With the recent release of Nvidia's GTX 285 (single GPU) and 295 (dual-GPU) videocards, ATI's performance crown has been under siege. But according to chatter around the web, the GPU maker is set to respond with a new videocard in a couple of months.
Specifically, VR-Zone claims to have confirmed ATI will release its HD 4890 in April. The new card is expected to use the RV790 core and would appear to put to rest an earlier rumor stating ATI plans to name its new card the HD 4970. As currently spec'd, the HD 4890 will come clocked at 850MHz with GDDR5 running at 975MHz. The current RV770-based HD 4870 runs at 750MHz (core) and 900MHz (memory).
VR-Zone also says there will be two versions of the new card, a standard and OC edition. The standard edition is expected to launch in mid-April, with the OC card reaching retail by the end of April. if the rumor pans out, expect the OC edition to cost $299 at launch.
After a lengthy standoff that ultimately punished the consumer rather than each other, Intel and Nvidia recently came to an agreement over using Nvidia's SLI technology on Intel chipset-based motherboards, specifically the Core i7 friendly X58. And now for the first time, Intel has licensed SLI for use on its own DX58SO "Smackover" motherboard.
"The addition of Nvidia SLI technology to the Intel DX58SO motherboard has been a welcome addition," said Clem Russo, VP and GM of Channel Desktop Platform Group at Intel. "The pairing of our new Core i7 processors on our Extreme Series motherboard and Nvidia GeForce graphics has resulted in some of the world's fastest consumer gaming PC platforms. For playing any of today's hottest PC titles, this is one awesome combination that our customers have been asking for."
Nvidia says the DX58SO supports any combination of GeForce GPUs, including support for quad-SLI, which will come as a boon to Smackover owners who have been lusing over Nvidia's new dual-GPU GeForce GTX 295 videocard.
EVGA has to be feeling awfully confident in its videocards. Not only does EVGA allow its registered users to overclock its GPUs without invalidating the lifetime warranty, but its giving owners the tools to do so.
EVGA's Precision overclocking utility already makes it stupid simple to increase the core, memory, and shader clockspeed on its videocards, and now the company has made available its GPU Voltage Tuner utility to registered owners. With it, GTX 295, 280, or 260 graphics card owners can set custom voltage levels, potentially paving the way for greater overclocking headroom. Of course, increasing voltages also increases the risk of killing components, and so far EVGA doesn't allow sliding the tuner into the red zone, a feature which may be unlocked in a future version, EVGA states in its FAQ.
A prerequisite for using the utility is installing GeForce 181.22 drivers or later. EVGA notes that "it is possible to damage your hardware while adjusting your GPU Voltages - use at your own risk." We'd have to agree.
XFX surprised a lot of people when the company announced it would begin selling ATI videocards, and perhaps none more surprised than Nvidia. Formerly exclusive to Nvidia, XFX made its ATI debut last month with five Radeon videocards, the HD 4870, 4850, 4830, 4650, and 4350.
Curiously missing from the lineup was ATI's flagship 4870 X2 graphics card, but that's no longer the case. XFX has just released the dual-GPU card in time for Valentine's Day.
"Love is power, if you’re a gamer, that is," XFX wrote in a press release. "Which is why if you—or the object of your affection—is into speed, power, or better yet, the most amazing combination of both, the new XFX Radeon™ HD 4870 X2 graphics card is truly cupid’s arrow."
Unless your significant other is a hardcore gamer, you're probably better off sticking with diamonds, chocolate, and flowers on the upcoming Hallmark holiday (and don't call it that in front of her). But if she's a true geek, what better way to show your love than with one of the fastest videocards on the planet with a lifetime warranty to boot?
ATI has just released its Catalyst 9.1 driver package, bringing full OpenGL 3.0 support to the table, a feature which was made available to Nvidia videocard owners for the first time a month ago. While Direct3D has emerged as a front runner for Windows gaming, it should be noted that OpenGL 3.0's features can be enabled on both XP and Vista, and also Linux and Mac OS.
As can be expected are a number of bug fixes with the new driver, but perhaps surprisingly to some, ATI's Catalyst 9.1 shares the love with Linux, an area long considered a weak spot. ATI says the new driver introduces support for Ubuntu 8.10, while also enabling Hybrid CrossFireX. Also in the driver's bag of open-source tricks is MultiView support, which can be enabled using single or multiple GPU configurations.
Chinese news and review site ExPreview.com claims to have the skinny on Nvidia's upcoming GT212 GPU, which is being positioned to replace the company's GT200 series (GTX260/280). The site says Nvidia's 40nm GT212 will ship with 384 stream processors, up from 240 on the GT200. Texture mapping units (TMUs) will also be bumped up from 80 to 96 on the new part.
Interestingly, ExPreview says Nvidia will slash the memory bus interface from 512-bit to 256-bit, which the GPU maker plans to offset by using GDDR5 memory running at a higher frequency. The GT212 will also come with 1.8 billion transistors, compared to the 1.4 billion found on the GT200, ExPreview says. And with a die area measuring 300mm^2, the site expects power consumption will be "reduced greatly."
Stay tuned, as more information on Nvidia's upcoming flagship GPU will likely be forthcoming during this year's CES.
For those of you using RivaTuner to overclock your Nvidia or ATI videocard, a new version has just been made available. RivaTuner v2.22 includes "a huge number of new stuff to keep you busy," as well as a fully redesigned interface.
The new version squashes a handful of bugs, including a bug in LM63.dll plugin, which caused empty graphs with no data to be displayed in hardware monitoring. Multifunction PCI devices are no longer detected as mutli-GPU devices, and version 2.22 also addresses the pipeline count detection code for Nvidia G98-based GPUs, according to the release notes.
On the feature side, RivaTuner 2.22 brings to the table improved customization features, including the ability for bundling partners to customize the product and system tray icons. Other goodies include simplified beginner oriented profile settings, a better help system, the addition of an on-screen display preview window, improved handling of user profiles, and more.
Read the full list of changes here, and then download RivaTuner 2.22 here.
News and review site VR-Zone claims to have seen documents outlining Nvidia's plan to move to a 40nm process technology on its entire lineup of upcoming videcards starting in Q9 2009. On the high-end side, that includes the GT212 GPU, expected to debut in Q2 and replace the 55nm GT200, meaning a relatively short lifespan for the not yet released GTX285 and GTX295 videocards.
On the mainstream level, both VR-Zone and DigiTimes are reporting the launch of 40nm-based GT214 and GT216 GPUs in Q3 2009, which will replace the current G94 and G96 chips. Fleshing out the lineup will be four desktop SKUs for the GT216 and six desktop SKUs for the GT218, presumably representing different clockspeed and memory configurations.
Looking at the entry level, Nvidia's 40nm GT218 will supplant the company's G98 GPU, also in Q3 2009. Meanwhile, Nvidia's IGP line will see the launch of the iGT209, which is set to replace the GeForce 9300 and 9400 motherboard GPU series.
Citing those always un-named sources (this time at graphics card makers), DigiTimes reports Nvidia will launch its next generation GT 300 GPU, a high end gaming chip, in the first quarter of 2009. The new part will be manufactured on a 55nm process, just as the company is also planning a 55nm refresh of its GTX 260 videocard.
DigiTimes also says Nvidia will show off a pair of new GT 200 videocards at CES next month. First on tap will be the GTX 295, which will consist of two 55nm GT 200 GPUs. The graphics card maker also plans to show its GTX 285, which will ship with a single GT 200 GPU. Core frequencies for both cards are expected to run 10 to 15 percent faster than existing Nvidia videocards, while also consuming 10 to 15 percent less power.
Rumors that XFX might be defecting from Nvidia have been stirring for months now, and at the time, Evga was also being mentioned. More recently, it's just been XFX at the center of speculation, and according to Fudzilla, it's a done deal.
"We've managed to confirm that XFX will join the ATI camp at the start of the new year," Fudzilla writes. "XFX won't drop Nvidia products either, but obviously, Nvidia won't be thrilled by this turn of events."
Nvidia might not be thrilled at losing an exclusive add-in-board (AIB) partner, but AMD should be, and rightfully so. While AMD's graphics division has finally caught up with Nvidia in terms of performance, some enthusiasts found their buying decision coming down to brand. XFX, Evga, and BFG all offer lifetime warranties and other end-user perks, and all have been exclusive to Nvidia. If Fudzilla's confirmation turns out to be correct, AMD gains a major player for its graphics division, and one has to wonder how long it would be until Evga and BFG start playing both sides as well.