When Nvidia unveiled its G200 GPU, we were immediately drawn to the shiny, speedy GeForce GTX 280. Why wouldn’t we be? With high core and memory clocks and 240 stream processors to churn through the toughest shaders, it was sexy and fast. We were less excited about the 260, which sported 192 stream processors and slower clocks speeds but cost about $100 less than the 280 (at the time). Since then, ATI has released its R700-based Radeon 4870, which outperforms the original 260 but costs the same amount.
And that’s where the Core 216 edition of the 260 GTX comes in. With the same stock clock speeds but 24 more shader processors than the original, the new version of the 260 GTX delivers comparable performance to the 4870 at a similar price. The speeds and feeds are about the same as the original 260’s, although EVGA clocked this card’s core at 626MHz (up from 576MHz stock) and includes 896MB of GDDR3 running on a 448-bit bus at 1053MHz (stock is 999MHz).
It may be 2009, but the GeForce 9M series, just introduced last summer, is already last year's news: yesterday, Nvidia announced the new GeForce 100M series at CES.
Engadgetreports that the GeForce 100M series' first three members exceed the performance of comparable GeForce 9M series GPUs by 17 to 35 percent. To learn more about the GeForce 100M family, join us after the jump.
We’ve made no secret of the fact that we love the pulse-pounding speed that ATI’s Radeon 4870 X2 boards deliver, but there’s a new speed king in town—the GeForce GTX 295. On paper, the two GPUs on the 295 fall somewhere between the GTX 260 and GTX 280, but this board delivers a crushing performance blow to ATI’s fastest part.
Depending on the manufacturer of your notebook, finding updated drivers can be somewhat of a pain. After all, we are assuming that searching through a tangled index of cryptic model numbers probably wasn’t the game you intended to play when you bought your gaming notebook. That’s why we are pleased to pass on the contents of a press release we received from Nvidia which is intended to spread the good news. Your laptop’s GPU drivers can now be obtained directly from Nvidia.com. Using a generic driver platform should allow notebook owners to receive much more timely updates similar to their desktop based brethren. As of right now, only owners of 7, 8, and 9 series GeForce chips as well as Quadro qualify for this offer, but it’s a great start.
To further sweeten the pot, owners of 8 and 9 series GeForce chips will be given both PhysX and CUDA support through the beta driver available. A WHQL certified driver is planned for release early next year. This will go a long way towards ensuring better compatibility on gaming laptops and is something I’m sure we would all like to see migrate to other hardware manufacturers.
If you've been thinking about upgrading to Nvidia's GeForce GTX 260 videocard, you may want to hold off for a few weeks. According to Chinese site Expreview, Nvidia will release a new 55nm-based GTX 260 along with a 55nm GTX 295 (GTX 260 GX2) in January 2009. And if history tells us anything, Nvidia tends to do well with core revisions (G92-based 8800GT, for example). Expreview posted several pics of the revised GTX 260, which it claims were sent in from Zotac.
In addition to a die shrink, the new GTX 260, or at least Zotac's version, looks to be built with a 10-layer PCB design rather than 14 layers as found on current GTX 260/280 videocards, Expreview says. The new revision also upgrades its 3+2 phase power modules to 4+2 phase.
Other specs look to remain the same, such as the number of stream processors (216) and core and memory frequencies. This means you might not see a leap in stock performance, but in theory, the power consumption, heat output, and overclocking potential should all be improved.
No word yet on projected pricing, which could either sweeten or spoil the whole deal.
Nvidia's nZone website has posted download links to new beta videocard drivers, version 180.84, for both Vista and XP. Little information has been given about the new drivers, other than that they're intended to improve gameplay with Rockstar's new Grand Theft Auto IV videogame.
"Nvidia recommends that you update your system with the following GeForce v180.84 driver for the best experiences on Grand Theft Auto IV," nZone writes.
Users who have installed and played GTA IV on the PC have complained of varying issues, including missing textures and intermittent crashes. GTA IV's support page lists several troubleshooting steps, one of which recommends users download the newest drivers with a link to the nZone page containing the beta release. However, no specific bug fixes or performance issues have been identified with the new drivers, so it might be hard to tell what difference they're making.
As always, take proper precautions whenever experimenting with pre-release code. As Nvidia discloses regarding beta drivers, they "may include significant issues." When you're ready to take the leap:
Nvidia has released new WHQL-certified videocard drivers for GeForce 200-series, 9-series, and 8800-series GPUs only (owners of older videocards need not apply). The approximately 73MB download enables finally brings to fruition a license agreement between Nvidia and Intel by enabling SLI on SLI-certified Intel X58-based motherboards. The new driver also supports multi-monitor support in an SLI-configuration, which previously had only been available with beta drivers. PhysX acceleration is also enabled when installing the new driver.
On the gaming front, Nvidia claims double-digit percentage performance gains in a number of titles, including a giant 80 percent boost in Lost Planet: Colonies. Far Cry 2 is the other big beneficiary with a purported 38 percent performance gain. Devil May Cry 4, Assassin's Creed, BioShock, Comapny of Heroes: Opposing Fronts, Crysis Warhead, Race Driver: GRID, and World of Conflict all receive performance gains ranging from 10 percent to 25 percent, according to Nvidia. And for you benchmarking gurus, 3DMark Vantage's performance preset should perform 10 percent better as well.
Do you know the difference between a 9800 GTX and GTX+? How about an 8800 GTS 1st and 2nd generation? Well if you’re confused don’t worry, your not alone. Now finally after many years of dazzling and confusing customers, Nvidia is looking to make some permanent changes to help deal with the dizzying array of identifiers. The company is hoping that by years end it will have better control over card’s surnames in an attempt to give users a clear idea of the performance they can expect. Using this approach the GTX term would be reserved for the highest-end gaming cards with GS and GT being reserved for mainstream boards. Last but not least, gamers on a budget will be able to choose from a clearly labeled G series. This is clearly a follow up to the Radeon’s addition of the HD line and with any luck will help users figure out what kind of performance they can expect from a given card without scouring the web for comparisons. Rumor has it the 9400 GT will also be rebranded as the G100, and the 9500 GT through 9800 GT will become the GT120 to GT150 series.
I think you’ll agree these changes are long overdue.
Some time ago I purchased a Dell E1705 laptop with almost all the options. I was very happy with the laptop and its GeForce 7900 GS. It allowed me to play just about any game on the market. Everything was great until I upgraded my machine to Vista, but I can’t find any Vista drivers for my 7900 GS.
I’ve been waiting for more than a year now, and there’s still nothing from nVidia or Dell. So I was wondering: Do you know how I can get my card to work right? I would even take homemade drivers at this point if I knew where to find some!
Sporting almost the same configuration as the reference design we previewed last month, BFG’s GeForce GTX 280 delivers amazing performance with the second-generation DirectX 10 chipset from Nvidia. It soundly spanks ATI’s new 4870, as well as all but the dual-GPU graphics solutions from the previous generation—and even against those, the GTX 280 wins all but a few benchmarks. The real question we’re asking is, Do we need this much power?