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A week's worth of thoughts on NVIDIA
We spent last week at the NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference learning about more than just the new GPU architecture NVIDIA was showcasing. In this editorial we take a look at where NVIDIA stands today, what you can expect from them in the near future and how the company plans to hold on to gamers' hearts while striving to build a new market in the GPU computing world.
GT300? Yes please
NVIDIA is revealing details today about its upcoming GPU architecture, codenamed Fermi. This new design offers a lot of great new advancements for GPU computing as well as gaming, though details on performance are still pretty slim. The GPU will implement 512 CUDA cores on a 3.0 billion transistor die. That got your interest up?
Evergreen makes its second appearance
Last week we saw the introduction of AMD's new Evergreen architecture with the release of the Radeon HD 5870 graphics card and we follow that up today with the lower cost variant, the Radeon HD 5850. This card still has 1GB of memory and requires a pair of 6-pin power connectors, but for the money, it looks like the card to beat.
A new GPU for a new DirectX
AMD is making a splash again with another new GPU that aims to take NVIDIA head on and force a shift in the graphics card market. The Radeon HD 5870, previously known as the Evergreen architecture, offers up twice as many shader processors as the HD 4800-series of cards at higher clock speeds. And the new AMD Eyefinity technology is something you have to see to understand!
Lucid makes quite a showing
Last year we met a darling new company by the name of LucidLogix, or just Lucid, that promised to deliver "near linear scaling" on multi-GPU performance without the requirements of SLI or CrossFire. We have finally seen the technology in action on a production level motherboard coming from MSI and even see an AMD and NVIDIA graphics card share the workload!
A GTX By Any Other Name...
Before AMD unleashes their latest foray into the graphics market, we have the chance to look at the current fastest, single GPU video card around. MSI has differentiated their product with a unique (and surprisingly effecting) cooler which adds to the value of their offering. While we can't prognosticate about how well it will fare against upcoming products, we can see how well it performs against what is available today.
Introduction and Features
The massive influx of mid-range GPUs has made for a feeding frenzy by consumers looking for budget graphics solutions. Mid-range offerings from NVIDIA and ATI have completely saturated the market with sub-$100 graphics cards that can almost play Crysis Warhead at decent resolutions. Some video cards priced just over the $100 mark can easily play Crysis and other GPU-intensive games like Far Cry 2 and World in Conflict at higher resolutions too.
Introduction, GPGPU history, ATI Stream and CUDA overviews
Since our initial review of five of NVidia's CUDA-enabled applications back in June, we've been chomping at the bit to get our first real look at ATI's entry into the GPU computing ring called ATI Stream. Both of these platforms use parallel computing architectures to utilize their GPU's stream processors, in tandem with the CPU, to significantly increase any system's video transcoding speeds. Today, we are going to discuss both of these technologies as well as benchmark a couple video transcoding applications from Cyberlink that actually support both CUDA and ATI Stream.
CausticGL Ray Tracing API
Caustic let us peruse a new technical brief it was working on that describes in much more detail the software side of its CausticRT ray tracing platform. Based on OpenGL ES 2.0, CausticGL aims to do for ray tracing what OpenGL did for rasterization and the company even hopes to gain Khronos Group standardization for its custom API.
General purpose graphics processing units (GPGPUs) have had a huge impact in everything from professional and home applications to video processing and even physics simulations. No GPU parallel computing architecture has been more in the spotlight than NVIDIA’s CUDA either. CUDA technology is being used in many different types of applications including video and audio encoding, oil and gas exploration, product design, medical imaging, and scientific research.
A unique GTX 275 offering
The GeForce GTX 275 started as a fill-in GPU to combat the Radeon HD 4890 when it was released earlier this year. As enthusiasts started adopting it, it found a great spot in terms of performance and price between the GTX 285 and GTX 260+. Galaxy has an overclocked model with a custom cooler available that does cost a bit extra, but allows you get even more out of the graphics chip.
The ASUS GeForce GTS 250 Dark Knight
We have said over and over again that the mid-range GPU market is a mess - a great mess of fantastic performance and value. Today we are taking a look at a pair of new graphics cards from ASUS and Sapphire that fit snuggly into the sub-$150 field. The ASUS GeForce GTS 250 Dark Knight edition and Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 Vapor go up against the HD 4770 to see who comes out on top.
AMD is on a tear now
Today at Computex, AMD has unveiled its first DirectX 11 compliant part, but the announcement is more about the overall features that DX11 introduces rather than the specific part that AMD has already fabricated in conjunction with TSMC on their fledgling 40nm process. Read on for the full scoop.
A unique 9600 GT
Low power and low profile might not seem like very important features for a GPU most of the time, but you would be surprised how many new PCs on the market today can't fit a standard expansion card. Galaxy is hoping to pin that market by offering a decently-powerful 9600 GT GPU without a PCIe power connection and with a half-height PCB design.
AMD RV740 is all its cracked up to be
The new AMD Radeon HD 4770 is the world's first 40nm GPU and brings even more performance to a world of sub-$100 graphics cards. Does AMD's technology advantage make the 9800 GT and GTS 250 looks like schmucks?
Who is Caustic Graphics?
Caustic Graphics is formally announcing availability of the CausticOne ray tracing accelerator card today and we are finally allowed to unveiling the technology we learned about at GDC last month. If you think the ray tracing and rasterization debate was interesting before, wait until you see what this new player has to say.
Introducing the Radeon HD 4890 1GB
AMD and NVIDIA again have new graphics cards for us to throw into the GPU testing beast on our bench and see what comes of it. The new RV790-based HD 4890 card takes on the cut-in-half GTX 295 known as the GeForce GTX 275 in a battle for your hard earned $250.
Details from GDC 2009
Intel was promoting Larrabee quite heavily at GDC in San Francisco this week even though there is still no hardware to be found. For the GDC audience, Intel decided to share a Larrabee instruction emulation layer so that developers can now start to see how the new x86-based GPU design can be efficiently utilized.
A preview of Windows 7 gaming
The Windows 7 beta has been a huge success with pundits and users all over the tech world singing its praises. But what about gaming? Does moving to Windows 7 beta mean a drop in PC gaming performance like it did with Vista or do Microsoft and the driver teams at AMD and NVIDIA have it all ironed out?
A Bit of History
Initial rumors had the RV790 pegged as a speed optimized RV770, which currently powers the Radeon HD 4800 series of cards. Recent information has hinted that there is far more than a simple speed increase, and AMD could be catching us unawares with a potentially exciting new part. I take a look at AMD's releases over the past two years and make a few guesses as to what we might expect to see.