If rumors prove correct, AMD plans to keep busy this month. The company is said to be adding to its ATI HD 4000 lineup with a pair of mid-range HD 4600 series videocards, and an entry level 4500 series GPU.
According to reports, the HD 4650 will be based on ATI's RV730 core with 512MB GDDR2 memory. On the slightly higher end, the HD 4670 will come in two flavors, one sporting 512MB of GDDR3 and one with 1GB of GDDR3. Pricing for the new cards are expected to be between $70 to $90.
On the lower end, the HD 4550 will make a debut in late September with a price tag between $45 to $55. A 256MB version will cost $15 less, and in mid-October, the HD 4350 with 256MB of GDDR2 memory will complete AMD's flurry of new low and mid-range videocards.
Earlier this summer, both Nvidia and ATI hosted press events to unveil their new hardware—and the excitement about GPU-based encoding was palpable. We were promised that our videocards would make Photoshop faster and better and our GPUs would encode video 10 times faster than our CPUs. In fact, someone lacking tech savvy would have left these presentations thinking, "Wow, these GPU things can make common computing tasks run insanely fast, and there are a couple of games that work with them too." Of course, as is typical, the truly big promises (like 10x faster video encodes) were off in the future, when the software was "ready."
Well, the software's nearly ready. Elemental's Badaboom uses Nvidia's CUDA interface to do lots of the grunt work of DVD ripping by using the GPU instead of your musty old CPU. I've been in the Lab for the last few days putting this app through the ringer. Our test bed for this challenge is an Intel Q6600 quad core, running at a stock 2.4GHz, with 4GB of memory and a GeForce GTX 280 reference board.
It’s not unusual for tech companies to find themselves in legal hot water with governments, or their competitors. But this time AMD & Nvidia will face off in courts against we the consumers. AMD & Nvidia have been cited in a class action lawsuit filed in a California court alleging both companies of conspiring to commit price fixing. The plaintiffs identified as Jordan Walker and Michael Bensingor have named themselves, and anyone else who has ever been a customer of either company as the injured parties. According to the filing; "The Named Plaintiffs allege that, in violation of the federal antitrust laws, Nvidia and ATI conspired to fix, raise, maintain and stabilize prices of graphics processing chips and cards. The Named Plaintiffs also contend that Defendants unlawfully colluded to coordinate new product introductions." Further developments have been uncovered by Tom’s Hardware which was able to obtain legal documents as well as detailed email exchanges between the two GPU giants. Careful review of the emails doesn’t show any silver bullet, at least not to a layman. But in what is arguable a duopoly enviornment, it doesn’t take much to prove anti competitive behavior to the courts. The lawsuit seeks triple damages, legal fees, and any other incurred costs.
AMD & Nvidia customers who don’t wish to be represented in the lawsuit can opt out. Hit the jump to find out how.
Intel has pushed the release of its upcoming chips with integrated graphics core to 2010. According to the company, the move was necessitated due to the “client platform learning and customer feedback” it gained in 2008. These chips - codenamed Auburndale and Havendale -are based on Intel’s Nehalem microarchitecture and have integrated graphics core, memory controller and PCI-Express. They will be locking horns with AMD’s much vaunted APU (accelerated processing unit) that the company has codenamed Fusion. If AMD can release its Fusion in the second half of 2009, as widely speculated, it will have a bit of time to freely plug its APU.
Tom's Hardwarereports that AMD is set to launch the new ATI HD 4600 series of video cards on September 10. The HD 4600 is designed to compete with the GeForce 9500 series of video cards, and is expected to replace the ATI HD 3800 series.
HD 4670 versus HD 4650
The HD 4600 series, like the GT 9500 GT, provides best performance when used with GDDR3 memory, but will also be available with DDR3 and DDR2 memory. Cards based on the RV730XT GPU will be known as the HD 4670 (available in 1GB and 512MB RAM versions), while cards based on the slower RV730 Pro GPU will be known as the HD 4650 (available with 512MB of RAM).
Both GPUs will offer PCI Express 2.0 support, DirectX 10.1 support, physics and dynamic geometry acceleration, 24x CFAA technology, 128-bit memory bandwidth, HDCP support for full-quality HD playback, and CrossFire support. The HD 4670 has a power requirement of only 70 to 80 watts, while the HD 4650 requires only 50 to 55 watts, making them ideal for home theater systems.
Want to see more pictures of actual HD 4670 hardware? Join us after the jump for links.
Some rumors just refuse to die, and one that refuses to stay buried is that Nvidia might be looking to enter the CPU market. On the surface, such a move would seem to make sense, as both AMD and Intel offer integrated CPU and GPU platforms. Speculation that Nvidia might develop a platform of its own has been particularly strong the past few months, and chairman Jen-Hsun Huang, a co-found of the company, only fueled the fire at his press conference on the opening day of NVISION, saying "we believe in x86...we believe in heterogeneous computing."
But while Huang has been hesitant to stomp on the rumor outright, Chris Malachowsky, another co-founder and senior vice president, went on the record with PC Pro as strongly denying the graphics chip maker would make such a move.
"That's not our business," Malachowsky said. "It's not our business to build a CPU. We're a visual computing company, and I think the reason we've survived the other 35 companies who were making graphics at the start is that we've stayed focused."
Malachowsky also pointed out Intel's marketshare dominance and financial strength in the CPU market as reasons why the Nvidia would be wise to steer clear.
Do you believe Malachowsky, or do you think the company will have a change of heart once Intel's Larrabee and AMD's Fusion start shipping?
While high end gaming cards like ATI's 4870 and Nvidia's GTX 280 hog all the spotlight, not everyone can afford (or needs) a top of the line card. Picking up the slack at the other end of the spectrum, Nvidia this week silently launched its entry-level 9400 GT graphics card.
The 9400 GT comes with 16 processor cores clocked at 1400MHz, a 550MHz graphics clock, and 512MB of memory chugging along at 400MHz. And thanks in part to the 128-bit bus, Nvidia claims the 9400 GT will run twice as fast as the comparable 8-series graphics card.
Nvidia has set the MSRP to $59, which buys support for DirectX 10, OpenGL 2.1, CUDA general-purpose parallel computing, and hardware HD video acceleration. A cursory glance around the web shows the 9400 GT as being a respectable overclocker, but even after pushing the clocks, it looks to be best suited for HTPC and light gaming duties.
Nvidia's woes in the mobile graphics arena have been well documented, but here's a quick refresher for anyone who hasn't been following along. After several users complained of graphics glitches and outright failures in their 8M-based notebooks, Nvidia announced it would set aside a one-time hit of $200 million to cover warranty and repair costs associated with the "abnormal failure rate." According to the graphics chip maker, the failures only affect a limited number of notebook GPUs produced from a bad batch, but just how limited the problem remains a point of contention. Charlie Demerjian from news and rumor site The Inquirer has been particularly outspoken on the issue, claiming the failures resonate into the G92 and G94 lineup, and according to rumblings, he might not be too far off.
Hit the jump to find out the latest speculation and just how many GPUs might be affected.
Nvidia contnues to feel the pressure from a suddenly competitive ATI and will once again tweak one of its mainstream videocards. Back in June, Nvidia took its 9800GTX card based on the immensely popular G92 core and shrank the core from 65nm to 55nm, pushed the core, memory, and shader clockspeeds, and dubbed the resulting product the 9800GTX+. This time around its the GTX 260 that will undergo a revision.
Citing an un-named source, Expreview reports Nvidia will add another Texture Processing Cluster (TPC) to its GTX 260, bringing the total up from 8 to 9. By doing so, the revised card will sport 216 shader processors instead of the 192 found in the original GTX 260. As far as Expreview knows, core, shader, and memory clockspeeds will remain the same.
If the report holds true, look for the updated card to arrive in September.
Nvidia’s secret war with Intel has evolved into a full scale arms race for the atomic bomb of graphics technology, ray tracing. Using its forum at SIGGRAPH, Nvidia was able to demonstrate an interactive ray tracing simulation using four of the company's next-generation Quadro GPUs. They were set in a Quadro Plex 2100 D4 Visual Computing System with an estimated street price of around $11,000. Not exactly your standard gaming rig, but it gets the point across. Either way, it appears as though Nvidia is finally taking a cue from Intel and is focusing at least some of its effort on developing hardware capable of making this technique a reality for everyday users. The demonstration featured linear scaling of an anti aliased Bugatti Veyron with over two-million polygons. It was run at a resolution of 1920x1080 (1080p) and chugged along at an impressive 30 FPS. The demonstration also featured image-based lighting paint shaders, reflections / refractions, and ray traced shadows. Industry insiders noted that the demo was an impressive undertaking since it was one of the first interactive demonstrations done using a GPU. Intel has demonstrated ray tracing using Quake 3 but was done using CPU power.Larrabee will be Intel’s counter in the consumer market, but it remains to be seen if the CPU style design will be as capable of pushing out polygons as Nvidia’s offerings.Gamers are no doubt hoping the new race to master ray tracing will accelerate its development, but I have a feeling we will be playing Duke Nukem Forever long before we see consumer based ray tracing solutions from either company. Though the important first steps are now well underway.