHQL certified). The new drivers support GeForce 8M, 9M, 100M, and 200M-series notebook graphics.
Several new features come with the GeForce 186.03 release, including full OpenGL 3.0 support, support for CUDA 2.2, and support of Ambient Occlusion, which Nvidia says "adds realism to scenes by reducing the intensity of ambient lights on surfaces blocked by surrounding objects." Lots of double-digit performance upgrades are included, too:
Up to 25 percent faster in The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena
Up to 22 percent faster in Crysys: Warhead with antialiasing enabled
Up to 11 percent faster in Fallout 3 with antialiasing enabled
Up to 14 percent faster in Far Cry 2
Up to 45 percent faster in Mirror's Edge with antialiasing enabled
Dell owners take note - before downloading the new drivers, Nvidia says anyone who owns a Dell Inspiron 1420, Dell XPS M1330, or Dell XPS M1530 should first install an SBIOS update, found here.
Maingear this week announced the Pulse gaming PC, the first Ion-based rig to sport upgradeable Nvidia graphics. The company also claims its Pulse is the "world's greenest gaming PC."
Built around Nvidia's Ion platform, the Pulse comes standard with an Intel 65W Core 2 Duo or Core 2 Quad processor, integrated GeForce 9300 graphics upgradeable to a discrete 9800 GT ECO card which the company says consumes 40 percent less power than a standard 9800 GT, up to 8GB of DDR2-800 memory, up to a 500GB hard drive or 160GB SSD, and an 80+ certified 300W power supply.
"The Maingear Puls with Nvidia graphics perfect for anyone who wants a small, energy efficient, and stylish PC," Maingear stated in a press release. "With its Nvidia Ion-based motherboard, the Pulse delivers the best graphics solution available for low-power, small form factor designs.
Try to imagine where 3D gaming would be today if not for the graphics processing unit, or GPU. Without it, you wouldn't be tredging through the jungles of Crysis in all its visual splendor, nor would you be fending off endless hordes of fast-moving zombies at high resolutions. For that to happen, it takes a highly specialized chip designed for parallel processing to pull off the kinds of games you see today, the same ones that wouldn't be possible on a CPU alone. Going forward, GPU makers will try to extend the reliance on videocards to also include physics processing, video encoding/decoding, and other tasks that where once handled by the CPU.
It's pretty amazing when you think about how far graphics technology has come. To help you do that, we're going to take a look back at every major GPU release since the infancy of 3D graphics. Join us as we travel back in time and relive releases like 3dfx's Voodoo3 and S3's ViRGE lineup. This is one nostalgiac ride you don't want to miss!
Nvidia has just released a new WHQL-certified driver, version 185.85, for GeForce videocard and ION platform owners. The new driver adds official support for the recently released GTX 275 videocard, as well as support for CUDA 2.2, which Nvidia says will result in improved performance in GPU computing applications. Other performance claims include:
Up to 25 percent in The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena
Up to 22 perent in Crysis: Warhead with antialiasing enabled
Up to 11 percent in Fallout 3 with antialiasing enabled
Up to 14 percent in Far Cry 2
Up to 30 percent in Half-Life 2 engine games with 3-way and 4-way SLI
Up to 45 percent in Mirror's Edge with antialiasing enabled
You read that right - that's up to a 45 percent boost in Mirror's Edge, according to Nvidia. In addition, 185.85 updates the PhysX software to 9.09.0408 and offers "numerous bug fixes." Barrage of links below.
The latest graphics rumor making the rounds for the past month was that Nvidia would be releasing a single-PCB version of its dual-GPU GeForce GTX 295 videocard, however it was unclear what other changes the design alteration would result in. At least until now.
According to news and rumor site Fudzilla, the slimmer, single-PCB GTX 295 looks to be more about cutting costs than adding performance. Following in ATI's footsteps, Nvidia will place both GPUs on a single circuit board, which should help the company save a bit on manufacturing.
However, only the memory is said to getting a small boost, with Nvidia increasing the reference design's frequency from 1000MHz on the dual-PCB version to 1100MHz on the single-PCB. Both the core and shaders clockspeeds will remain the same at 576MHz and 1242MHz, respectively, and despite shelving the second PCB, it will still be a dual-slot card. It will also be half an inch longer, Fudzilla says, measuring a full eleven inches.
If the rumor holds true, look for the revised card to show up by the middle of May with no change to its price point.