With ATI having finally jumped back into the ring with Nvidia, the two companies have been taking performance jabs at each other in tit-for-tat fashion. One of those jabs came last month as Nvidia tweaked its 9800GTX with a die shrink (65nm to 55nm) and clockspeed boosts culminating in a new card dubbed the 9800GTX+. So does that mean BFG's newly announced 9800GTX+ OC can be considered an overclocked, overclocked 9800GTX? Holy redundancy, Batman!
However you label it, BFG's 9800GTX+ OC ranks as one of the fastest G92-based videocards on the market:
Core Clockspeed: 760MHz (vs 738MHz)
Shader Clockspeed:1,890MHz (vs 1,836MHz)
Memory Clockspeed: 2,250MHz (vs 2,200MHz)
Also supported are the usual assortment of goodies, including PhysX support, 3-way SLI, HybridPower technology, DirectX 10, dual-link HDCP, and a bevy of other marketing bullets. The card also comes backed by BFG's 24-hour tech support and lifetime warranty (be sure to register online within 30 days of purchase).
But for all that it includes, BFG still doesn't allow end-users to overclock its videocard, nor are they trusted to swap out the stock cooler for a third-party solution without voiding the warranty (Boo!), a pair of liberties given to XFX and Evga owners.
When it comes to graphics, killing two birds with one stone means squeezing out better performance from a newly released GPU while also reducing the power draw, and that's exactly what Nvidia has done. The 9800M and 9700M graphics cores are Nvidia's newest additions to its Geforce Mobile line, bringing desktop-like performance to the laptop.
The 9800M comes in three models, with the 9800M GTX taking residence at the top of the heap. Boasting the same G92 core that was so popular on the desktop, the 9800M GTX comes clocked at 500MHz and uses 112 shaders running at 1,250MHz each. Combined with a 256-bit memory interface, that translates into 420 gigaflops of processing power, putting it nearly on par with its desktop counterpart, the 8800 GT. And for the hardcore mobile gamers, the flagship model is SLI capable. As for the rest of the cards:
eWeekreports that AMD, which has been running at a loss over seven consecutive quarters and has just switched CEOs, is planning to refocus its business on processors and graphics and will divest itself of the consumer electronics division that was part of its acquisition of ATI.
Some analysts predict that AMD will aim for the mid-market (a strategy it first used in positioning its ATI HD 2xxx GPUs) by stressing features rather than processor benchmarks. What do you think? Put on your prognosticator's beanie, stare deeply into the depths of your processor's heatsink, try not to become hypnotized by the cooling fan, and tell us what you think AMD should be doing now.
More than a few early GTX 280 and GTX 260 adopters are catching a break thanks to vendors stepping up to the plate with cash back offers. XFX announced it would give its qualified customers up to $120 back in the wake of Nvidia's aggressive price cuts, and Evga has opened up a similar program. Evga customers must have purchased their GTX 280 or 260 videocard between June 16, 2008 and July 7, 2008 to be eligible for the kickback, and those eligible can choose between $75 in Evga bucks or $60 cash back (GTX 260), or $150 in Evga Bucks or $125 cash back (GTX 280). Other terms and conditions include:
Must be a new purchase from an authorized Evga reseller. Step-ups do not qualify
You have 14 days to register and upload a qualified invoice to claim your Evga Bucks
Only customers who purchased the Evga GTX 280 or GTX 260 at the full Manufactured Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) will qualify for the Reimbursement Program
So far this marks two Nvidia partners (that we know of) offering relief to early adopters affected by the quick price cuts, and it's anyone's guess if more will follow. Who thinks BFG will be next?
Being an early adopter doesn't always net you bragging rights. Just ask your neighbor how his HD-DVD player is working out for him, or your co-worker what he bought with his Apple gift card after being one of the first to own an iPhone. And in the world of PCs, being the first to own a Geforce GTX 280 means you're stuck watching others pay $499 for the same videocard you plopped down $649 for just weeks ago.
It's because of this that XFX's latest announcement comes as an epic win for its customers. The company says it wants to "thank you for your loyalty and believing in the XFX brand," and to prove it, XFX is issuing up to $120 cash back for anyone who purchased an XFX-brand Geforce GTX 280 or 260 videocard between June 16, 2008 and July 11, 2008. This from the same company that offers a double-lifetime warranty on all its videocards.
You knew it would happen sooner or later, the only question being which company would be the first to offer a 2GB graphics card? PowerColor answers that question today by annoucing the world's first videocard carrying a 2GB frame buffer. Or more accurately, the world's first desktop graphics card packing 2GB of memory, as workstation cards have already reached that milestone.
The fat frame buffer will first appear on PowerColor's PCS HD4850 built on ATI's RV770 core and use GDDR3 memory instead of the newer (and more expensive) GDDR5. PowerColor advertises a "massive memory bandwidth up to 57.6GB/sec" capable of "providing faster graphical performance," though it remains to be seen what impact the additional memory will have on gaming performance. Along with the added memory, PowerColor also says the new card will utilize its Professional Cooling System (PCS), which the company claims will result in up to a 10C drop in temps.
PowerColor certainly seems exciting over its announcements. Question is, are you?
There was much hype surrounding Microsoft's DirectX 10 API before its release, and since its debut, we've seen a handful of games take advantage of the new instruction sets. But there still lacks that killer game that blows every DX9 title out of the water and many gamers still resent the decision to tie DX10 exclusively with Vista, leaving the XP faithful out in the cold. And for those that made the upgrade? Microsoft's incremental DX10.1 update came as a slap in the face to anyone who upgraded both their OS and videocard in the hopes of future-proofing their system. Only ATI's 3xxx and 4xxx series support the minor update, which might not be so minor after all.
Soon making the DX10 and DX10.1 controversies old news, TGDaily reports Microsoft will unveil the next major update -- DirectX 11 -- at this year's annual XNA Gamefest scheduled to take place on July 22 and 23 in Seattle. Little is known about DX11, except that Microsoft plans to make it available for both Windows Vista and Windows 7.
With the dust yet to settle on DX10, are gamers looking forward to DX11?
When it rains, it pours, and Nvidia could use a good downpour to put out the flames. Perhaps literally. Just last week Dave Murphy reported Nvidia was setting aside $150 to $200 million to cover warranty and repair costs associated with an "abnormal failure rate" in its mobile graphics cards, news of which sent Nvidia stock spiraling downward. Now there's speculation that the failures might not be limited to just a specific batch of notebook GPUs.
Rumor, news, and review site The Inquirer is saying that "all the G84 and G86 parts are bad. Period. No exceptions." That includes both mobile and desktop parts. According to The Inq, both use the same application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC), and both ASICs are plagued by a heat related problem originating from an un-named substrate or bumping material. Because of this, The Inq surmises more failures are iminent. But are they?
Find out what Nvidia has to say about the failures after the jump.
It looks like stock prices aren't the only thing falling over at Nvidia. Competition continues to heat up in the latest round of GPU leapfrog, and reports flanking from across the web over the weekend were claiming Nvidia would issue price cuts to its add-in board partners (AIBs). The GTX 260 was to be the beneficiary of a $30 chop, while the high-end GTX 280 was to get slashed by $90. Even the 9800 GTX was to receive a $17 snip. Scouring Newegg's selection, it appears the reports were right on the money.
Thanks to Nvidia's annoying Manufacturer Advertised Pricing (MAP) policy, you'll need to do a bit of extra clicking to see the new pricing structure. But assuming your index finger is up to the task, you'll spot several GTX 280 cards selling for $499, and even lower after rebate. GTX 260 videocards have dropped down to $329, and a small handful of 9800 GTX cards have dipped below the $200 mark.
Nvidia shares dropped by a fourth today after the company announced it was setting aside a one-time hit of $150 to $200 million dollars to cover warranty and repair costs associated with an "abnormal failure rate" on its mobile graphics cards. The exact sources of the increased GPU problems are unknown at this time, although Nvidia believes the cards' increased thermal issues stem from weaker manufacturing and packing materials.