May it truly be the end of our graphics card drought

Subject: General Tech | May 3, 2012 - 12:21 PM |
Tagged: NVIDA, amd, graphics card, TSMC, 28nm, kepler, southern islands, gtx690, gtx680, gtx670, gtx610

Enthusiasts were offered a bit of hope this morning with news from DigiTimes that more capacity at TSMC will be available for AMD and NVIDIA which would mean more dies being made and hopefully a larger supply of GPUs.  Since TSMC seems to have finished playing with their Cortex A9 process, there is a good possibility that the GTX680 and perhaps even the GTX690 will become common enough that the great unwashed actually have a chance to purchase one.  We can also hope that it will give NVIDIA a chance to build up stocks of the GTX670 and 610 which are due out at the end of the month and June, respectively.  Unfortunately, if a certain site is correct that may not be the case as NVIDIA will be redoing their mask and not be able to take advantage of the extra capacity TSMC could make available for them.  Perhaps if this scenario is true AMD will be able to leverage TSMC to flood the market with Southern Island GPUs and hope to win the availability war as the performance crown is firmly on NVIDIA's head in this generation of GPUs.

happydance.png

"AMD and Nvidia, impacted by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company's (TSMC's) fully-booked capacity, had rather weak shipment performance in the first quarter; however, as more capacity will be gradually released by TSMC, shortages of 28nm graphics cards are expected to improve in late May, according to sources from graphics card makers."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: DigiTimes
Author:
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

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. 

16.jpg

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.  

dieshot.jpg

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.

nvidia06.jpg

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.

Continue reading our review of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 dual-Kepler graphics card!!

Questions for GTX 690 Live Review - Win an NVIDIA Crowbar!!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards | May 2, 2012 - 02:37 PM |
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?

crowbar1.jpg

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!

If you want, you can also send me a message on Twitter @RyanShrout or on our PC Perspective Facebook page.  

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!!

 

NVIDIA Crates the GeForce GTX 690

Subject: Graphics Cards | April 30, 2012 - 03:17 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, kepler, GTX 690, geforce

There has been a lot of excitement building about the GeForce GTX 690 dual-GPU graphics card, with the apex during CEO Jen-Hsun Huang's keynote that released all kinds of details this weekend.  We go our review sample of the new graphics beast this morning and needless to say NVIDIA felt the need to give this $999 video card a special ride.

box01.JPG

With the imprint of "Caution: Weapons Grade Gaming Power" on the outside of the crate, NVIDIA obviously wanted to give us a chance to use the pry bar sent last week.  And use it we did.

box04.5.JPG

There isn't much more we can say about the card itself but I can tell you that the fit and finish of the design is just impressive to see in person. 

box15.JPG

I have included quite a few more photos of the unboxing and the card itself if you continue to the full post right here!!

NVIDIA Announces dual-GPU Kepler GeForce GTX 690

Subject: Graphics Cards | April 28, 2012 - 11:55 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, kepler, jen-hsun huang, hd 7990, GTX 690, gtx 680, geforce, 7990

During a keynote presentation at GeForce LAN 2012 being held in Shanghai, NVIDIA's CEO Jen-Hsun Huang unveiled what many of us have been theorizing would be coming soon; the dual-GPU variant of the Kepler architecture, the GeForce GTX 690 graphics card.

Though reviews aren't going to be released yet, Huang unveiled pretty much all of the information we need to figure it out.  With the full specifications listed as well as details about the stunning new design of the card and cooler, the GTX 690 is without a doubt going to be the fastest graphics card on the market when it goes on sale next month.

GeForce_GTX_690_style-299-processed.jpg

The GeForce GTX 690 4GB card is based on a pair of GK104 chips, each sporting 1536 CUDA cores, basically identical to the ones used in the GeForce GTX 680 2GB cards released in March.  The base clock speed of these parts is slightly lower at 915 MHz but the "typical" Boost clock is set as high as 1019 MHz, pushing it pretty close to the performance of the single GPU solutions.  With a total of 3072 processing cores, the GTX 690 will have insane amounts of compute horsepower.

Each GPU will have access to 2GB of independent frame buffer still running at 6 Gbps, for a grand total of 4GB on the card.  

GeForce_GTX_690_3qtr_bare_PCB.jpg

Sitting between the two GPUs will be a PCI Express 3.0 capable bridge chip from PLX supporting full x16 lanes to each GPU and a full x16 back to the host system. 

In terms of power requirements, the GTX 690 will use a pair of 8-pin connectors and will have a TDP of 300 watts - actually not that high consider the TDP of the GTX 680 is 195 watts on its own.  It is obvious that NVIDIA is going to be pulling the very best chips for this card, those that can run at clock speeds over 1 GHz with minimal leakage.  

Continue reading for more details and photos of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 4GB Graphics Card!!

NVIDIA continues to tease, sends us a crowbar

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards | April 23, 2012 - 09:58 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, crowbar, kepler

Remember when NVIDIA updated their Facebook page with "It's Coming..." and a picture that you had little chance of learning its origin?  Well the marketing team is at again, this time sending over a crowbar.  No, seriously.

crowbar1.jpg

"For Use in Case of Zombies Or...<NVIDIA LOGO>".  So either something BIG is coming later that I am going to need to open with said crowbar or maybe NVIDIA is partnering with Valve to announce Half-Life 3.  That second guess is just wishful thinking, sorry.

crowbar2.jpg

If nothing else I guess we'll thank NVIDIA for the additional weapon for the eventual zombie apocalypse until such time as they sit fit to clue me in on the joke.

Happy Monday!

NVIDIA Teases Another Graphics Card

Subject: Graphics Cards | April 18, 2012 - 09:22 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, facebook, kepler

NVIDIA is using its Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/NVIDIAGeForce to tease another upcoming graphics cards with the following image and the subtitle of "It's Coming."

nvidiafacebook.jpg

While there are zero details and the photo is about as ambiguous as it gets, we have several speculations about it.  It could be another Kepler-based graphics card like the GTX 670 or GTX 660 but more likely, we are seeing something higher end that NVIDIA wants us to get excited about.  Is NVIDIA already prepping the dual-GPU variant we are guessing as the GTX 690?

Like I said, it's basically impossible to tell based on the photo, but apparently we'll know "soon".

Source: NVIDIA

Want to stop the GTX 680 leaks? Release the card and they will go away!

Subject: Graphics Cards | March 22, 2012 - 02:15 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, kepler, gtx 680, 28nm

After a fun filled week of speculation, accidental launches and more leaks than a cruise ship, we can finally talk about the GTX 680 and how it performs.  Start out at [H]ard|OCP who put four monitors on a GTX 680 and started benchmarking.  The card is made with TSMC's 28nm process, sports 3.54 billion transistors and both its GPU and 1536 CUDA cores run at the same 1.006GHz and the 2GB of memory is running at 6GHz on a 256-bit bus.  That is enough power to surpass the performance of AMD's HD 7970 and surprisingly it often draws less power than the Radeon making the card more efficient than AMD's offering and ruining NVIDIA's reputation for power hungry, hot running cards.

You can catch not only the print version of Ryan's GTX 680 review but if your timing is good you can catch a recording of the live stream he did earlier today!

The Inquirer is also worth checking out as they offer a dissenting opinon which places the performance of the GTX 680 as lower than an HD 7870, let alone the 7970!

H_680.jpg

"The silicon we have all been waiting for is here. NVIDIA is launching its next generation GeForce GTX 680 video card, poised with the new flagship GPU from NVIDIA. Can it compete with AMD's Radeon HD 7970? We were somewhat amazed at how this NVIDIA GPU does when it comes to gaming, pricing, efficiency, and features."

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP
Author:
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

The Kepler Architecture

Join us today at 12pm EST / 9am CST as PC Perspective hosts a Live Review on the new GeForce GTX 680 graphics card.  We will discuss the new GPU technology, important features like GPU Boost, talk about performance compared to AMD's lineup and we will also have NVIDIA's own Tom Petersen on hand to run some demos and answer questions from viewers.  You can find it all at http://pcper.com/live!!

NVIDIA fans have been eagerly waiting for the new Kepler architecture ever since CEO Jen-Hsun Huang first mentioned it in September 2010. In the interim, we have seen the birth of a complete lineup of AMD graphics cards based on its Southern Islands architecture including the Radeon HD 7970, HD 7950, HD 7800s and HD 7700s.  To the gamer looking for an upgrade it would appear that NVIDIA had fallen behind; but the company is hoping that today's release of the GeForce GTX 680 will put them back in the driver's seat.

This new $499 graphics card will directly compete against the Radeon HD 7970, and it brings quite a few "firsts" to NVIDIA's lineup.  This NVIDIA card is the first desktop 28nm GPU, the first to offer a clock speed over 1 GHz, the first to support triple-panel gaming on a single card, and the first to offer "boost" clocks that vary from game to game.  Interested yet?  Let's get to the good stuff.

The Kepler Architecture

In many ways, the new 28nm Kepler architecture is just an update to the Fermi design that was first introduced in the GF100 chip.  NVIDIA's Jonah Alben summed things up pretty nicely for us in a discussion stating that "there are lots of tiny things changing (in Kepler) rather than a few large things which makes it difficult to tell a story." 

arch01.png

GTX 680 Block Diagram

Continue reading our review of the new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 2GB Graphics Card!!

TSMC's 28nm process is going to be around for the long haul

Subject: General Tech | March 20, 2012 - 01:12 PM |
Tagged: TSMC, nvidia, amd, southern islands, kepler, 28nm, maxwell, llano

TSMC's 28nm process has been in the news for a long time, sometimes this was a good thing but more often it was not.  Back in May of 2009 the first announcements of TSMC's brand new 28nm process hit the news with major production slated to start in early 2010.  That didn't happen on time, much to several companies dismay as Josh unhappily discussed towards the end of 2010.  This set a trend for TSMC's 28nm process for a while, for instance AMD did not quite meet their promise of readily available 28nm GPUs in 2011, though a late December launch for the HD7970 did meet the spirit of the agreement.  The delays and issues on TSMC's 28nm lines had a variety of causes, perhaps one of the worst being TSMC's overly optimistic attitude about their production capabilities especially when AMD had a surprise for them.  Add to that the long line of woes during the development and production of NVIDIA's 28nm Kepler GPU as well as the recent shutdown of the production line, and you can see why TSMC's 28nm process has spent a lot of time being maligned in the news.  It almost makes you forget about the 40nm process woes, but that is ancient news.

All that effort is not going to waste as DigiTimes reports that TSMC is planning on expanding their 28nm capacity this year and expects that process to account for 10% of their 2012 revenue.  The next question on most peoples minds is the progress on TSMC's 22nm process which in 2010 they announced would be ready by Q3 2012, something which NVIDIA's Maxwell team is probably anticipating with great anxiety.

TSMC.jpg

"With current capacity for 28nm processes filled up, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is likely to expand the leading-edge process capacity later in 2012, according to industry sources.

TSMC reportedly is running at full capacity at its 12-inch fabs due to strong orders for 28nm as well as 40nm and 65nm designs. In order to avoid orders to rivals such as United Microelectronics (UMC) and Samsung Electronics, TSMC will have to speed up the pace of its leading-edge capacity expansion in particular its 28nm capacity, the sources said."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: DigiTimes