AMD certainly turned up the heat in 2009 and ended the year by wrestling away the performance crown from Nvidia in both the single- and dual-GPU landscape. Citing water cooler chatter from behind the scenes at graphics card makers, DigiTimes says AMD is expected to ride that momentum well into 2010 as Nvidia's discrete graphics chip market share slides backwards.
As it stands, Nvidia dominates the discrete graphics chip market with a 65 percent share, but sources say the company will drop to 60 percent, or lower.
That's news to Nvidia, who dismissed the speculation and says it expects to see strong demand, no mater what the videocard vendors think.
Should Fermi live up to the hype, Nivida wouldn't have much to worry about. But will potential upgraders hold out that long? Fermi will launch in March, which is still two months away, and that could mean mass shipments won't kick in until three months from now.
For AMD's part, the chip maker claims to have shipped a total of two million HD 5800-series GPUs.
There wasn't any fanfare accompanying the release of Nvidia's first GeForce 300M series graphics processors this week, and there's good reason for that. The flagship GPU in the new 300M series -- the GTS 360M -- sports the same number of cores (96), same bus width (128-bit) and same memory clock (2GHz) as the GTS 260M, although the 360M is capable of processing slightly more gigaflops (413 versus 396).
Rounding out the "High Performance" category is the GTS 350M, which comes rated at 360 gigaflops, the same as the GTS 250M.
The "Performance" category includes the GT 335M (72 cores), 330M (48 cores), and 325M (48 cores), while the 64-bit "Mainstream" chips consist of the GT 310M and 305M, each with 16 cores.
MIssing is any mention of an Enthusiast category. Holding out for Fermi, perhaps?
Assuming no more delays or last minute niggles, Nvidia's Fermi chips will be available in low quantities in just a couple of months. They're also going to run hotter than Nvidia's current gen GPUs, including the GTX 285, says news and rumor site Fudzilla.
"Fermi is a big chip, so this doesn't come as much a surprise. As long as it runs stable, people won't complain about it too much. We've seen the card in person at least twice so far and we can tell that the first one we saw has a dual-slot air cooler and runs quite hot," Fudzilla noted.
Keep in mind that any early looks might not be indicative of the final product, as Nvidia continues to tweak the design. And rumors have already begun swirling around a dual-GPU variant, although nobody knows when it might ship.
If you thought Eyefinity with 3 monitor's was overkill, how about 6? If that caught your attention then you'll be pleased to know that an update to ATI's Eyefinity technology is going to enable gamers to take advantage of up to 6 display's.
Given the complexities involved in laying out that many monitors, ATI has teamed up with Samsung to offer an out of the box solution they plan to ship early this year called the SyncMaster MD230. The package can be ordered as either a six or three panel design, with a price of $3,099 and $1,899 respectively. The six monitor setup is capable of displaying a jaw dropping 6x 1080p, with each panel sporting a resolution of up to 1920 x 1080.
In an era when PC gaming seems to be under constant attack on all fronts, its pretty satisfying to be able to claim your rig is spitting out a resolution equivalent to over 12 Xbox 360's. Of course you may need to re-mortgage your house to be able to afford any of this, but hey, our hobby is all about sacrifice is it not? Either way its great to see out of the box three and six monitor packages that make getting Eyefinity up and running that much easier.
Taiwanese chip designer Richtek Technology said Wednesday it has filed a patent infringement complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) against several companies, including uPI Semiconductor, AMD, Sapphire Technology, Diamond Multimedia, and XFX.
Richtek claims the aforementioned graphic chip makers have infringed on three of the company's technology patents, as well as misusing business secrets. According to Fudzilla, the three patents deal with technologies for a Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) circuit, a method for current balance in a mulit-phase DC-to-DC converter to produce a respective PWM signal to regulate the corresponding channel current, and for a power metal oxide semiconductor transistor layout comprised of a gate electrode with a lattice pattern on a substrate having a first area and a second area.
Richtek is seeking an injunction and compensation, but the company didn't say for how much.
Forget about the delays, because when Fermi does finally ship, it's going to kick all kinds of tail. That's the message Nvidia wants to make clear, and the graphics chip maker isn't talking about one or two graphics segments, but all of them.
"We expect [Fermi] to be the fastest GPU in every single segment. The performance numbers that we have [obtained] internally just [confirm] that. So we are happy about this and are just finalizing everything on driver the side," said Luciano Alibrandi, Nvidia's main PR guy for the EMEA Region.
But while Nvidia continues to ramp up the hype machine, the world is left waiting for Fermi to finally ship. It was recently reported that Nvidia's next-gen graphics architecture was being pushed back until March 2010, after already being delayed until January 2010 when it was originally scheduled to launch in November 2009. So why the hold up?
"We just want to make sure it is as perfect as we want it to be in both graphics and computing," Alibrandi added.
AMD the other day announced the availability of its ATI Catalyst Software Suite 9.12, though there doesn't appear to be a whole lot that's new in the updated driver package.
Catalyst 9.12 brings full support for DirectCompute 10.1 for the Radeon HD 4800 and 4700 series in both single card and CrossFireX configurations. The new driver package also ushers in OpenGL 3.2 extension support for the Radeon HD 5800 series and on down to the 2000 series.
Other than that, there's a couple of performance boosts, including up to a 9 percent gain in 3DMark Vantage benchmarking, and as much as a 6 percent gain in S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Call of Pripyat in single card configurations.
Catalyst 9.12 resolves several niggling issues in Windows 7, including fixing a corruption issues with some DX9 apps when AA 8X is enabled, and playing back Blu-ray content on some systems with a 120Hz display no longer results in a black screen.
I’ve had fun shopping for graphics cards, especially when a power user is within earshot. I’ll innocently ask the salesperson, “What’s your slowest graphics card?” The reaction is precious.
As I’ve confessed before, I’m not a gamer. Years ago I edited a videogame magazine and didn’t realize how weary I had become of games until the magazine unexpectedly folded. I stopped playing that day and haven’t resumed since. That’s why I don’t need fast graphics. Playing a YouTube clip is the most taxing graphics workload demanded of my computer.
Often, I won’t even buy a graphics card. I’ll scrounge a hand-me-down from a friend or cannibalize a junked PC. My oldest computer in regular use contains a discarded engineering sample of an Nvidia GeForce4 Ti-4200 from 2002.
Are you cringing yet? Mock me no more, power users. I’m reconsidering my wayward ways.
Yesterday we posted a blurb referencing comments Nvidia made to news and rumor site Fudzilla, in which the graphics chip maker talked up its upcoming Ion 2 platform as being a faster solution than an Atom platform built around Intel's upcoming Pine Trail architecture. So does that mean you should hold off on buying a netbook?
Not at all, Nivida's Ken Brown says, who got in touch with us to clarify a few points. Regarding the performance benefits of Ion 2 over Pine Trail, Brown said all of that is correct, but that "is also true for current generation Ion-based PCs. Pine Trail will not deliver a significantly better experience than current-generation Atom-based PCs (link). Ion based systems which are available today will provide a much better experience than Pine Trail for HD video, games, media conversion, and other applications that people want to run."
In addition, Brown stated that first-generation Ion parts will also deliver anywhere from 5-10x faster graphics performance than Pine Trail, so for anyone who needs a graphically-charged netbook today, waiting isn't necessary.
Nvidia is looking to assuage fears that it is falling behind rival AMD in the GPU race. Nvidia’s Michael Hara said the lead AMD currently has in DirectX 11 is “insignificant”. “To us, being out of sync with the API for a couple of months isn't as important as what we're trying to do in the big scheme of things for the next four or five years,” said Hera.
Nvidia’s next generation Fermi is supposed to appear in the first quarter of 2010. However, few details are available beyond the apparent low production yields. Hera also stressed the importance of Direct X 11 as it will offer tessellation and support for multi-core processes. The new standard will also fully support DirectCompute allowing parallel GPU processing in various applications.
So Nvidia must feel like they have a winner on their hands to be talking up DX11 so much. We can only hope.