Asus is no longer the only graphics vendor offering a Radeon HD 5870 videocard with 2GB of RAM, twice the amount of ATI's reference design. Sapphire has joined the oversized frame buffer party with a 2GB card of its own.
In addition to doubling up on RAM, Sapphire's HD 5870 Toxic Edition card comes factory overclocked to 925MHz on the core, a respectable boost over the 850MHz reference design. Sapphire also goosed the memory to 1225MHz (4.9GHz effective), a small bump over the 1200MHz (4.8GHz effective) reference design.
The card also comes with Sapphire's Vapor-X heatsink. According to Sapphire, you can expect better cooling with a "virtually silent gaming experience," giving you the best of both worlds.
Forget for a moment that you still can't hop over to Newegg or any other online vendor in the U.S. and place an order for an in-stock Fermi graphics card. What you can do, however, is window shop as more product pictures continue to trickle out, including ones of Inno3D's Black Freezer GTX 480 and GTX 470 videocards.
Both variants come with the same Black Freezer watercooling block, which covers not just the GPU but nearly the entire front slab of silicon. Given what we know so far about Fermi's power requirements and tendency to run hot, we expect to see quite a few vendors try to cash in with watercooled models.
Other than the pics, Inno3D has been pretty quiet about these upcoming cards. There's no product page, press release, or any word on whether or not there's a bit of factory overclocking taking place. And of course no word yet on price, though Fudzilla claims to have heard that the waterblock might be offered as both a pre-installed and standalone option.
Our calendar reads April 12, 2010, and if you've been following the Fermi saga, then you know that today is the day Nvidia's next-gen GPU architecture is expected to show up in retail. As of this moment, we've only found the GTX 480 videocard in stock at some online retailer nestled in the Netherlands, but the day is young.
While the world waits for Fermi to land on store shelves, Nvidia has been busy promoting the launch of their GF100 parts during the Nvidia Game Festival (NGF) in Shanghai, China. The chip maker invited a bunch of first-tier graphics partners, PC vendors, and game developers, all of which were able to participate in various game tournaments and other GPU-related fanfare.
Drew Henry, Nvidia's general manager of MCP business, was on hand at the Festival and addressed the recent market rumors that GTX 480 and GTX 470 GPU yields are just 20 percent. According to Henry, that number's not accurate and the yields have met company expectations, whatever those might have been.
Anyone planning on picking up a Fermi card today if/when they become available?
AMD's HD 5970 consists of two HD 5870 GPUs shoved under a single hood, but for one reason or another (heat, power consumption, etc), the memory and GPU cores come underclocked from their standalone versions. The GPU cores in a 5970 have been dialed down from 850MHz to 725MHz, while the memory drops from 1200MHz to 1000MHz.
That won't be the case with Asus's "Ares" videocard, which combines two true HD 5870 GPUs into a single package. Asus even says they plan to overclock the core and memory, though by how much is yet to be determined. You'll also find 4GB of GDDR5 crammed inside, twice as much as a standard 5970.
Only those with serious power supplies need apply. The card will require two 8-pin power connectors and a 6-pin connector. And while the length will be the same as any other 5970 part, the Ares is a bit pudgier and takes up 2.5 slots.
Asus didn't say how much the Ares will cost, but did promise to have it out in a couple of months.
AMD today launched the first in a new line of ATI FirePro professional videocards, the FirePro V8800. According to AMD, this is the industry's most powerful workstation graphics card ever created by man, and it's the only one that supports ATI's Eyefinity multi-display technology and Microsoft's DirectX 11 API.
"AMD is the undisputed consumer graphics leader and today we’re bringing many of the same cutting edge innovations from our ATI Radeon™ HD 5000 series to the professional graphics market for the first time. The ATI FirePro V8800 with ATI Eyefinity multi-display technology effectively dissolves visual limitations for professionals,” said Rick Bergman, senior vice president and general manager, AMD Products Group.
Based on AMD's mighty Cypress XT architecture, the FirePro V8800 comes equipped with 1600 stream processors, a 256-bit memory interface, 2GB of GDDR5 memory, OpenGL 3.2 support, Shader Model 5 support, and comes rated at 208W. It also includes four DisplayPorts, a stereo output, and two DP to DVI (single-link) adapters. In short, this is AMD's HD 5870 in workstation form.
The FirePro V8800 is available now for $1,500, and before anyone asks, it can probably run Crysis, but you'd be far better off working in CAD.
As of this writing, you'll still have a tough time finding a GF100 card in stock, and this will likely be the case until next week. In the meantime, ATI partners are still mulling whether or not to cut back pricing on HD 5870 and 5850 parts.
"We have learned that key people at AMD are still waiting to see how many Fermi cards will be available and they will only react if Nvidia manages to have really great sales with its GeForce 400 series," Fudzilla reports.
According to Fudzilla, there are a handful of ATI partners seriously considering lowering the prices of HD 5870 and 5850 parts, but such a move would not be supported by AMD. Instead, the price difference would come out of the AIB partners' profits.
What's interesting about all this is that AMD had originally wanted the HD 5870 to sell for around $380, but you'd be hard pressed to find one for under $400 street, with some SKUs approaching the $500 mark. If AMD were to cut pricing down to its original target, Fermi might have a tough time flying off store shelves.
By now, pretty much everyone is aware that Nvidia's GTX 480 runs hot, but should you be concerned? Not at all, says Nvidia, who claims it designed its GF100 parts with high temps in mind.
"We wanted to let you know that we’ve also heard your concerns about GTX 480 with respect to power and heat," Nvidia state in a blog post. "When you build a high performance GPU like the GTX 480 it will consume a lot of power to enable the performance and features I listed above. It was a tradeoff for us, but we wanted it to be fast. The chip is designed to run at high temperature so there is no effect on quality or longevity. We think the tradeoff is right."
Whether or not consumers agree remains to be seen, and what Nvidia didn't address is that the added heat is a byproduct of higher power consumption. This is also an issue that could end up pushing enthusiasts in a different direction or putting them in a holding pattern.
Does the added heat bother you, or is it all about the performance?
With intense competition in the graphics market, add-in board (AIB) partners often look for ways to distinguish their products from one another, whether it's a nifty bundle or an exotic cooling solution. So what is XFX planning for Fermi? Absolutely nothing, says Legit Reviews.
"This afternoon we received confirmation that XFX, a division of PINE Technologies, will not be releasing any GeForce GTX 400 series graphics cards to the market when the cards become public next month," writes Nathan Kirsch, founder of Legit Reviews. "XFX was not listed as a launch partner for Fermi and did not issue a press release about the upcoming cards, which might come as a shock to many to many of our readers as they are one of the largest Nvidia AIBs in the world!."
Kirsch goes on to say that the decision belonged to XFX, not Nvidia, which should kill off any conspiracy theories that Nvidia's giving XFX the cold shoulder for carrying ATI hardware.
"It looks like XFX thinks that the Radeon HD 5000 series of graphics card is the right card for the high-end market," Kirsch explains. "From our conversation with XFX they mentioned that they have 'yet to see whether the fermented launch will reach an inglorious anti-climax' and that they want to 'Ferm up to who really has the big guns.'"
Interesting choice of words coming from a major player. XFX has been touted for its excellent 'Double Lifetime Warranty' policy, which allows registered users to transfer their warranty to a second owner.
Partly in preparation for Nvidia's Fermi graphics cards, which will start shipping in April, TechPowerUp has updated its GPU-Z utility to version 0.4.0.
The latest update adds support for GeForce GTX 470 and GTX 480 videocards, but also adds voltage monitoring for several ATI cards, including the HD 5750, 5830, and 5870 Lightning. Other changes include:
Support for Intel Pineview
Fixed double memory clock reading on Nvidia with GDDR5 (real clock is now displayed)
Fixed rounding errors in RV7xx and Evergreen fan monitoring code
Added tooltip translations for Albanian and Chinese Traditional
Memory bandwidth calculation uses GB now instead of GiB
You'll also find a hardware giveaway tab in which Asus and TechPowerUp have teamed up to give away some prizes to GPU-Z users who wish to participate. Several prizes are up for grabs, including 9 Asus Blu-ray DVD-ROMs, 3 23-inch monitors, 3 ROG Rampage II Extreme motherboards, and 3 ROG HD 5870 videocards.
Enrico Fermi gained fame as a key player in the Manhattan Project, which gave the world nuclear fission and the first atomic bomb. Nvidia’s Fermi GPU architecture – now seeing the light of day as the GeForce GTX 480 – hopes to create its own chain reaction among PC gamers looking for the latest and greatest graphics cards.
Originally code-named GF100, the GTX 480’s long and controversial gestation saw numerous delays and lots of sneak peeks, but Nvidia’s new graphics card has finally arrived. Sporting 1.5GB of fast DDR5 memory and an exotic heat-pipe based cooling system, Nvidia’s managed to squeeze this three billion transistor monster onto a card just 10.5 inches long.
Can Nvidia’s long-awaited 480 GTX capture the graphics performance crown? And if it can, is the price of glory worth the cost?