Graphics chip maker Nvidia appears to be interested in talent from Transmeta, and that could mean only one thing: they're moving into the x86 market, says AmTech analyst Doug Freedman.
Freedman's theory is at least plausible. During a Q&A session at the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference in San Francisco earlier this year, Nvidia acknowledged it would eventually try its hand at the x86 business, saying it was a matter of "when," not "if."
If Nvidia's looking for the right time, now might be it. The chip maker continues to be at odds with Intel over continued licensing disputes, the latest of which has bumped Nvidia out of contention with Nehalem. And because AMD owns ATI, the chip maker finds itself between rock and a hard place.
That's not good, considering over 30 percent of Nvidia's revenue comes from chipsets. Backing out, even if temporary, puts a lot of pressure on the company's graphics business to hold the fort while licensing disputes are worked out.
It's worth noting that Nvidia probably wouldn't go after the high performance sector, where Intel's Core i7 pretty much stands alone. But the market is wide open in the low performance segment. An Atom alternative combined with the chip maker's Ion platform could conceivably shake things up and give Intel's Atom platform some serious competition.
We're hoping for great things out of Nvidia's upcoming "Fermi" graphics chips, and we can only hope the leaked pics showcasing what the GPU can do turn out to be legit.
The pics come courtesy of Chinese website PCZilla and show a pair of human face renderings like nothing we've ever seen before, at least not on the desktop. There's so much detail the images could pass as real photos, but let's hope they're not.
There's also an image of a ray-traced demo that may not look as impressive at first glance, at least until taking in the various lighting sources and reflections, which requires a second and third look to fully appreciate.
Update: Source video found! Find if after the jump.
It's pretty common for hardware vendors to artificially gimp their budget or lower cost parts. Take AMD's tri-core chip, for example, which comes with a core disabled that isn't necessarily bad. And who still remembers Nvidia's vanilla 6800 graphics card that came with 4 software-unlockable pipelines to transform it into a 6800GT? As it turns out, Nvidia may have taken the same software-based approach to its Ion LE platform.
Nvida's Ion LE sports the same 1080p HD playback capabilities as its pricier sibling, but in order to cut costs, LE kicks DirectX 10 support to the curb. But as MyHPMini forum member runawayprisoner discovered, his may be entirely software-based, and a quick driver hack is all it takes to get the regular Ion drivers to install.
All runawayprisoner did was is add Ion LE's device driver ID to the Ion drivers, and once he did that, they installed like a charm, DirectX 10 support and all.
Whether or not that means full DX10 support remains to be seen, but according to runawayprisoner, if nothing else DX9 gaming stands to receive a sizeable boost in performance up to 50 percent.
MSI has so far been pretty quiet about its plans to enter the increasingly crowded e-book market, instead letting others steal the spotlight. Maybe not for long, based on what we just found out. According to MSI chairman Joseph Hsu, the company is developing an e-reader built around Nvidia's Tegra platform.
Sounds promising just on that tidbit alone, but unfortunately, we won't see anything from MSI in time of the holidays. There are still some kinks to be worked out, so MSI has decided to hold off until the first half of 2010 to divulge any more details. Bummer.
The timing might not be terrible for MSI. It's true that rival Asus also plans to release an e-book reader in the near future, but first run batches will be limited and aimed at charities. Consumer models aren't expected to ship until the first quarter of 2010. Plus, tapping into Tegra could potentially turn out to be a huge advantage for MSI, particularly when pitted against grayscale e-book readers like the one Asus is working on.
If you have a shiny new DirectX 11 card taking up space in your case, this may be of interest to you. The first DX11-specific benchmark has been released by Unigine Corp. The demo is called “Heaven” and runs on the company’s proprietary Unigine engine.
Unigine have released two previous GPU benchmarking demos called “Sanctuary” and “Tropics”. Like those programs, the new DX11 benchmark is available for free. Heaven has support for OpenGL, DirectX 9, 10, and 11. So regardless of your hardware, it should run as long as you have at least 256 MB of VRAM. There’s even support for AMD’s new Eyefinity technology.
You will, however, need .NET framework 2.0, OpenAL, and your card’s latest stable drivers. If you want to take your card for a spin, you can get the Heaven demo here.
Ghosts and goblins aren't the only things you'll see this Halloween. According to news and rumor site Fudzilla, EVGA and Nvidia have joined forces to launch a hybrid graphics card on October 31st.
It's mostly speculation at this point, but the card is rumored to combine GT200b and G92b GPUs onto a single PCB. Why the mix? The GT200b will be responsible for rendering all those pretty graphics while you're saving the universe, and the GT92b will flex its PhysX muscle.
Fudzilla says the hybrid card will most likely sport a GTX 275 and GTS 250, which would give the card 240 stream processors and 896MB of memory for rendering, and 128 stream processors and 512MB of memory for PhysX duties. Not a bad idea to combine the two on a single piece of hardware, albeit it could be somewhat risky this close to the launch of Fermi.
Computing has taken an odd Joni Mitchell twist of late. Nvidia is the latest to announce it’s entry into cloud computing with Cloud 3D, a platform which Nvidia says will make it easier for developers to create and show powerful 3-D graphics technology. According to Nvidia Cloud 3D, which operates on the RealityServer platform, is “a powerful combination of GPUs and software that streams interactive, photorealistic 3D applications to any web connected PC, laptop, netbook and smart phone.”
RealityServer is powered by the Telsa RS GPU-based server, a massively parallel computing system boasting of 240 CUDA processors per core. Rendering will be performed with iRay, a technology developed by Nvidia’s Mental Images subsidiary, which provides physically correct ray-tracing in this computing environment. Nvidia’s goal is to provide real-time rendering solutions over the web.
"This is one giant leap closer to the goal of real-time photorealistic visual computing for the masses," said Dan Vivoli, Nvidia senior vice president. Nvidia sees Cloud 3D serving the high demand needs of car designers and those of online shoppers, who will be able to interactively design home interiors, including rearranging the furniture.
The all-in-one PC segment is now experiencing its share of Windows 7-induced buzz. MSI has announced three new entrants into its Wind Top family of all-in-one PCs, all of which are based on Nvidia’s Ion platform and support Windows 7.
Nvidia's Tegra platform continues to woo big-name customers, most recently attracting Nintendo, who reportedly is in talks with Nvidia to provide some extra oomph for its next-gen DS handheld console.
The deal marks a win-win situation for both involved. For Nvidia's part, no other handheld console would put Tegra in more hands, courtesy of the DS's 68.3 percent worldwide market share. And for Nintendo, tapping into Tegra gives the company's console a power boost sure to be well received by consumers and developers alike.
Until more details are released, we can only speculate on what the next DS might be like, but it's at least feasible that on top of the added muscle, it will also sport backwards compatibility with the existing DS library, assuming Theo Valich's sources prove reliable.
What will also be interesting to watch is how this relationship between Nintendo and Nvidia plays out in the home console market. Might Nvidia replace ATI as the graphics vendor of choice in whatever supersedes the Wii? We'll have to wait to find out.
So you want a Netbook, but you’re not crazy about dealing with a slow computer? You’re in luck. The recently leaked specs for the upcoming ASUS Eee PC 1201N should make any geek’s wallet feel a little too heavy. The 1201N is said to be packing a 1.6 GHz Atom N330 Dual Core CPU paired with 3GB of RAM. The standard configuration will have a 320GB hard drive as well.
The thing that really sets it apart is the video. The 1201N will be rocking the Nvidia ION chipset (Geforce 9400M), which will be pumping video to a 12 inch display with a resolution of 1366x768. You can also expect an HDMI out with the ION chipset.
There will also be a less powerful version, the 1201HA, with a standard Atom chipset and Intel graphics in the same 12 inch chassis. No pricing information is available right now. Release date is also a mystery. The fact that they both run Windows 7 indicates they won’t be available until after Windows 7 is released on October 22.