If we're to believe the pre-release hype, Fermi will be the fastest single-GPU videocard on the planet when it ships, leapfrogging ahead of ATI's HD 5870. But all that power is going to come at a cost, including a beefy 600W power supply, according to reports from CeBIT.
We've often seen inflated power supply requirements, as GPU vendors have to take into account lower quality units and how the all-important +12V rail distributes amps. But in this case, it looks like Nvidia's talking about a 600W PSU "with a minimum 12V current rating fo 42A," which would indicate a higher quality unit.
By comparison, AMD's dual-GPU 5970 requires a 650W power supply and is rated at 294W TDP. In single GPU territory, AMD's HD 5870 requires a 500W PSU, or 100W less than Fermi.
We've been talking about it for quite some time now, and at long last, Nvidia today officially announced its next generation Ion graphics processor. According to Nvidia, Ion 2 "will supercharge netbooks" in a big way, offering 10 times the performance of standard netbooks and enabling up to 10 hours of battery life courtesy of Nvidia's Optimus technology.
What exactly is Optimus? Put simply, this is Nvidia's intelligent hybrid graphics technology. Without any user intervention, Optimus-equipped netbooks will select the appropriate graphics engine for the task at hand, switching between the integrated Intel chipset and discrete Nvidia GPU.
Nvidia says there are more than 30 products equipped with Ion 2 expected to launch by this summer. This will not only include netbooks, but small form factor desktops, barebones setups, motherboards, and discrete add-in cards.
The first Ion 2-based system will be Acer's Aspire One 532G netbook, which will be available in April.
Asus today launched a pair of Radeon HD 5000 series videocards -- EAH5870 and EAH5850 -- the company claims will accommodate extreme levels of overclocking thanks to an "innovative thermal design."
Both cards come equipped with specially-flattened copper heatpipes Asus says helps dissipate heat up to 20 percent better while playing games, while also offering up to 35 percent quieter operation when idle.
Similar to what was so successful in Cooler Master's Hyper 212 Plus CPU cooler (see review here), Asus looks to have gone with a direct contact solution, squashing the 5.8-ounce heatpipes to at the base. Combined with the company's exclusive "Voltage Tweak" technology, which allows users to ramp up the GPU voltage through the included SmartDoctor application, Asus says users can expect up to a 50 percent performance gain (when overclocking).
For those of you holding out for Nvidia's Fermi architecture, the good news is your wait is almost over. The graphics chip maker said it plans to launch a pair of Fermi-based videocards on March 26, just a month away. The bad news, however, is that these will likely be in short supply and carry a premium price tag (see here).
Ready for some more good news? Comments made by Nvidia's CFO seem to suggest that less expensive (read: affordable) Fermi parts will likely be made available by mid-2010.
"Fermi will show up as the GeForce and Tesla first and it will definitely show up first in the highest-performance configuration. Sometime in the mid-part of the year we will see a lower-cost version of that come out both for Quadro and Tesla," said David White, Nvidia's CFO.
White stopped short of detailing what these parts might be or exactly how much they'll cost, but assuming he's right, we won't have long to wait to find out.
There's been a few question marks raised by Nvidia's next-gen ION chipset, such as why the performance seems to lag behind the original ION. This was indicated by tests run on the Acer Aspire One 532G -- the first officially announced ION 2 netbook -- during the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona.
The answer, says news and rumor site Fudzilla, is that Nvidia plans to release two versions of its ION 2 chipset. It's unclear how Nvidia will differentiate the two in terms of marketing and product names, but the slower version will have less shaders than the original -- hence the poorer performance -- while the faster version will sport "a lot more shaders," Fudzilla reports.
As for the above mentioned Acer? That one apparently sports Nvidia's slower ION 2, which certainly explains the puzzling benchmarks. Exactly why Nvidia is planning to release two new IONs, one of which will be gimped, is another mystery altogether.
While everyone's attention is focused on Fermi -- Nvidia's next-gen architecture slated to ship on March 26th -- the graphics chip maker has quietly slipped a handful of entry-level GeForce 300 series videocards into its OEM lineup.
News and rumor site Fudzilla reckons these will likely be rebranded parts based on the company's GT21x 40nm family, starting with the GeForce GT 320. This card will come equipped with 72 processing cores with the GPU, Shaders, and 1GB of memory clocked at 540MHz, 1302MHz, and 790MHz, respectively.
Sitting one step up on the totem pole is the GeForce 330. According to Nvidia's product page, you can expect this one to ship with 96 or 112 processing cores. Nvidia also specs this one with a 128-bit, 192-bit, or 256-bit memory bus interface.
Finally there's the GT 340 with 96 processing cores. The GPU will come clocked at 550MHz, Shaders at 1340MHz, and either 512MB or 1GB of GDDR3 memory at 1700MHz. Look for this one to also come with an HDMI port.
When you think of Onkyo, you probably picture surround sound receivers and other home theater accessories, but as it turns out, the company also dabbles in home PCs. Once of those includes the just-announced DE411 all-in-one desktop.
A pretty impressive PC on paper, the DE411 boasts a 21.5-inch 1080p Full HD display. Inside the sleek looking AIO sits a dual-core Intel Atom 330 processor clocked at 1.6GHz, Nvidia's GeForce 9400M Ion graphics, 2GB of RAM, and a 320GB hard drive. You'll also find a DVD burner, digital TV tuner, 5W speakers, Wi-Fi, multiformat memory card reader, and a handful of USB 2.0 ports.
Looking short term, Onkyo plans to release the DE411 in Japan for about $985. At that price, we'd like to see a touchscreen included, and so far, there isn't any mention of there being one. There's also no mention of whether or not Onkyo plans on shipping this one to the U.S. market.
VIA this week was spotted at the Las Vegas Convention Center showing off its upcoming S3 Graphics Chrome 5400E x2, a dual-GPU add-in board "aimed at advanced, multi-display digital signage applications."
The 5400E x2 comes ready to support up to 8 simultaneous displays with up to 4 independent video streams at resolutions of up to 1080p. A wide variety of display modes are supported, including Span, Extended, and Clone view configurations. Other marketing bullets include H.264, VC-1, and WMV-HD hardware acceleration, and built-in Genlock support for synchronized source timing.
"VIA is delighted to work with S3 Graphics to bring unique digital signage embedded products to market, highlighting our prowess in delivering the very best in power-efficient, hi-def digital display technologies," said Daniel Wu, VP, VIA Embedded Platform Division, VIA Technologies.
VIA says it will have samples of the Chrome 5400E x2 available to ODM customers starting in Q2 2010.
Good news for ATI videocard owners who have been struggling with gray lines, vertical corruption, and other unpleasantries. AMD has released its Catalyst 10.2 package, and if the company follows through on its promise, these look to take things a little more seriously.
The latest release resolves a number of issues for a variety of Windows operating systems, just a handful of which include:
System will no longer freeze while accessing the UVD Decoder (all Windows OSes)
System no longer fails and screen distortion no longer visible during Blu-ray content playback with 1680x1050 (Windows 7)
Resume playback after sleep or hibernation no longer causes green block corruption on video (Windows Vista)
Changes to the AVIVO gamma settings during Blu-ray HD playback are not retained after closing and restarting player (Windows XP)
Performance improvements include up to 8 percent in Dirt 2 on ATI HD 5970, 5800, and 5700 series cards, 6 percent in Battleforce for HD 5870 CrossFire, and 4 percent in Chronicles of Riddick.
Some ATI videocard owners have had a rough go lately, with complaints of gray screens and vertical line corruption running rampant. The issue prompted AMD to release a hotfix (see here), and going forward, the company promises to do a better job.
Catalyst 10.2, which is due later this month, is supposed to usher in better game performance courtesy of game profiles that AMD says it's going to focus on. These will consist of separate executable files on AMD's site, giving ATi owners quicker access to improved performance rather than waiting for the next full-blown Catalyst release, Fudzilla reports. The upcoming driver will also bring better "panoramic gaming" with CrossFireX.
Later on down the line, Catalyst 10.3 will put a bit of focus on improving ATI's Eyefinity technology. Reports suggest this driver package will implement an easy-to-use wizard to help adjust the layout and compensate for monitor bezels.
Catalyst 10.3 will also cater to Mobility graphics owners, and AMD is said to be working with most of the major notebook manufacturers to make sure everything works as it should.