During a press conference at Computex, AMD gave the world's first official DirectX 11 GPU demonstration, saying the new API will debut before the end of 2009. When it does, AMD promised it would beat the competition to the punch and "deliver DirectX 11 first."
"Games and other applications are about to get a lot better as a result of AMD's new graphics hardware and DirectX 11," AMD stated in a press release. "DirectX 11 features such as tessellation will bring consumers higher quality, superior performing games making use of 6th generation AMD technology."
AMD also said its DX11-based videocards will improve Windows 7 performance in a wide number of applications and in a way that's "completely transparent to users," such as accelerating the conversion of video playback on portable media players.
You'll have to look to Mars to spy the fastest desktop consumer graphics card in the galaxy, which is the name of the new GPU Asus is showing off at Computex. Instead of two semi-custom GPUs that sit "between" a GTX 260 and 280, the Asus Mars 295 Limited Edition stuffs two higher end GTX 285 chips -- the fastest single GPU in Nvidia's lineup -- into a single package.
All told, the new card boasts all 240 shader processors on each GPU, a full 512-bit GDDR3 memory interface, 32 memory chips for 4GB total (2GB accessible per GPU), and the same core/shader/memory clockspeeds as the GTX 285 (648/1476/2400 MHz). By comparison, a traditional GTX 295 sports 896MB of GDDR3 per GPU on a 448-bit memory bus with core/shader/memory clockspeeds checking in at 576/1242/2000 MHz.
According to TechPowerUp, the funky looking cooler uses the same basic internal construction as the reference design for GTX 295 cards, albeit extending "slightly higher."
No word on price or availability, but Asus did say it would limit the run to 1,000 individually numbered cards.
If, ten years ago, you’d told us that graphics would eventually look as nice as they do now, we wouldn’t have believed you. But that’s mostly because you’re not Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney. That guy – he knows his stuff. So carve a bunch of obtrusive red Xs across every calendar day between May 27, 2019 and May 27, 2024, because according to Sweeney, that’s (approximately) when we’re gonna see photo-realistic videogame graphics.
“We're only about a factor of a thousand off from achieving all that in real-time without sacrifices. So we'll certainly see that happen in our lifetimes; it's just a result of Moore's Law. Probably 10-15 years for that stuff, which isn't far at all. Which is scary -- we'll be able to saturate our visual systems with realistic graphics at that point,” he told Gamasutra.
But that’s only half of the equation. Sweeney also noted that visuals as we know them go far beyond immaculate wall textures and sizzling explosions. People matter too – and even with all the computing power in the world, that particular Rubik’s Cube won’t soon be solved.
“It's anything that requires simulating human intelligence or behavior: animation, character movement, interaction with characters, and conversations with characters. They're really cheesy in games now,” he explained.
“And unfortunately, all of that's not just a matter of computational power, because if we had infinitely fast computers now, we still wouldn't be able to solve that, because we just don't have the algorithms; we don't know how the brain works or how to simulate it.”
Still though – 10 or 15 years. We actually plan on being alive at that point! Now then, other industries, it’s time for you to fulfill your respective ends of the bargain. Hoverboards, jetpacks, and tight-fitting spandex suits, we expect to see you front-and-center when we christen Neo Future Earth in about a decade. We can’t start the show without you!
Try to imagine where 3D gaming would be today if not for the graphics processing unit, or GPU. Without it, you wouldn't be tredging through the jungles of Crysis in all its visual splendor, nor would you be fending off endless hordes of fast-moving zombies at high resolutions. For that to happen, it takes a highly specialized chip designed for parallel processing to pull off the kinds of games you see today, the same ones that wouldn't be possible on a CPU alone. Going forward, GPU makers will try to extend the reliance on videocards to also include physics processing, video encoding/decoding, and other tasks that where once handled by the CPU.
It's pretty amazing when you think about how far graphics technology has come. To help you do that, we're going to take a look back at every major GPU release since the infancy of 3D graphics. Join us as we travel back in time and relive releases like 3dfx's Voodoo3 and S3's ViRGE lineup. This is one nostalgiac ride you don't want to miss!
Intel's Larrabee project might rank as one of the most anticipated technology releases in a long while, and it looks like we'll have to wait just a bit longer than originally thought. It was expected that Intel would launch its many-cored cGPU sometime in late 2009, however the chip maker is now saying it plans to launch Larrabee in 2010.
Not a whole lot of details are known about Larrabee, only that it's a x86-based discrete graphics solution built around the second generation Pentium processor technology with the P54C core. When Larrabee launches, it will come in several iterations, the lowest of which will comprise no less than 8 cores. On the higher end, look for at least 32 cores and a 2GHz or faster clockspeed.
While it all sounds impressive, Intel's Jospeh Schultz did say that it would be a "big challenge" to compete with products from Nvidia and AMD.
Much was made over the race to 1GHz on the CPU front, a race AMD won with its Athlon processor. Markedly less exciting (but still an impressive feat) has been the sprint to churn out the first factory-clocked 1GHz GPU, with AMD again claiming victory, this time over Nvidia instead of Intel.
"Throughout the 40-year history of AMD, we have continually focused on technology firsts that deliver superior value to the customer," said Rick Bergman, senior VP, Products Group, AMD. "The 1GHz ATI Radeon HD 4890 continues that tradition by increasing the performance and compute power of our flagship singleGPU solution, ensuring a great experience whether our customers are playing the latest DirectX 10.1 game or running GPU accelerated applications built with OpenCL."
At 1GHz, the HD 4890 is able to deliver 1.6 TeraFLOPs of computing power, or "50 percent more than that of the competition's best single-GPU solution." In terms of real-world performance, however, the HD 4890 trails slightly behind Nvidia's GTX 285 in most benchmarks, or at least it does at 900MHz (see review of Asus Radeon EAH4890 Top in the June 2009 issue of Maximum PC on page 74).
FPS jockeying aside, it's good to see AMD aggressively going after the top spot in the graphics market rather than concede the high-end sector to Nvidia like it had done with its last generation of GPUs.
Another first-quarter revenue report, and another loss, this one from Nvidia. According to the report, the GPU chip maker's revenue slid 42 percent from last year, posting a net loss of $201.3 million, or 37 cents per share. That's a big change over last year when Nvidia posted a profit to the tune of $176.8 million, or 30 cents per share.
But hey, it seems everyone's numbers are down, and for Nvidia, analysts were anticipating worse numbers. While Nvidia's revenue of $664.2 million is a far cry from the $1.15 billion it posted last year, Wall Street had Nvidia pegged at $534.4 million, undershooting by $130 million.
To help cope with the recession, Nvidia has begun cutting back on its inventory, a method which seems to be working so far. Inventory was scaled back from 144 to 64 days sequentially, CNet reports, and revenue grew 38 percent sequentially from last quarter.
"We made good progress managing expenses and significantly reducing inventory," said Jen-Hsun Huang, CEO of Nvidia.
Nvidia has just released a new WHQL-certified driver, version 185.85, for GeForce videocard and ION platform owners. The new driver adds official support for the recently released GTX 275 videocard, as well as support for CUDA 2.2, which Nvidia says will result in improved performance in GPU computing applications. Other performance claims include:
Up to 25 percent in The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena
Up to 22 perent in Crysis: Warhead with antialiasing enabled
Up to 11 percent in Fallout 3 with antialiasing enabled
Up to 14 percent in Far Cry 2
Up to 30 percent in Half-Life 2 engine games with 3-way and 4-way SLI
Up to 45 percent in Mirror's Edge with antialiasing enabled
You read that right - that's up to a 45 percent boost in Mirror's Edge, according to Nvidia. In addition, 185.85 updates the PhysX software to 9.09.0408 and offers "numerous bug fixes." Barrage of links below.
The latest graphics rumor making the rounds for the past month was that Nvidia would be releasing a single-PCB version of its dual-GPU GeForce GTX 295 videocard, however it was unclear what other changes the design alteration would result in. At least until now.
According to news and rumor site Fudzilla, the slimmer, single-PCB GTX 295 looks to be more about cutting costs than adding performance. Following in ATI's footsteps, Nvidia will place both GPUs on a single circuit board, which should help the company save a bit on manufacturing.
However, only the memory is said to getting a small boost, with Nvidia increasing the reference design's frequency from 1000MHz on the dual-PCB version to 1100MHz on the single-PCB. Both the core and shaders clockspeeds will remain the same at 576MHz and 1242MHz, respectively, and despite shelving the second PCB, it will still be a dual-slot card. It will also be half an inch longer, Fudzilla says, measuring a full eleven inches.
If the rumor holds true, look for the revised card to show up by the middle of May with no change to its price point.
In today’s world of gaming hardware, ray tracing is the epitome of gaming graphics. Sadly, rendering them is difficult for current hardware due to their extremely random nature. Caustic Graphics is fixing that issue, all thanks to their graphics co-processor, the Ray Tracing Processing Unit (RTPU).
The RTPU works alongside current 3D graphics processors to bring rays at frame rates acceptable for interactive applications. While the offered 3-5 frames per second works for these applications, it’s nowhere near what gamers require. Thankfully, they claim that their second generation of hardware, out sometime next year, will be able to deliver 14 times that frame rate.
Be sure to check out a video of the tracing in action here.