NVIDIA puts its head in the clouds
Today at the 2012 NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference (GTC), NVIDIA took the wraps off a new cloud gaming technology that promises to reduce latency and improve the quality of streaming gaming using the power of NVIDIA GPUs. Dubbed GeForce GRID, NVIDIA is offering the technology to online services like Gaikai and OTOY.
The goal of GRID is to bring the promise of "console quality" gaming to every device a user has. The term "console quality" is kind of important here as NVIDIA is trying desperately to not upset all the PC gamers that purchase high-margin GeForce products. The goal of GRID is pretty simple though and should be seen as an evolution of the online streaming gaming that we have covered in the past–like OnLive. Being able to play high quality games on your TV, your computer, your tablet or even your phone without the need for high-performance and power hungry graphics processors through streaming services is what many believe the future of gaming is all about.
GRID starts with the Kepler GPU - what NVIDIA is now dubbing the first "cloud GPU" - that has the capability to virtualize graphics processing while being power efficient. The inclusion of a hardware fixed-function video encoder is important as well as it will aid in the process of compressing images that are delivered over the Internet by the streaming gaming service.
This diagram shows us how the Kepler GPU handles and accelerates the processing required for online gaming services. On the server side, the necessary process for an image to find its way to the user is more than just a simple render to a frame buffer. In current cloud gaming scenarios the frame buffer would have to be copied to the main system memory, compressed on the CPU and then sent via the network connection. With NVIDIA's GRID technology that capture and compression happens on the GPU memory and thus can be on its way to the gamer faster.
The results are H.264 streams that are compressed quickly and efficiently to be sent out over the network and return to the end user on whatever device they are using.
Subject: Graphics Cards | May 11, 2012 - 04:57 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: sli, nvidia, kepler, gtx 670, GK104, geforce
In our launch review of the GeForce GTX 670 2GB graphics card this week, we had initially mentioned that these $399 graphics cards would support SLI, 3-Way SLI and even 4-Way SLI configurations thanks to the pair of SLI connections on the PCB. We received an update from NVIDIA later on that day that in fact it would NOT support 4-Way SLI.
The message from NVIDIA was pretty clear cut:
"As I’m sure you can imagine, we have to QA every feature that we claim support for and this takes a tremendous amount of time/resources. For the GTX 680 and GTX 690, we do support Quad SLI and take the time to QA it, as it makes sense for the extreme OC’ers and ultra-enthusiasts who are shooting to break world records."
But with the similarities between the GTX 680 and the GTX 670, is there really any QA addition required to enable quad for 670? Seems like a cop-out to me man...
I saw it mostly as a reason to differentiate the GTX 670 and the GTX 680 with a feature since the performance between the cards was very similar; maybe too similar for NVIDIA's tastes with the $100 price difference.
Well this afternoon we received some good news from our contact at NVIDIA:
"Change in plans.....we will be offering 4-Way SLI support for GTX 670 in a future driver."
So while the 301.34 driver will not support 4-Way configurations with the GTX 670, 4-Way SLI will in fact be enabled after all in a future version. We'll be sure to keep you in the loop when that happens and the super-extreme enthusiasts can rejoice.
This does go to show that the fundamental differences between AMD's license-free and seemingly more "open" CrossFire technology and NVIDIA's for-fee SLI technology. With enough feedback and prodding in the right direction, NVIDIA can and does do the right thing, just look at the success we had convincing them to support SLI on AMD CPU platforms last year.
Feet to the fire everyone!
Subject: Graphics Cards | May 10, 2012 - 02:13 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: nvidia, kepler, gtx 670, gtx 570, GK104, geforce
In the comments to our full review of the GeForce GTX 670 2GB graphics card a user asked for a comparison of the new GTX 670 against the Fermi-based GTX 570. I had some numbers for that already made up but ran out of time and space for it in our review that went up this morning. I thought that there might be others interested in this so I decided to put a news post with the results.
These performance graphs pit a reference clocked GTX 570 1.25GB card against the new reference GTX 670 2GB card.
Without a doubt the new GTX 670 is a faster GPU than the GTX 570:
- 3DMark11: +45%
- Battlefield 3: +34%
- DiRT 3: +28%
- Skyrim: +32%
- Metro 2033: +31%
- Dues Ex: +29%
- Batman: AC: +39%
- Power Consumption: -14%
With an average performance delta of 30% or more, the GTX 670 makes a solid upgrade for GTX 570 users but maybe more interesting, it does this while using 14% less power as well.
Subject: Graphics Cards | May 10, 2012 - 01:38 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: radeon, nvidia, HD 7970, hd 7950, hd 7870, hd 7850, hd 7770, hd 7750, GTX 690, gtx 680, gtx 670, geforce, amd
Due to popular request, I am going to try to keep our readers up to date on the current availability of graphics cards and pricing on the market. With the recent price drops from AMD, the frequent out-of-stock status of the GTX 680 cards and today's new release of the GTX 670, I thought this would be a great summary of the current situation.
NVIDIA's latest offering, the GeForce GTX 670
We will try to post new updates weekly or maybe more frequently as we see fit. Newegg is our partner of choice for this today, so let's see what we have.
AMD Radeon HD 7000 Series
Radeon HD 7970 3GB - In Stock
Starting at $479
Radeon HD 7950 3GB - In Stock
Starting at $399
Radeon HD 7870 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $329
Radeon HD 7850 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $249
Radeon HD 7770 1GB - In Stock
Starting at $129
Radeon HD 7750 1GB - In Stock
Starting at $109
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 600 Series
GeForce GTX 690 4GB - No Stock
Starting at $999
GeForce GTX 680 2GB - No Stock
Starting at $499
GeForce GTX 670 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $399
It is launch day for the GTX 670 and those seem to be pretty widely available for the time being. As great a card as it is though, I am hesitant to think it will remain in stock through the end of the day based on past experiences with the GTX 600 cards. Still, the GTX 680 is MIA and the few times I have seen it in stock it only lasts a couple of hours.
AMD is still doing fine on availability with the Radeon HD 7970 and HD 7950 widely available for the price of $479 with a set of three free games including DiRT Showdown and Dues Ex: Human Revolution.
If you are looking for our latest graphics reviews to judge the performance of the above cards, here you go:
Subject: Graphics Cards | May 10, 2012 - 01:30 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: nvidia, kepler, gtx 670, GK104, geforce
The GTX 670 is a scaled down GTX 680 in every aspect including price. 1344 CUDA Cores is 192 less than the GTX 680, baseclock is reduced 91MHz to 915MHz, 16 less texture units for a total of 112; the memory remains the same at 6GHz. Most important to consumers is the reduction in price, down $100 to an MSRP of $400, targeting it directly against the HD7950 at its new price. [H]ard|OCP's testing does not favour AMD as the GTX 670 shows an obvious performance advantage over the HD7950 as well as the still available GTX 580 and does it at a price point which matches AMD's new prices.
Ryan's full review can be read here, where he tests out Galaxy's GTX 670.
"NVIDIA's next generation Kepler GPU continues with the launch of the GeForce GTX 670. This GPU is positioned to provide great performance at a price level $100 less than the GeForce GTX 680. Could this be the best performing $399 video card, besting even the Radeon HD 7950? We tell you all you need to know if $400 is your price range."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- GeForce GTX 670 @ The Tech Report
- ZOTAC GeForce GTX 670 AMP! Edition 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 DirectX 11 Video Card Review @Hi Tech Legion
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 Review Feat. EVGA: Bringing GK104 Down To $400 @ AnandTech
- Gigabyte GTX670 OC Video Card Review @ Ninjalane
- EVGA GeForce GTX 670 SuperClocked Video Card Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Palit JetStream GEFORCE GTX 670 2GB @ Tweaktown
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 Video Card Tests @ Benchmark Reviews
- Palit GeForce GTX 670 JetStream 2 GB @ techPowerU
- EVGA GTX 670 Superclocked @ Overclockers.com
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card @ Bjorn3D
- GIGABYTE GTX 670 OC @ Bjorn3D
- Gainward GeForce GTX 670 Phantom @ Techspot
- Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 Windforce 3X OC 2GB DirectX 11 Video Card Review @Hi Tech Legion
- NVIDIA GTX 670 Review @ OCC
- NVIDIA & EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card Review @ Legit Reviews
- GEFORCE GTX 670 @ Hardware Heaven
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 Launch Review @ Neoseeker
- ASUS GeForce GTX 670 Direct CU II 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- Gainward GeForce GTX 670 Phantom @ Legion Hardware
- Nvidia GTX 670 @ lanOC Reviews
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 Review @ Hardware Canucks
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 @ Guru of 3D
- GeForce GTX 670 2 and 3-way SLI @ Guru of 3D
- Palit GeForce GTX 670 JetStream @ Guru of 3D
- ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP @ Guru of 3D
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 670 review plus SLI and 3-way SLI @ Hardware.Info
- NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 670 2GB Video Card Overclocked @ Tweaktown
- MSI GTX 680 Twin Frozr Graphics Card Review @ HardwareHeaven
- ZOTAC GeForce GTX 680 AMP! Edition 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- Palit GeForce GTX 680 4GB Jetstream @ Guru of 3D
- NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 670 2GB @ Tweaktown
- MSI Radeon HD 7870 HAWK 2GB @ Tweaktown
- MSI R7950 Twin Frozr III @ Kitguru
- Ivy Bridge PCI-Express Scaling with HD 7970 and GTX 680 @ techPowerUp
- HIS Radeon HD 7770 iCooler 1 GB @ techPowerUp
- XFX HD 7870 and 7850 Double Dissipation Review @ OCC
- MSI R7970 Lightning / R7870 Hawk review @ Hardware.Info
- HIS Radeon HD 7870 IceQ X Turbo X 2GB Graphics Card @ eTeknix
GK104 takes a step down
While the graphics power found in the new GeForce GTX 690, the GeForce GTX 680 and even the Radeon HD 7970 are incredibly impressive, if we are really honest with ourselves the real meat of the GPU market buys options much lower than $999. Today's not-so-well-kept-secret release of the GeForce GTX 670 attempts to bring the price to entry of the NVIDIA Kepler architecture down to a more attainable level while also resetting the performance per dollar metrics of the GPU world once again.
The GeForce GTX 670 is in fact a very close cousin to the GeForce GTX 680 with only a single SMX unit disabled and a more compelling $399 price tag.
The GTX 670 GPU - Nearly as fast as the GTX 680
The secret is out - GK104 finds its way onto a third graphics card in just two months - but in this iteration the hardware has been reduced slightly.
The GTX 670 block diagram we hacked together above is really just a GTX 680 diagram with a single SMX unit disabled. While the GTX 680 sported a total of 1536 CUDA cores broken up into eight 192 core SMX units, the new GTX 670 will include 1344 cores. This will also drop the texture units to 112 (from 128 on the GTX 680) though the ROP count stays at 32 thanks to the continued use of a 256-bit memory interface.
Subject: Graphics Cards | May 3, 2012 - 08:04 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, nvidia, kepler, GTX 690, GK104, geforce
A PC Perspective Live Review Recap is a recorded version of a previously live streamed event from http://pcper.com/live. If you couldn't make the original air time, or simply want to re-watch, the on-demand version is provided below!
On the launch day of the new GeForce GTX 690 graphics card, NVIDIA's Tom Petersen once again returned to the PC Perspective offices to talk about this impressive new $999 gaming solution. Based on a pair of GK104 GPUs, we already posted our full review of the GeForce GTX 690 today but this information and discussion with Tom is worth seeing again.
I want to thank Tom for stopping by and speaking with us and I want to thank the thousands of viewers that tuned in to the live stream to make the event a success!
Subject: Graphics Cards | May 3, 2012 - 01:07 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: nvidia, kepler, GTX 690, GK104, geforce
The GTX690 is certainly the fastest single PCB card on the planet and this generation of NVIDIA's dual GPU card shows great improvements from previous dual GPU cards, but at $1000 MSRP it is essentially the same price as a pair of GTX680s. [H]ard|OCP's testing shows that the GTX690 performs at 95-98% of a pair of SLI'd GTX680s so there really is no noticeable performance difference. This begs the question as to why one might prefer the GTX690 to a pair of GTX680s; to which there are several answers. The most obvious is the size difference, with a GTX690 taking up one PCIe 16x slot and taking 2 slots on the back of the PC, where an SLI setup requires two PCIe 16x slots and takes up 4 slots on the back. Not only will the GTX690 leave you more room in your case it will provide better airflow as you will not have two cards sandwiched against each other as will be the case with many motherboards you would also have a much easier time setting up quad SLI. As well there is the power consumption to consider, in Ryan's testing the GTX690 needed 30W less than the SLI rig and over 100W less than a pair of HD7970s. That also resulted in the GTX690 operating at a slightly cooler temperature as well as being quieter, which is almost as important as the performance. The GTX690 is a beast and if you can afford it ... and find it for sale ... it makes more sense that buying a pair of GTX680s.
"Is the GeForce GTX 690 the best dual-GPU video card ever built? We'll compare performance to GeForce GTX 680 SLI and Radeon HD 7970 CFX to see where the new beast from NVIDIA stands. We overclock the dual GPUs and push these as far as we can. Surely this is the best performance ever experienced from a single video card."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690: The Dual-GPU Beast Arrived! @ Bjorn3D
- NVIDIA GTX 690 Review @ OCC
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 4GB Video Card Review @ Legit Reviews
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 Launch Review @ Neoseeker
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 Review: Ultra Expensive, Ultra Rare, Ultra Fast @ AnandTech
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 Benchmark Performance @ Benchmark Reviews
- VIDIA GeForce GTX 690 Video Card Features @ Benchmark Reviews
- "All Inclusive": Nvidia GeForce GTX 690 2x2 GB @ X-bit Labs
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 4 GB @ techPowerU
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 Dual-GPU Graphics Card Launch Review @ HardwareHeaven
- NVIDIA Geforce GTX 690 DirectX 11 Video Card Review @Hi Tech Legion
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 @ Guru of 3D
- PowerColor PCS+ HD7970 vs Gainward GTX 680 Phantom Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Gainward GeForce GTX 680 Phantom @ Techspot
- 1 GHz with Passive Cooling: Arctic Accelero S1 PLUS and Turbo Module @ X-bit Labs
- Sapphire HD 7870 Review @ OCC
- MSI Radeon HD 7870 HAWK @ Guru of 3D
- HIS Radeon HD 7870 @ FunkyKit
- MSI Radeon HD 7870 HAWK 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- How Does Intel’s HD 4000 Compare on the IQ Scale? @ Kitguru
- DirectX 11.1 Specifications Released @ NGOHQ
GTX 690 Specifications
On Thursday May the 3rd at 10am PDT / 1pm EDT, stop by the PC Perspective Live page for an NVIDIA and PC Perspective hosted event surrounding the GeForce GTX 690 graphics card. Ryan Shrout and Tom Petersen will be on hand to talk about the technology, the performance characteristics as well as answer questions from the community from the chat room, twitter, etc. Be sure to catch it all at http://pcper.com/live
Okay, so it's not a surprise to you at all, or if it is, you haven't been paying attention. Today is the first on-sale date and review release for the new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 4GB dual-GPU Kepler graphics card that we first announced in late April. This is the dream card any PC gamer out there combining a pair of GTX 680 GK104 GPUs on a single PCB and running them in a single slot SLI configuration and is easily the fastest single card we have ever tested. It also the most expensive reference card we have ever seen with a hefty $999 price tag.
So how does it perform? How about efficiency and power consumption - does the GTX 690 suffer the same problems the GTX 590 did? Can AMD hope to compete with a dual-GPU HD 7990 card in the future? All that and more in our review!
Kepler Architecture Overview
For those of you that may have missed the boat on the GTX 680 launch, the first card to use NVIDIA's new Kepler GPU architecture, you should definitely head over and read my review and analysis of that before heading into the deep-dive on the GTX 690 here today.
Kepler is a 3.54 billion transistor GPU with 1536 CUDA cores / stream processors contained within and even in a single GPU configuration is able produce some impressive PC gaming performance results. The new SMX-based design has some modest differences from Fermi the most dramatic of which is the removal of the "hot clock" - the factor that ran the shaders and twice the clock speed of the rest of the GPU. Now, the entire chip runs at one speed, higher than 1 GHz on the GTX 680.
Each SMX on Kepler now includes 192 CUDA cores as opposed to the 32 cores found in each SM on Fermi - a change that has increased efficiency and performance per watt quite dramatically.
As I said above, there are lot more details on the changes in our GeForce GTX 680 review.
The GeForce GTX 690 Specifications
Many of the details surrounding the GTX 690 have already been revealed by NVIDIA's CEO Jen-Hsun Huang during a GeForce LAN event in China last week. The card is going to be fast, expensive and is built out of components and materials we haven't seen any graphics card utilize before.
Depsite the high performance level of the card, the GTX 690 isn't much heavier and isn't much longer than the reference GTX 680 card. We'll go over the details surrounding the materials, cooler and output configuration on the next page, but let's take some time just to look and debate the performance specifications.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards | May 2, 2012 - 02:37 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, nvidia, live review, live, kepler, GTX 690, geforce
Yes, we realize it's actually a "flat bar" but that's nearly as cool to say. Either way, wouldn't you like to win one of these?
Tomorrow at 1pm EDT / 10am PDT we are going to be streaming a LIVE talk between myself and Tom Petersen centered around the GeForce GTX 690 dual-Kepler graphics card at http://pcper.com/live. We will talk about performance, power consumption, features, show demos and of course take user questions through our live chat room, twitter accounts and more.
But we also want to get your questions TODAY to help prepare for the event. If you have a burning question about the GTX 690 or the Kepler architecture and its features, leave us a comment below! (No registartion required.) Both NVIDIA's Tom Petersen and I will give you our feedback. The best question will take home an NVIDIA crowbar so you too can be prepared for the coming apocalypse!
Hurry though, we want them in tonight so we can sort and pick our favorites for the live event tomorrow. For all the details on tomorrow's show, make sure you check our post right here!!