As we reported earlier this year, Nvidia GeForce 8M series mobile GPUs have seen an abnormally high failure rate . VR-Zone and The Inquirer report that Nvidia has a solution for its OEM laptop partners: buy their new mobile GPUs instead.
The old GPU is known as the NB8E-SE, and is used, according to VR-Zone, in notebooks running the GeForce 8700M GT, 8800M GS, and GeForce 9650M GS. The new GPU, the NB8E-SET (aka the G84-751) uses Hitachi underfill packaging for more reliability.
If you're in the market for a new Nvidia-powered notebook computer, it's worth finding out from the laptop maker if they've switched to the new GPU already. However, what should you do if your new (or not-so-new) notebook has one of the old-design GPUs onboard?
To find out what your options are, join us after the jump.
News and review site VR-Zone claims to have seen documents outlining Nvidia's plan to move to a 40nm process technology on its entire lineup of upcoming videcards starting in Q9 2009. On the high-end side, that includes the GT212 GPU, expected to debut in Q2 and replace the 55nm GT200, meaning a relatively short lifespan for the not yet released GTX285 and GTX295 videocards.
On the mainstream level, both VR-Zone and DigiTimes are reporting the launch of 40nm-based GT214 and GT216 GPUs in Q3 2009, which will replace the current G94 and G96 chips. Fleshing out the lineup will be four desktop SKUs for the GT216 and six desktop SKUs for the GT218, presumably representing different clockspeed and memory configurations.
Looking at the entry level, Nvidia's 40nm GT218 will supplant the company's G98 GPU, also in Q3 2009. Meanwhile, Nvidia's IGP line will see the launch of the iGT209, which is set to replace the GeForce 9300 and 9400 motherboard GPU series.
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.
It looks as though Nvidia will finally find its way into netbooks, and without using any strong arm tactics. The graphics chip maker announced plans to pair its GeForce 9400M chipset with Intel's Atom processor in a new netbook dubbed Ion.
Nvidia's 9400M GPU is the same one Apple chose to use in its refreshed MacBook line. From a performance standpoint, Nvidia says its 9400M offers 5x faster graphics and 10x faster video transcoding than a typical Atom-powered netbook, and is capable of playing full-spec 1080p high definition video. Nvidia also claims you'll be able to play popular games on the Ion platform, such as Call of Duty 4.
"NVIDIA's Ion Platform transforms Atom-based PCs into capable mainstream gaming platforms," said Mark Rein, vice president of Epic Games. "Epic is excited about the growth potential offered by these new affordable premium PCs."
In addition to gaming and high definition content, Ion will be capable of handling Vista's full user interface, as well as Microsoft's upcoming Windows 7.
Look for the new graphically supercharged netbooks to appear midway through 2009 "within $50" of standard netbook pricing, Gizmodo reports.
Citing those always un-named sources (this time at graphics card makers), DigiTimes reports Nvidia will launch its next generation GT 300 GPU, a high end gaming chip, in the first quarter of 2009. The new part will be manufactured on a 55nm process, just as the company is also planning a 55nm refresh of its GTX 260 videocard.
DigiTimes also says Nvidia will show off a pair of new GT 200 videocards at CES next month. First on tap will be the GTX 295, which will consist of two 55nm GT 200 GPUs. The graphics card maker also plans to show its GTX 285, which will ship with a single GT 200 GPU. Core frequencies for both cards are expected to run 10 to 15 percent faster than existing Nvidia videocards, while also consuming 10 to 15 percent less power.
Less than a week ago, Fudzilla claimed it managed to confirm rumors that XFX would defect from Nvidia as an exclusive partner, but until now, no official confirmation existed. That's no longer the case, as AMD announces XFX is joining the fray of AMD add-in board partners.
"In the world of PC gaming, XFX is synonymous with the extreme performance that enthusiasts crave,” said Rick Bergman, senior vice president and general manager, Graphics Products Group, AMD. “Their decision to partner with AMD and launch AMD GPU-based XFX graphics cards, including the ATI Radeon™ HD 4870 X2, widely regarded as the world’s fastest graphics card by technology enthusiasts around the world, speaks to the level of excellence achieved by the ATI Radeon HD 4000 series."
Michael Chiu, Chairman and CEO of Pine Technologies Holdings, makers of XFX graphics cards said it wasn't just AMD's ability to catch up on the gaming front that led to its decision to branch out; XFX also took a keen interest in AMD's multimedia performance.
According to AMD, XFX will kick off its new partnership starting with the Radeon HD 4000 series GPUs sometime in early 2009.
If you sometimes use your computer for something other than gaming, your ultra-powerful GPU might be twiddling its thumbs, waiting for some 3D deathmatches - until now. This week, Nvidia released the final 1.0 version of its OpenCL specification, which enables programmers to use the power of the GPU for general-purpose data crunching (aka General Purpose GPU or GPGPU). OpenCL enables programmers who aren't accustomed to shoving around vertices or telling hardware T&L registers what to do to write code for GPU execution without using OpenGL or DirectX commands.
Nvidia isn't exactly new to GPGPU, as its CUDA parallel processing architecture is somewhat similar to OpenCL. CUDA is currently supported by virtually all current GeForce, GeForce Mobile, and Quadro FX GPUs when equipped with at least 256MB of dedicated video memory.
To demonstrate the "Open" in OpenCL 1.0, Nvidia has worked closely with Apple Computer, which first proposed a parallel processing standard as part of its forthcoming Snow Leopard OS X release, with arch-rival ATI's parent company AMD, and with other partners including 3DLABS, Activision Blizzard, Apple, ARM, Barco, Broadcom, Codeplay, Electronic Arts, Ericsson, Freescale, HI, IBM, Intel Corporation, Imagination Technologies, Kestrel Institute, Motorola, Movidia, Nokia, NVIDIA, QNX, RapidMind, Samsung, Seaweed, TAKUMI, Texas Instruments and Umeå University.
So, who's managing the OpenCL standard, and what about Microsoft's rival DirectX 11 Compute standard? Updated 12-11-08:And, what class of computers can benefit from OpenCL coding?To learn more, and for your chance to sound off, join us after the jump.
According to Engadget, a pair of problems have popped up on Apple's refreshed MacBook line, the first of which has to do with maxing out the RAM. Some users have complained that running 4GB, whether it be from Apple or a third party, is turning their MacBooks and MacBook Pros into pricey paper weights. With 4GB of RAM installed, affected users claim their MacBooks suffer from random freezes and the only solution is to downgrade to 3GB or 2GB. Apple hasn't yet acknowledged any known issues with maxing out the RAM, but forum users aren't the only ones reporting problems - mobile technology blog site jkOnTheRun reports seeing the same thing.
The other issue rumored to be affecting Apple's new MacBooks comes from news and rumor site The Inquirer, who claims that the MacBook Pro's Nvidia 9600M GPU suffers from the same material defect that affected previous MacBook Pros equipped with Nvidia's 8600M GT GPU. As The Inq tells it, to see the problem:
"You would need to buy a MacBook off the shelf, disassemble it, desolder the chips, saw them in half, encase them in lucite, and run them through a scanning electron microscope equipped wiht an X-ray microanalysis system like this. This is exactly what we did."
The Inq posted several pics with accompanying analysis, which it claims proves that at least some current MacBooks are still using older Nvidia chips containing 'bad bumps,' which in the past has led to blank screens and other video errors in some cases.
ATI videocard owners take note - AMD has released new Catalyst drivers, v8.12, for both Windows XP and Vista. The new Catalyst release brings with it performance improvements in several DX9 and DX10 games, including up to a 25 percent boost in Crysis (DX10) for both Single and Crossfire mode. More recent releases, such as Left 4 Dead and Fallout 3, also receive a claimed performance boost by up to 10 percent and 15 percent respectively.
Many bug fixes accompany 8.12, such as improved HD video playback no longer causing Vista to stop responding, better support for connecting an All-in-Wonder card to a Yamaha receiver via an HDMI cable, and several more.
The new drivers also unlock the ATI Stream compute acceleration capabilities built into Radeon HD 3870, HD 3870 X2, and all HD 4000 series graphics cards. Similar to Nvidia's CUDA technology, ATI Stream is a set of advanced hardware and software technologies that enable AMD GPUs to work with the CPU and accelerate applications other than just graphics. To show off the technology, AMD has made available its free ATI Video Converter utility.
Earlier this month Nvidia reiterated interest in the mini-laptop market, essentially saying it was taking a wait-and-see approach. The graphics chip maker must have liked what it has seen since then, because it appears the company isn't going to wait much longer.
According to DigiTimes, Intel and Nvidia are taking their suddenly cozy relationship into the netbook sector. The two, who just recently finally resolved a licensing dispute allowing SLI technology on Intel chipsets, are said to be working together to enable Nvidia chipset support for the Atom platform. If the rumor pans out, Nvidia's MCP7A chipset will be the first to support Atom processors, with Asus, Gigabyte, and MSI ready to take advantage of the collaboration.
Rumors of a partnership between Intel and Nvidia have been going on since last summer. At the time, Nvidia and VIA had entered into an alliance, leading many to speculate the move was intended to give Nvidia a bargaining chip in convincing Intel to let its Atom chip support Nvidia's MCP73 IGP chipset, or face stiff competition from what could be a potent VIA Nano platform.
No matter what prompted the change of heart, this partnership can be viewed as another major win for Nvidia, who has had a tumultuous year. But more recently, the company has managed to wiggle its way into Apple's refreshed MacBook line, and now appears to be in position to profit from one of the few markets withstanding the global economic storm.