As rumored, Nvidia slashed the price of its GeForce GTX 470 videocard today, and did so by more than 25 percent, at least in terms of MSRP. The GTX 470, which was originally marked at $349, can now be found for as little as $260.
That's about $20 more expensive than the lowest priced AMD Radeon HD 6870 videocards (you can read our review of the XFX HD 6870 here, and the HD 6850 here), all without any mail-in-rebate shenanigans.
So out of the two, which should you get? You could flip a piece-of-eight and be happy with the result no matter how it lands. The GTX 470 is slightly faster than the HD 6870, while the latter costs a little less. If a warranty is what matters most, out of the $260 and under cards, only the EVGA GTX 470 comes with a lifetime backing (provided you register the card within 30 days). XFX also offers a lifetime backing on its cards, which one-ups EVGA's by being transferable to a second owner, but the XFX HD 6870 runs for $280.
Are you planning to upgrade to one of these new cards? If so, which one? Even if you're not, which do you think is the better buy out of these: HD 6870, HD 6850, GTX 470, GTX 460.
For those of you who recently purchased a GeForce GTX 470 or 460 videocard, stop reading now, this might sting a little. According to HardOCP founder Kyle Bennett, Nvidia is planning some major price cuts, and soon.
"Word on the street is that Nvidia is changing UMAP pricing on the GTX 460 1GB and GTX 470 for the better, from the consumers' standpoint anyway," Bennett says. "Expect to see some fairly big price drops in the next couple of days that will bring both the cards down to previous unheard of prices. The price drops on the GTX 470 will likely be a very well received enthusiast 'sweetspot' card."
If true, these aren't random price cuts. AMD is expected to release its Radeon HD 6870 and 6850 videocards tomorrow, and a well timed price cut could steal some of the thunder away from AMD's launch.
Sharp-eyed Maximum PC readers who care about performance will no doubt notice that Gigabyte’s GV-N470UD-13I GTX 470 runs at stock reference speeds but achieves almost identical benchmark scores to last month’s kick-ass overclocked EVGA GTX 470. Blame it on new drivers versus old.
To be fair, the N470UD-13I isn’t exactly a stock card. While the card ships at reference clock speeds for core, shader, and memory, Gigabyte builds the board using its Ultra Durable manufacturing methods, which includes two-ounces-of-copper PCB technology, Japanese solid capacitors, high-end Samsung or Hynix GDDR5 memory, and low RDS(on) MOSFETs, which are designed to minimize switching resistance for faster capacitor charging and discharging. The PCB itself is blue, unlike many reference GTX 470 cards.
MSI this week went and launched a pair of new Fermi graphics cards -- N470GTX and N465GTX -- sporting the company's Twin Frozr II cooling solution.
The Twin Frozr II comes with a dual-fan design that blows cold air over "big size fins." Combined with five heat pipes that run through the heatsink, MSI says the Twin Frozr II is capable of reducing temps by as much as 16C over Nvidia's reference cooler, while at the same time dropping down noise levels by up to 21.5dB. In boxing, that would be the equivalent of a mean left hook followed by a vicious uppercut.
In addition to performance gains in both cooling and noise, MSI claims it's using "military class components" on its Twin Frozr II cards, including solid Hi-c capacitors with 8 times the normal lifespan and no buzz noise. That's another way of saying these cards should withstand the rigors of overclocking.
It looks as though Galaxy Tech is going to try their hand at a dual-GPU GeForce GTX 470 videocard, at least if Computex is any indication. Galaxy Tech has been showing off a slice of silicon with two of Nvidia's GF100 GPUs slapped onto a single PCB.
The thing measures about 12 inches long and includes two 8-pin PCI-E power connectors, three dual-link DVI ports, 16 memory chips, and a whole bunch of capacitors. It's every bit a prototype card, and Galaxy Tech didn't say when, or even if they realistically plan on bringing this one to market.
The obvious challenge here would be in keeping thermals in check. A single GTX 470 comes rated at 215W TDP, and a dual-GPU solution would presumably run noticeably hotter.
Stanford's Folding@home team has released a beta client for Nvidia GTX 400 series GPUs. It's the first F@h GPU client to achieve more than 1 microsecond per day performance, Nvidia says, who added that it worked closely with Stanford on this latest release.
Does all this sound Greek to you? In short, Folding@home is a distributed computing project run by Stanford University. The idea is to install the software on as many PCs as possible and combine all that computing power to help understand how proteins fold. By doing so, scientists hope to better understand (and eventually find cures for) diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and others. Folding@home takes a backseat to other tasks, only tapping into unused CPU (and in this case, GPU) cycles to do its thing.
To help keep things interesting, there's a strong competitive element to Folding@home in which you can join a team and help rack up points for bragging rights. If you want to join team Maximum PC (team 11108), check out this forum for more info.
The beta client mentioned above is only for Nvidia GTX 4xx owners and requires the latest Nvidia graphics drivers (197.45). However, Vijay Pande, director of the Folding@hom project, says his team is "actively pushing ATI support (with the help of AMD/ATI)," although there's no ETA just yet.
In an interview with DigiTimes, Nvidia's general manager of MCP business Drew Henry fielded a variety of questions and in some cases, offered up a little more than just canned responses. Other times it was a bit of a mixed bag, such as when he was asked to address the rumors that Nvidia gimped Fermi's core count in response to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company's (TSMC's) low yields.
"Nvidia does not comment on unannounced products; however, we have a chance to launch a graphics chip with 512 cores in the future," Henry said. "TSMC's yields for its 40nm process has met our expectations and market rumors about the yields being lower than 20% are completely untrue. We currently have everything under control."
Henry also didn't shy away from commenting on Nvidia's relationship with XFX, a one-time exclusive partner who now sells both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards.
"I need to make two clarifications, one is that Nvidia's share of the graphics card market in the past six months has seen steady growth and did not drop," Henry explained. "Another one is that XFX is not a close partner of Nvidia and the company has a lot of partners such as Asustek computer, Micro-Star International (MSI), Gigabyte Technology, and Zotac that we are currently working closely with."
On the topic of Fermi's heat output and increased power consumption, Henry said he believes consumers won't mind paying a "little higher electricity bill in exchange for 10 percent more performance."
Forget for a moment that you still can't hop over to Newegg or any other online vendor in the U.S. and place an order for an in-stock Fermi graphics card. What you can do, however, is window shop as more product pictures continue to trickle out, including ones of Inno3D's Black Freezer GTX 480 and GTX 470 videocards.
Both variants come with the same Black Freezer watercooling block, which covers not just the GPU but nearly the entire front slab of silicon. Given what we know so far about Fermi's power requirements and tendency to run hot, we expect to see quite a few vendors try to cash in with watercooled models.
Other than the pics, Inno3D has been pretty quiet about these upcoming cards. There's no product page, press release, or any word on whether or not there's a bit of factory overclocking taking place. And of course no word yet on price, though Fudzilla claims to have heard that the waterblock might be offered as both a pre-installed and standalone option.
Our calendar reads April 12, 2010, and if you've been following the Fermi saga, then you know that today is the day Nvidia's next-gen GPU architecture is expected to show up in retail. As of this moment, we've only found the GTX 480 videocard in stock at some online retailer nestled in the Netherlands, but the day is young.
While the world waits for Fermi to land on store shelves, Nvidia has been busy promoting the launch of their GF100 parts during the Nvidia Game Festival (NGF) in Shanghai, China. The chip maker invited a bunch of first-tier graphics partners, PC vendors, and game developers, all of which were able to participate in various game tournaments and other GPU-related fanfare.
Drew Henry, Nvidia's general manager of MCP business, was on hand at the Festival and addressed the recent market rumors that GTX 480 and GTX 470 GPU yields are just 20 percent. According to Henry, that number's not accurate and the yields have met company expectations, whatever those might have been.
Anyone planning on picking up a Fermi card today if/when they become available?
With intense competition in the graphics market, add-in board (AIB) partners often look for ways to distinguish their products from one another, whether it's a nifty bundle or an exotic cooling solution. So what is XFX planning for Fermi? Absolutely nothing, says Legit Reviews.
"This afternoon we received confirmation that XFX, a division of PINE Technologies, will not be releasing any GeForce GTX 400 series graphics cards to the market when the cards become public next month," writes Nathan Kirsch, founder of Legit Reviews. "XFX was not listed as a launch partner for Fermi and did not issue a press release about the upcoming cards, which might come as a shock to many to many of our readers as they are one of the largest Nvidia AIBs in the world!."
Kirsch goes on to say that the decision belonged to XFX, not Nvidia, which should kill off any conspiracy theories that Nvidia's giving XFX the cold shoulder for carrying ATI hardware.
"It looks like XFX thinks that the Radeon HD 5000 series of graphics card is the right card for the high-end market," Kirsch explains. "From our conversation with XFX they mentioned that they have 'yet to see whether the fermented launch will reach an inglorious anti-climax' and that they want to 'Ferm up to who really has the big guns.'"
Interesting choice of words coming from a major player. XFX has been touted for its excellent 'Double Lifetime Warranty' policy, which allows registered users to transfer their warranty to a second owner.