In what the company claims is a first (and as far as we can tell, they're right), Palit Microsystems has released a GeForce GTX 285 videocard outfitted with 2GB of memory. Every other GTX 285 currently ships with 1GB.
Whether or not the additional memory buffer proves a worthwhile investment remains to be seen, but it's worth noting the GTX 285 is Nvidia's fastest single-GPU solution available, second in speed only to the dual-GPU GTX 295. We've often seen graphics partners outfit lower end cards with additional memory, which is almost always of dubious value, but that isn't the case here.
Palit also lays claim to offering the first custom designed GTX 285. Deviating from the reference heatsink/fan assembly, Palit has outfitted its GTX 285 series with two PWM fans and four heat pipes.
"Conceived for two GPUs, the two PWM fans are able to provide sufficient air flow to cool GPU on the graphics quietly," Palit wrote in a press release. "The PWM fan created for both fans can adjust the fan speed depending on the GPU's temperature."
Palit also offers the GTX 285 in a more standard 1GB configuration. No word yet on pricing or availability for either model.
Nvidia showcased its bantam Ion platform during CES 2009. The Ion platform basically combines Intel’s Atom CPU with the GeForce 9400M GPU. Ion-toting netbooks are expected to be head and shoulders above today’s netbooks - that make a meal of even the simplest graphical tasks - in terms of graphics.
Nvidia this week released new WHQL GeForce drivers for GeForce 6, 7, 8, 9, and 200-series owners. The new drivers, version 182.06, promise around a 10 percent performance increase in Fallout 3 at high resolution with AA, F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin, Half Life 2 at high resolution with AA, the insanely entertaining Left 4 Dead at high resolution with AA, and Race Driver: GRID, also at high resolution with AA.
In addition to double-digit performance boosts, Nvidia says its new drivers include full support for OpenGL 3.0 on GeForce 8, 9, and 200 series GPUs and automatically installs the new PhysX software (version 9.090203. The drivers also fix a bug in Vista 32-bit where GeForce 9800 GTX/GX2/GT/GTX+ and 8800 GTS/GT/GS owners experienced a system hang when switching between performance states.
While waiting for Nvidia to release SLI profiles for newly released games is indeed glamorous, it looks like EVGA is taking initiative into their own hands and releasing what they like to call the EVGA SLI Enhancement Patch.
This workaround basically adds SLI profiles created by EVGA before Nvidia adds their own versions to their drivers. According to EVGA, they’re looking to have SLI support for games available within one day of release.
Currently, they’re only supporting users with Windows Vista, but if demand by XP users is great enough they certainly won’t rule out the possibility. If you’re looking to check it out, feel free to download it here (registration required).
With the recent release of Nvidia's GTX 285 (single GPU) and 295 (dual-GPU) videocards, ATI's performance crown has been under siege. But according to chatter around the web, the GPU maker is set to respond with a new videocard in a couple of months.
Specifically, VR-Zone claims to have confirmed ATI will release its HD 4890 in April. The new card is expected to use the RV790 core and would appear to put to rest an earlier rumor stating ATI plans to name its new card the HD 4970. As currently spec'd, the HD 4890 will come clocked at 850MHz with GDDR5 running at 975MHz. The current RV770-based HD 4870 runs at 750MHz (core) and 900MHz (memory).
VR-Zone also says there will be two versions of the new card, a standard and OC edition. The standard edition is expected to launch in mid-April, with the OC card reaching retail by the end of April. if the rumor pans out, expect the OC edition to cost $299 at launch.
After a lengthy standoff that ultimately punished the consumer rather than each other, Intel and Nvidia recently came to an agreement over using Nvidia's SLI technology on Intel chipset-based motherboards, specifically the Core i7 friendly X58. And now for the first time, Intel has licensed SLI for use on its own DX58SO "Smackover" motherboard.
"The addition of Nvidia SLI technology to the Intel DX58SO motherboard has been a welcome addition," said Clem Russo, VP and GM of Channel Desktop Platform Group at Intel. "The pairing of our new Core i7 processors on our Extreme Series motherboard and Nvidia GeForce graphics has resulted in some of the world's fastest consumer gaming PC platforms. For playing any of today's hottest PC titles, this is one awesome combination that our customers have been asking for."
Nvidia says the DX58SO supports any combination of GeForce GPUs, including support for quad-SLI, which will come as a boon to Smackover owners who have been lusing over Nvidia's new dual-GPU GeForce GTX 295 videocard.
What a difference a year makes. Nvidia yesterday reported a loss of nearly $148 million, or 27 cents per share, for the fiscal fourth quarter. A year prior Nvidia reported a profit of $257 million, or 42 cents per share.
Said Nvidia's ever-candid CEO Jen-Hsun Huang, "November fell off a cliff." Huang was referring to the dramatic drop in demand, which led the company to post revenue of $481.1 million, down 60 percent from the $1.2 billion it reported for the fourth quarter a year prior.
A rebound might not be on the immediate horizon for Nvidia, either. Market research firm iSuppli predicts that shipments of desktop PCs will continue to sag in 2009, with shipments expected to fall 5.5 percent to 146.2 million units. This is important because many high-end videocards end up in those PCs.
Despite the depressing sales numbers, we can't help but think it could have been worse for Nvidia. The graphics chip maker scored a major win by convincing Apple to use its GPUs in the recently refreshed MacBook line, and going forward, the company's newly released GTX 285 and 295 videocards have put the company on more even ground with ATI's 4870 and 4870 X2 parts.
XFX surprised a lot of people when the company announced it would begin selling ATI videocards, and perhaps none more surprised than Nvidia. Formerly exclusive to Nvidia, XFX made its ATI debut last month with five Radeon videocards, the HD 4870, 4850, 4830, 4650, and 4350.
Curiously missing from the lineup was ATI's flagship 4870 X2 graphics card, but that's no longer the case. XFX has just released the dual-GPU card in time for Valentine's Day.
"Love is power, if you’re a gamer, that is," XFX wrote in a press release. "Which is why if you—or the object of your affection—is into speed, power, or better yet, the most amazing combination of both, the new XFX Radeon™ HD 4870 X2 graphics card is truly cupid’s arrow."
Unless your significant other is a hardcore gamer, you're probably better off sticking with diamonds, chocolate, and flowers on the upcoming Hallmark holiday (and don't call it that in front of her). But if she's a true geek, what better way to show your love than with one of the fastest videocards on the planet with a lifetime warranty to boot?
Just how awesome is Intel's Core i7 architecture? According to Intel, Core i7 processors pack enough punch to supplant some of the graphics chores typically handled by GPUs from Nvidia and AMD.
"Learn how to easily add real-time 3D smoke, fog and other fluid simulations to your game without using up the GPU," Intel pitches to potential attendees on a webpage titled Intel at Game Developers Conference. "In this session, we will present the source code to a fluid simulator optimized for multi-core CPUs."
According to Tom R. Halfhill, an analyst at the Microprocessor Report and Maximum PC columnist, Intel might be seeking ways to make better use of its quad-core processors, though Halfhill said "I need to be convinced that a CPU can do those 3D effects better than a GPU can."
Dedicated graphics processors are typically better suited for high-end effects, but Jon Peddie, president of Jon Peddie Research (JPR) says there are exceptions. "Not all algorithms and processes map well to a GPU. You have to have a problem that is naturally parallel, and except for the rendering of, say, a water surface and subsurface and reflections, the wave motion equations will just fine on a CPU."
Maybe now you have that excuse you've been looking for to justify a quad-core upgrade.
According to statistics collected by Jon Peddie Research (JPR), GPU shipment numbers for Q4 2008 were just 72.35 million units. That represents a significant drop off from one year prior when GPU makers shipped 100.5 million units, and an even bigger drop from Q3 2008, which shipped 111.26 million GPUs.
All graphics vendors felt the pinch, but ATI appears to have been hit a little bit harder, giving up some market share to Nvidia. As of Q4 2008, Nvidia held a 31 percent share compared to ATI's 19 percent. Intel still bested them both with a leading 48 percent share of the market.
"The fourth quarter is usually a positive quarter for the computer industry," Dr. Jon Peddie said in a statement. "There has obviously been some inventory problems in the quarter as sales failed to live up to the optimistic expectations of the third quarter, 2008. Vendors were bracing for a slower than usual quarter due to economic factors, but performance this quarter was surprisingly low. Put simply, the market stalled in the fourth quarter."
Peddie noted a strong forecast for the second half of 2009, but cautioned that it would come after the worst Q1 and Q2 decline since 2000, DailyTech reports.