News and rumor site Fudzilla is reporting that Nvidia's GeForce GTX 580 videocard is going to launch in November, probably before AMD's Cayman architecture. If true, look for the GTX 580 to show up around the middle of November.
Of course none of this is confirmed, but according to reports, Nvidia will likely target a $500 price point for its upcoming GPU, depending on how AMD's Cayman cards perform and how AMD chooses to price them.
In related news, a forum member on Chinese-language site PCInLife.com posted a couple of pics of what he claims is the reference design for Nvidia's GTX 580 part. You can check them out here.
It's hot, it's loud, but for those unwilling to sacrifice performance at any cost the Nvidia GeForce GTX 480 is the card to beat. Naturally however if one GTX 480 is great, two is even better right? That's what we thought when we came across leaked photos of the new ASUS Mars 2 featuring a pair of GeForce GTX 480 chips on a single card.
In terms of power consumption the images we came across revealed three 8-pin power connectors, and outputs for a single DVI, HDMI, and what looks like a display port. Fitting both of these massive chips onto a single PCB is a stunning accomplishment, but we can't wait to get a glimpse of the cooling solution if and when this thing ever comes to market. If it can successfully manage and channel that much heat, it will be nothing short of an engineering masterpiece.
Depending on the price, this could really put a dent in the market share for the new "Ares" 5970. Let's just say if you have $1,000+ in your upcoming GPU budget, you might want to hold off just a little bit longer to see how this story shakes out.
The current lineup of budget cards from both companies has never been better, but for those looking to indulge, it's about time we had a few worthwhile options.
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?
By now, pretty much everyone is aware that Nvidia's GTX 480 runs hot, but should you be concerned? Not at all, says Nvidia, who claims it designed its GF100 parts with high temps in mind.
"We wanted to let you know that we’ve also heard your concerns about GTX 480 with respect to power and heat," Nvidia state in a blog post. "When you build a high performance GPU like the GTX 480 it will consume a lot of power to enable the performance and features I listed above. It was a tradeoff for us, but we wanted it to be fast. The chip is designed to run at high temperature so there is no effect on quality or longevity. We think the tradeoff is right."
Whether or not consumers agree remains to be seen, and what Nvidia didn't address is that the added heat is a byproduct of higher power consumption. This is also an issue that could end up pushing enthusiasts in a different direction or putting them in a holding pattern.
Does the added heat bother you, or is it all about the performance?
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.
With Fermi cards now street legal, PC makers are scrambling to convince you to buy a system from them using the new GPUs. Almost immediately after the announcement, CyberPower updated their build options with the Black Pearl, Black Mamba Fang Series and Gamer Xtreme 3D. All of these PCs have the option for Fermi cards. Not to be outdone, Origin PC announced options for the Fermi cards in their line of Genesis desktops.
If you have expensive tastes, Maingear has you covered with their monster $6000 SHIFT desktop with a Tri-SLI configuration of Fermi GPUs. If you only need two massively expensive cards in SLI, Digital Storm has a $5000 rig with two GTX 480s. That’s still nothing the sneeze at.
These are obviously prebuilt systems, and many early adopters prefer the DIY route. Are you planning to buy a Fermi card? If cost is a concern, where would the price point have to be for you to bite?
You'll have a tough time finding a Fermi graphics card available for purchase until early April, but in the meantime, you can already configure a CyberPower PC with one of Nvidia's recently announced next-gen videocards, the boutique system vendor announced.
"CyberPower's top-of-the line Black Pearl, Black Mamba Fang Series, and Gamer Xtreme 3D desktop gaming rigs will all feature Nvidia's Fermi cards," CyberPower said. "CyberPower's entire Gamer Xtreme line will also have options for customers who want to upgrade to Nvidia Fermi architecture cards. When combined with Intel's latest six-core CPUs, CyberPower customers can be assured their custom gaming PC will pump out geometric realism, while offering increased image quality, and extreme performance."
Investing in the latest and greatest Intel chip isn't a requirement. CyberPower's Xtreme series represents a more budget friendly starting point, and for a little over $1,500, you can configure a rig with an Intel Core i7 930 processor, Asetek self-contained liquid cooler, Asus P6T SE motherboard, 6GB of RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 480 videocard, a 1TB hard drive, dual optical drives, 800W PSU, and Windows 7 Home Premium.