Nvidia this week released a new set of mobile GPU GeForce drivers, version 186.03 (WHQL certified). The new drivers support GeForce 8M, 9M, 100M, and 200M-series notebook graphics.
Several new features come with the GeForce 186.03 release, including full OpenGL 3.0 support, support for CUDA 2.2, and support of Ambient Occlusion, which Nvidia says "adds realism to scenes by reducing the intensity of ambient lights on surfaces blocked by surrounding objects." Lots of double-digit performance upgrades are included, too:
Up to 25 percent faster in The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena
Up to 22 percent faster in Crysys: Warhead with antialiasing enabled
Up to 11 percent faster in Fallout 3 with antialiasing enabled
Up to 14 percent faster in Far Cry 2
Up to 45 percent faster in Mirror's Edge with antialiasing enabled
Dell owners take note - before downloading the new drivers, Nvidia says anyone who owns a Dell Inspiron 1420, Dell XPS M1330, or Dell XPS M1530 should first install an SBIOS update, found here.
If you thought the tension between Intel and Nvidia had already reached a boiling point over various licensing issues, just wait until the CPU maker (that would be Intel) releases its discrete graphics GPGPU solution called Larrabee sometime next year. The two companies (along with AMD/ATI) will suddenly be in direct competition on a whole new playing field, complete with a plot twist involving a longtime Nvidia graphics partner.
That partner, according to news and rumor site The Inquirer, is EVGA, who up to this point has been Nvidia's number one add-in-board (AIB) partner. Once Larrabee ships, that will change, The Inq says.
If true, this could be a big blow to Nvidia. EVGA has built an enthusiast following by offering one of the most flexible warranty policies in the business, and if the rumor holds true, this would be the second time a major partner jumped ship. Back in December of last year, XFX, another former Nvidia partner known for its liberal warranty terms, announced it would begin selling AMD videocards.
Rambus doesn't appear to be doing too well with its legal battle against Nvidia, and while the company hasn't given up entirely, it did ask the International Trade Commission to drop four of its patent infringement claims against the GPU maker. In addition, Rambus also asked for termination of several claims from a fifth patent, all of which date back to a November 2008 complaint.
"We are pleased Rambus has recognized the weakness of these patents and claims," said David Shannon, Nvidia executive vice president and general counsel in a statement. "These withdrawals represent essentially half of the patents and one third of the claims asserted against us, and we look forward to addressing the remainder of the case."
Exactly what will remain in the case remains to be seen, but before the withdrawals, the original complaint included nine alleged patent violations all involving memory controllers as used on Nvidia's graphics cards.
Maingear this week announced the Pulse gaming PC, the first Ion-based rig to sport upgradeable Nvidia graphics. The company also claims its Pulse is the "world's greenest gaming PC."
Built around Nvidia's Ion platform, the Pulse comes standard with an Intel 65W Core 2 Duo or Core 2 Quad processor, integrated GeForce 9300 graphics upgradeable to a discrete 9800 GT ECO card which the company says consumes 40 percent less power than a standard 9800 GT, up to 8GB of DDR2-800 memory, up to a 500GB hard drive or 160GB SSD, and an 80+ certified 300W power supply.
"The Maingear Puls with Nvidia graphics perfect for anyone who wants a small, energy efficient, and stylish PC," Maingear stated in a press release. "With its Nvidia Ion-based motherboard, the Pulse delivers the best graphics solution available for low-power, small form factor designs.
Loud bellows can be heard at the ongoing Computex tradeshow in the Taiwanese capital. Nvidia is the one making all the noise with a bagful of Ion-based small form factor products. There are 21 Ion-based products being showcased at the event, including the Acer Desktop AspireRevo, Asus All-in-one eeeTop ET2002 and MSI All-in-one Windtop AE2201. Many of these products had not been heard of prior to Computex. The Ion platform has been at the receiving end of Intel’s contempt. But even Intel must be keenly observing the first wave of Ion-based products at Computex.
Netbook owners are all too familiar with the perils of watching any type of processor hungry HD video on our tiny beloved machines. But, thanks to a recent announcement by Adobe, those days are coming to a close (sort of).
The announcement, which came in two parts (from Nvidia and Broadcom) promises full hardware acceleration for Flash video, mostly by means of upgrades to Adobe’s plugin. This upgrade will guarantee smooth playback of HD flash video.
Sadly, most current-gen netbook owners won’t get to see any of these advances, because in order to put them to use you’ll need to have a machine based on Nvidia’s Tegra solution, or an Atom powered netbook with Broadcom’s Crystal HD video accelerator addon.
This advance will be making its way to consumers in the first half of 2010.
Nivida and Super Micro have worked together in order to create a 1U server that ties together the power of massively parallel Tesla GPUs with multi-core CPUs. The system is said to deliver 12 times the performance of a traditional quad-core CPU-based 1U server.
The SuperServer 6016T-GF-TM2 is on display at Computex this week. “Our new Tesla GPU-based SuperServer 6016T-GF Series delivers a much higher performance-per-watt and per-rack than any other 1U solution in the market today," said Don Clegg, Super Micro‘s Vice President of Marketing. "This 2-Teraflop SuperServer meets the most demanding enterprise data center requirements for reliability and manageability."
Reportedly, Brazilian energy company Petrobras has already installed a cluster of 190 Tesla GPUs and is seeing a 5x to 20x improvement over their previous, multi-core CPU-based clusters.
At Computex today, Nvidia and its partners announced a dozen high-definition mobile internet devices (MIDs) built around the GPU maker's Tegra processor, the "world's smallest and lowest power computer-on-a-chip," according to Nvidia.
"The mobile computing revolution has arrived," stated Micheal Rayfield, general manger of mobile business at Nvidia. "These new Tegra-based products combine excellent Internet and media capabilities, always-on operation, and wireless connectivity for the un-tethered Internet experience consumers have been craving."
Not to be confused with MIDs as handheld devices (as Intel uses the term), Nvidia's MIDs include several Tegra-based netbooks and tablets. We'll let you be the judge on that one.
The Tegra platform brings several goodies to the table, including 25 days of music or 10-hours of 1080p video playback on a single charge, playing videogames at up to 46 frames per second, GPU accelerated Adobe Flash, and more.
According to Engadget, look for Tegra devices to start shipping by the end of the year for $200 or less.
Not only is Packard Bell still around (there's a name we don't hear too often), but the former major U.S. player who now spends its time in Europe (kind of like Hasselhoff) is jumping aboard the Ion train with a nettop dubbed the iMax Mini.
It's official. Now that Lenovo has announced its Ion-based IdeaPad S12, Intel's Atom platform finally has some competition in the netbook arena.
"We've heard from consumers loud and clear about the need for affordable and extremely portable computing devices, and we've responded by introducing our third netbook with a completely new form factor, making mini-computing more usable and redefining value in today's market," said Dion Weisler, vice president, Business Operations, Idea Product Group, Lenovo. "We are pioneering new territory in the developing netbook arena by being the first vendor to give customers high quality video and entertainment capabilities in a netbook with optional Nvidia Ion graphics."
The new 12-inch netbook comes equipped with an Intel Atom N270 processor (1.6GHz, 533MHz frontside bus, 512KB L2 cache), up to 1GB of DDR2-533 memory, up to a 320GB hard drive, and of course integrated Nvidia Ion graphics, the main selling point of the S12.
GottaBeMobile.com has posted videos of the new ultraportable in action, noting that it's "fully capable of being a primary computer for those with basic needs." And we have to admit, the prospect of HD video and serviceable Call of Duty 4 framerates on a sub-$500 portable is mighty appealing.
Lenovo says the S12 will be available in June through business partners starting at $450, with Nvidia Ion-based units "available later this summer."