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What happened to nVidia?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 18, 2009 3:57:05 AM

nVidia is the most powerful graphics company in the World, have brilliant team of engineers, is 2-3x bigger than AMD, have like >5x bigger R&D budget for the graphic cards. 3 years ago they shocked the world with 8800 series, and after that... pretty much nothing. I respect their CUDA, PhysX is a neat feature too, but obviously they didnt spend all their resources to niche capabilities, so what happened? How come in 3 years, with major head start over ATI in new gen products, MUCH better resources, less ruckus (ATI was bought and had major restructuring) and less subdivisions within the company, all they could do is.. rebranding same cards over and over again, and still lagging in next gen cards?

To put in the context, AMD bought ATI, and as a wedding present got bust Radeon 2900 series. With all AMD talk about Fusion I was afraid AMD simply wont focus enough on new powerful discrete solutions, nor have enough resources to challenge Nvidia. To my surprise they executed very well, first very nice 3800 refresh, which finally brought DX10 to the mainstream (the only Nvidia solution was awful ~8600 series, without ATI, we would still be stuck to it, instead of amazing 8800GTS 512/9600, etc. series for the reasonable price). Then 4000 series made another nice boost for the price/performance cards, nVidia was still behind tech wise, but the performance was there, so are reasonable prices (thanks to ATI, again).

At that time I was thinking nVidia is taking all this time with rebranding and not investing to DX10.1 simply because they are focused on new gen, DX11 cards. I was expecting them to release GT300 first, and they would be better than anything AMD could make (just think about resources, time advantage, etc). Yet it feels all nVidia engineers after 8800 success went to the vacation and never came back ;)  Mess ups happen, but in 3 years (actually more, several engineers teams are working in parallel on 2-3 gens ahead) not to make any real progress? Its very surprising, and unfortunate for us too, ATI probably wont be milking us ~700$ for the high-end, but they wont be inclined to sell for cheaper than they could with a real competition. At least DX11 games wont be as much sabotaged as DX10.1 due to Nvidia, but influx would be even faster if both manufacturers would offer full line-up of DX11 cards.

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a c 271 U Graphics card
a c 171 Î Nvidia
September 18, 2009 4:15:25 AM

Whilst I still feel that the DX10.1 thing should be blamed more on the makers of the broken OS, it's still disconcerting to have heard nothing from the Santa Clara HQ.
a b U Graphics card
September 18, 2009 4:20:18 AM

Because they were the best, because they were the biggest means they were lax, laid back and cocky. I am not saying they weren't working hard but they have had it to easy while ATI had to work their asses off and find new ways to take things.


Also if you think having more cash to throw at something will make it better I would like to point out that most import cars are selling much better and even out performing their more costy US counterparts here. Why? They are cheaper, more MPG, and tend to have more features.

Budgets don't mean you have an amazing card, it means you spend more on it. ATI has been working and Nvidia hasn't, simple as that.
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September 18, 2009 4:54:45 AM

Am I missing something here?? I mean Is the top single GPU card out there right now the 285 or not? Is the top gaming card out there the 295??

I cant' really agree with you on this one. Yes the GT300 series isn't out yet, but as of right now they own the crown. When the 5870 comes out, it should hold the crown, but I wouldn't say that the Gt300 series isn't going to blow the 5870 away. I mean look at the current generation. All this talk about the "rebranding" of cards. What exactly is "rebranding" I mean I don't care what you do, if you get the best performers out there, you're going to sell cards. They can call the cards whatever they want, if they find a way to get them faster.

This is a two horse race, and you're complaining that the horse that's winning isn't winning by enough?? c'mon. In a couple months if the GT300 series can't compete with the 5870x2s, then your post will make sense, but if this is about ATI catching up now to rebranded 8800s, then I guess ATI shouldn't have sucked so bad to begin with. (most improved award anyone?)



September 18, 2009 4:55:11 AM

Why should they work hard? they already have the most powerful cards out there. The GTX 285 and 295 can swallow any ATI card without choking.
As for ATI, they better work harder to be able to catch up!
a b U Graphics card
September 18, 2009 5:47:38 AM

kikireeki said:
Why should they work hard? they already have the most powerful cards out there. The GTX 285 and 295 can swallow any ATI card without choking.
As for ATI, they better work harder to be able to catch up!


I bet it took you all evening to figure out how to string the words together for that unique and informative opinion...

Yes, Nvidia does hold the crown with the fastest card (the 295) the 285 is debatable when compared to a 4890 with up to date drivers but I'll give you that one in a tight race if overclocking is permitted (which almost every enthusiast will do)... it is certainly not "swallowed whole." Despite the performance though.. it is the price ratio that has everyone thrilled with the last gen offerings fromamd.. not the raw power. You'd hear a good bit of debate over the fastest setup as well, with triple 4890's really tight with triple 285's.. for far less.. You'd have to ask blood raven how the new drivers change things.

That being said.. that is neither here nor there.. the point, though I am not sold on nvidia being in so much trouble as everyone seems to say, is that they have been very strangely quiet about their next cards in the wake of such great news from ati.. which has many believing they are going to be very late to the game, regardless of the performance they bring at that time (which no one can even guess on yet).
September 18, 2009 6:18:00 AM

Really when you think about it, no one can be on top forever. If one company stayed on top forever there wouldn't be the competitive pricing or the need for one company to be as innovative as the next. People would just wait for the big one to create something and then make their own spinoffs of that original product.

If you think about it... way back in the day of the FX Series, Nvidia was drug through the mud with the 9 Series from ATI. With the 9800XT, ATI pretty much set the bar for graphics performance. The next few years or so, ATI kinda went on vacation as the X, X1K, and X2K series while great just couldn't quite measure up to the 6, 7, and 8 Series from Nvidia. (Although on paper that X2900XT was a freaking monster.... if only the drivers could've gotten to that true potential...) It is all give and take. There are going to be periods of trade off, it makes for good competition and pricing for us consumers.

To this day, I still think that best all around multimedia/gaming card is ATI. For awhile there, they focused hardcore on video encoding/decoding and even started doing HDMI audio out through the graphics card itself.

Kinda like with the processor community, when AMD launched the Athlon64's... omg people were just creaming over themselves at the performance gains of their 754 socket chip and again with the 939s. And again, AMD kinda went on vacation and just rode the tide out on the A64's. Intel on the otherhand rehashed the P4 with a HT, making it 64-bit. When Intel brought out their Core 2 line, again everyone was creaming over themselves at the sight of it. I think nowadays, Intel and AMD are pretty much even in terms of real-world performance.

It is just how the business world works. Everyone is going to try to out do the other, otherwise there wouldn't be as many businesses around who do what they do.

AMD has always been the more value chip, marketed as the bang for the buck. If you must have the fastest, latest, greatest, grab an Intel. Same with graphics, Nvidia and ATI used to both always have the $500 cards but now the ATI prices are more like AMD CPUs, and Nvidia still does the $500 cards.

It just all depends on what you want and the budget you have to work with.
September 18, 2009 7:17:07 AM

Nvidia probably have a lot more work to do than ATI for this launch due to new architecture?? I think they doing pretty well if they get a card out by the end of this year.
a b U Graphics card
September 18, 2009 8:37:50 AM

kikireeki said:
Why should they work hard? they already have the most powerful cards out there. The GTX 285 and 295 can swallow any ATI card without choking.
As for ATI, they better work harder to be able to catch up!


Why should they work hard? Because if you slack off your an idiot. ATI has been catching up in performance every single card they release, not just in series but each card. And Nvidia has ingored it, even reused cards over simply because they could.

Now, here it is, ATI has a card that can beat anything Nvidia has and they can't even give us numbers on the GTX300 and it is coming out months after the ATi offering. On top of that the GTX300s are rumored to be a heavily modified GTX200s, and move they have done before.

Many of the features DX11 uses are based off of ATI technology as well, meaning Nvidia has to step things up and start devloping on something ATI already knows inside and out and is working with devs to get them understanding.

When the weakest card (5850) is showing numbers that beat your last gen's best card that is nothing to ignroe and slack off about, that is a huge jump in performance, and you can go all fanboy and say Nvidia will do the same but it would simply be fanboy yelling with no numbers or even information on the cards themselves.

The performance jump ATI made is almost unheard of if the early numbers are true and the fact they can do it over eyefinity is simply amazing.


Will Nvidia show up ATI? I can't say without numbers and benchmarks, but Nvidia slacked off, didn't realize it would take so long, and didn't realize ATI had such a strong showing, now they are behind the 8 ball so to speak and need to show big.
a b U Graphics card
September 18, 2009 9:51:22 AM

Trouble is what games push the need for a new graphics card. As of late what PC gamers get are ports of games, wherein there is little incentive for developers to increase the model or texture detail as they already usually look good enough.

ATi may have been releasing new models week after week, but the performance that they bring is nothing truly phenomenal. What is interesting is the price points they introduce, but you could thank Global Foundries for that and not mostly ATi. (What we do have are mostly die shrinks rather than huge architectural changes)

The 5870 is good as it is a new actual hardware revision, rather than a refresh of the previous gen.

But nVidia is hardly sitting down, they are fighting through a lot of different fronts, ION, Tegra and Tesla. When ION and Tegra does take-off and be consumed by the mass market, it could be a big money maker that ATi has little to no part of.
a b U Graphics card
September 18, 2009 11:27:45 AM

Yes, nVidia has branched off, and this branching is whats causing delays and costs, as their focus continues on gpgpus.Since all the "ability" is contained in a nVidia gpu, anyone that buys one will be paying for it, whether you want it or not, and lets just say this, the 285 is a lil faster than the 4890, but looking at die size, its a failure, more than 50% larger, 10% in perf over the 4890, that extra is 2 things, ATI's efficiency per mm and nVidias inclusion of all things gpgpu.
If the pricing between the 2 cards were 10% as seen by the perf difference, then the 285 would be fine, but, nVidia simply has to charge more, as they put in all the gpgpu stuff, and their dies are huge comparatively.
Now, as far as nVidia having to have the lead, its the only way for them to charge this extra monies, as theyre running off the halo factor, but heres the problem.
Last gen the 4xxx series snuck up on nVidia, and the second highest card, the 4850 challenged nVidias older high end card, the 9800gtx. BUT, heres the hill the G300 has to climb.
The 5850 appears to not only challenge the 285, which is already the + addition if you will of nVidias highend, it dominates it, so going from one surpraise gen to the next, ATI has cut further into nVidias small lead.
Now, couple all this with what we know. nVidia is going to make a gpgpu monster, that should also do well in games, but their latest comments seemed to be downplaying its ability, and points more to its gpgpu abilities.
OK, since these dies will be huge, and the cost factor will once again go to ATIs favor, if nVidia doesnt have the halo pricing, its going to hurt them badly, unless people really dont mind paying more for a gpu that does encoding really good as compared to just good.
So, sum it up :This gen, ATI improves more than last gens surprise
nVidia is still trying the gpgpu approach, which doesnt help in pc gaming, so itll be huge, cost more for less overall perf per size, cosr advantage ATI
Lastly, therell be no G300x2, not for a long while, and tho the G300 may outmuscle the 5870, itll lose to the x2, and therell be no crown this go round for nVidia
September 18, 2009 11:56:36 AM

daedalus685 said:
I bet it took you all evening to figure out how to string the words together for that unique and informative opinion...

Yes, Nvidia does hold the crown with the fastest card (the 295) the 285 is debatable when compared to a 4890 with up to date drivers but I'll give you that one in a tight race if overclocking is permitted (which almost every enthusiast will do)... it is certainly not "swallowed whole." Despite the performance though.. it is the price ratio that has everyone thrilled with the last gen offerings fromamd.. not the raw power. You'd hear a good bit of debate over the fastest setup as well, with triple 4890's really tight with triple 285's.. for far less.. You'd have to ask blood raven how the new drivers change things.


Well, your bet is right because I am still loyal to AMD/ATI so it was hard to me to say what I have said, but the facts speak for themselves and I can not simply ignore them, and I really want to see a debate where the price factor doesn't play a major role in it. And while the price was ATI's winning ace lately, I wonder if it reflects their future vision or it is just an emergency plan, because as far as I can recall, neither of ATI or AMD was cheap when they were the kings of performance!

daedalus685 said:
I am not sold on nvidia being in so much trouble as everyone seems to say, is that they have been very strangely quiet about their next cards in the wake of such great news from ati.. which has many believing they are going to be very late to the game, regardless of the performance they bring at that time (which no one can even guess on yet).



If ATI should learn something from the past few years, it is that how to work in silence instead of being cocky about their performance figures. And I do not think that Nvidia quietness is strange I think it is a well-played strategy.
September 18, 2009 12:51:54 PM

I wonder if we're all right at all, or if there are some engineers from NVIDIA laughing right now at these posts. When the NVIDIA CEO states that he believes graphics cards are going to improve by 570ish times over the next 5 years, I would have to assume that they aren't sitting aroudn playing solitare all day at nvidia.
September 18, 2009 2:29:21 PM

microterf said:
I wonder if we're all right at all, or if there are some engineers from NVIDIA laughing right now at these posts. When the NVIDIA CEO states that he believes graphics cards are going to improve by 570ish times over the next 5 years, I would have to assume that they aren't sitting aroudn playing solitare all day at nvidia.


At first I thought its possible Nvidia is silently preparing Gt300 and simply feeding disinformation to Charlie, Kyle and others, so everyone would think Nvidia is in trouble, while they are not. But think about the facts we DO know:

1. Nvidia spoils ATI party, always, as long as Radeons are threat to their cards. They didnt this time.

2. There wasnt shown a single working prototype, to anyone, even behind doors. You wont sell cards to OEMs this way.

3. Few days ago in conference Nvidia said along the lines - performance doesnt matter, DX11 as well. Would any sane person would claim such things if they are about to release DX11 cards which blow opponents away? Of course you dont, common sense.

Considering all this, I doubt "engineers from NVIDIA laughing right now at these posts", I guess some of them will be fired, and the rest will have a lean Christmas. If you have any information to counteract facts above, please do share with us.
September 18, 2009 3:27:30 PM

kikireeki said:
Why should they work hard? they already have the most powerful cards out there. The GTX 285 and 295 can swallow any ATI card without choking.
As for ATI, they better work harder to be able to catch up!



i lawled, check please.
September 18, 2009 3:53:18 PM

Harrison, I agree with you. All the information points to what we believe that they are in serious trouble putting out a DX11 card that will compete against ATI.

I'm not going NVIDIA anytime soon. Plan on ditching my 4870 trifire for 5870quadfire in Dec, but I do think that it is POSSIBLE that they are working on something that will crush the 5870. I mean they could be taking the Steve Jobs approach on this.

Why would anyone want to watch movies on and mp3 player (then releasing the ipod video).
Performance and DX11 isn't where it's going to be, (by the way, here's the GT395, that will give you 100fps in crysis)

doubtful, but I'm not counting this as an ATI victory yet. As much as I'd love to see this gen go completly to them
a b U Graphics card
September 18, 2009 7:15:59 PM

JAYDEEJOHN said:
Yes, nVidia has branched off, and this branching is whats causing delays and costs, as their focus continues on gpgpus.Since all the "ability" is contained in a nVidia gpu, anyone that buys one will be paying for it, whether you want it or not, and lets just say this, the 285 is a lil faster than the 4890, but looking at die size, its a failure, more than 50% larger, 10% in perf over the 4890, that extra is 2 things, ATI's efficiency per mm and nVidias inclusion of all things gpgpu. ......


Well the good thing is that ATi wants to crush the 285 and we all get a faster card. Though there is one advantage for nvidia to be late, they could just come out with something bigger than their rival, and if that happens we get another pricing war (wherein the consumers win).

nVidia outsources their chip production so I guess they could (if they aren't lazy) find a manufacturer that produces 45nm and just immediately use that. Though up to this point they have been lazy with the die shrinks, dunno why they don't want to do it when it reduces cost (or is there something we all don't know).


But the question is, what games could even make the 58xx sweat @ 1920x1080 ultra settings. Lately there hasn't been any title that really makes you want to upgrade.
a b U Graphics card
September 18, 2009 8:34:09 PM

I think of it in terms of this, from the ATI gen 3xxx series to the ATI gen 4xxx series, there was a HUGE jump, and from my understanding, an even larger jump from 4xxx to 5xxx, i imagine that there will be yet another gigantic jump on the next gen cards from ATI...

That being said, Nvidia had the 8xxx cards a while back and coasted for a while, but now it's getting close, ATI has already knocked at their door and momentarily took the crown, then lost it, then quickly re-gained it only to lose it again... now ATI is knocking at Nvidia's door with 5xxx and they will most certainly take the crown again, even if it's for a short while...

The overall pattern i see is that Nvidia got lazy in their 8xxx woes and ATI was encouraged by this... If the 5xxx series does not take the crown this time around, the next ATI gen will most certainly do it, it's not like Nvidia will be far behind, but ATI has more focus at the moment and will for a few years to come.

Two good things out of this... Consumers are not compelled and have options. You own stock in AMD and the stocks rise :)  (raises hand)
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