I hate it when I am wrong…except this time. Being wrong means I get to have SLI when Bloomfield ships. It seems that Nvidia will be ready for the Bloomfield launch after all with the nForce 200 SLI processor, the older brother of the nForce 100 that was so successfully with the launch of the Skulltrail.
Bryan Del Rizzo with Nvidia says, “some vendors will be incorporating more than one nForce 200 processor for even more advanced configurations and flexibility for multi-GPU configurations. Both 2-way and 3-Way SLI configurations will be fully supported with our latest GPUs, including the GeForce GTX 280 and GeForce GTX 260 GPUs."
I certainly can’t wait to see what the nForce 200 CPUs can do. The part about “more advanced configurations and flexibility for multi-GPU” really sparks my interest. Maybe some sort of GPU cluster across different Nvidia GPUs? I’ll be keeping an eye on that.
Perhaps even more interesting than that, was when Bryan said, “We are not doing our own native chipset for Bloomfield.” What? That’s right, no native Nvidia chipset for Bloomfield CPUs. The reason for not doing a QPI (Quick Path Interconnect) chipset is because of the quick transition to DMI (Desktop Management Interface) and the short-lived nature of QPI. Picking up an X58 Chipset Board with an nForce 200 SLI processor will be the only way to get SLI.
This is a pretty big shift considering Nvidia puts out a very popular chipset for enthusiasts, not that Intel chipsets are any slouch.
TomsHardware.com is reporting that the originally scheduled launch of Nehalem based Bloomfield processors will be moved up to September. Imagine that, a hardware launch ahead of schedule! The X58 chipsets will launch along with it.
Some early tests of samples of Nehalem show it beating out current processors by 20 to 30 percent. It appears to like overclocking as well with some overclocking tests going to almost 1Ghz over stock. Nehalem ditches the traditional front-side bus (FSB), and instead uses an external multiplier to control the link between CPU core, memory controller, and north-bridge.
This is only going to further mash AMDs toes as their next CPU, Shanghai, doesn’t look promising for catching up to Intel. Unless AMD has a hat trick waiting, we’ll have to wait until San Paolo and Magny-Cours come out in 2010 to see if AMD can catch up. A year and a half is a long time and a lot can happen in the CPU world. With Nehalem looking to come out early, Intel stretches its lead.
Is Nehalem seductive enough to get you to upgrade?
Nvidia is preparing to release their WHQL certified PhysX driver on August 5th for GeForce 8, 9, and GTX series videocards. The new ForceWare driver will expand PhysX support to currently available PhysX titles like Ghost Recon 2: Advanced Warfighter, Warmonger and Cell Factor: Revolution.
WHQL or Windows Hardware Quality Labs is a testing process that when passed allows vendors to use a "Certified for Windows" logo, which certifies that the hardware or software has had testing by Microsoft to ensure compatibility with Windows. Many vendors like being able to hang that logo on their products, so we will see more videocards touting PhysX support and the Windows certified logo hitting big box store shelves soon.
Nvidia acquired PhysX when they bought Ageia. PhysX is now part of CUDA (Compute Unified Device Architecture) that Nvidia developed. CUDA may take off in a big way if some driver modders succeed in getting it to run on Radeon videocards. No word yet if ATI plans to support the project at all.
Yet another reason to upgrade my trusty 7900GT. Is PhysX support enough to make you upgrade your older card?
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:
Either Charlie Demerjian is drinking some seriously spiked Kool-Aid, or The Inquirer reporter really is privy to what could turn out to be the hottest story this summer. According to the latest rumor (and this one's unconfirmed), two high profile Nvidia add-in board (AIB) partners are jumping ship. And by high profile, Demerjian's talking about XFX and Evga, two of only three Nvidia partners (BFG being the other) to offer a generous lifetime warranty on their videocards.
As if the rumor wasn't already unfathomable, it gets even more shocking. According to the story, which, again, hasn't been confirmed by any other source, not only have XFX and Evga already defected (The Inq claims "paperwork has been signed"), but they're not heading for the hills of ATI. Huh? That's right; the rumor says XFX and Evga aren't following Gainward's lead (yet another defection rumor), so if it turns out to be true, then where could they going?
Find out where XFX and Evga are rumored to be headed after the jump.
Intel’s CEO Paul Otellini had a bounce in his step going into his shareholder briefing on Tuesday. Intel’s continued dominance over AMD and a solid earnings report has left his investors glad they placed their money in hardware rather then software. Investors on the other hand are nothing if not fickle. The conference call quickly turned into a debate over the shortage of Atom processors and weakness in Intel’s flash memory business. Put on the defensive Paul Otellini hinted that Atom isn’t the chip maker’s primary focus. "(Atom) is less than a third the performance of our Centrino (processor). You're dealing with something that most of us wouldn't use," he said. He further goes on to clarify that Atom is aimed at the emerging Netbook audience and is a way that Intel can grow without cannibalizing its other processor offerings. He continued to reassure investors that Intel has plenty of Atom chips in stock and back end improvements to testing as well as increased production of chipsets should solve the problem. Intel has been steadily increasing its production capacity of the popular CPUs since November.
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.
My trusty PC is long in tooth, and it’s 7900GT just no longer serves well enough for my gaming desires. I’ve taken to dropping items in my New Egg cart on the weekends and putting together my own Dream Machine, only to sigh and dump everything out when I realize that my wife would only strangle me for spending that much on anything short of diamonds for her. Hey, I live in Vermont, the women out here are tough.
Fortunately Nvidia has introduced new prices on the GeForce GTX 280 and 260 to be even more competitive with ATI’s line. The GeForce GTX 280 is now available for around $499. The GeForce GTX 260 is now going for around $299.
So maybe I can slip one of those into my current rig before she gets the credit card bill. After all it is better to beg forgiveness, than ask permission. At least I’ll have a nice new videocard to console myself with afterwards.