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Nvidia’s Sneak Peek

CES 2010, Day 1: AMD CPUs, DX11 Goes Mobile, Fermi Spotted

The last event of the day was Digital Experience, another mass media event that brings dozens technology companies into one large room. Mix in free food, alcohol, and a bunch of journalists, and you have instant exposure.

While I saw some interesting gear and software there, I didn’t come across all that much for tech enthusiasts. Cyberlink’s Tom Vaughn showed off a still-in-development version of PowerDVD, which supports stereoscopic 3D Blu-ray playback on both polarized displays and shutter glasses. Intriguingly, the new version makes use of Microsoft’s DirectCompute API instead of proprietary interfaces from Nvidia or ATI, and hence can even make use of the video engine in Intel’s latest integrated graphics built into the Clarkdale and Arrandale CPUs. Vaughn was able to show that two simultaneous Blu-ray streams ran on Clarkdale while consuming 5-8% of the processor's resources.

He cautioned that this really works well only on the GPU built into the new 32nm line; it won’t work on Intel’s GMA 4500 and earlier graphics parts.

Fermi Graphics: Really? Really!

I was just about to leave the event when Ken Brown, Nvidia PR guy (not to mention former executive editor of Computer Gaming World back in the day), tapped me on the shoulder and asked me if I wanted to see a Fermi-based GPU.

Fermi is Nvidia’s massive re-imagining of its architecture with a strong emphasis on GPU computing capabilities. It’s still very much a graphics design, but the gestation period for the first Fermi chips has been a long and painful one. Nick Stam at Nvidia showed off the new GPU running inside an X58-based Core i7 system.

The card overhung an ATX motherboard slightly, but Stam noted that the cooler wasn’t final hardware, and clocks and other specs weren't ready to be announced yet. The system was running the Uniengine DirectX 11 benchmark, and Nick insisted that the results were already better than AMD’s fastest GPU. Nick was also noncommittal about power consumption, but the card looked to be using both 8-pin and 6-pin PCIe power connectors. Since it wasn’t final hardware, though, it’s uncertain as to what will show up when retail cards emerge.

Nick also insisted that GF100 (that’s the code name, not the product name) would be a "Q1 product." So we’ll just have to wait and see. But after all the delays and silence from Nvidia, Fermi-based graphics is starting to look real.

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  • -9 Hide
    alterecho , January 7, 2010 8:07 AM
    i just lost some respect for ati. I really appreciated their 4000 series
    mobility parts since they were truthful unlike nvidia.

    It looks like AMD cpu division - so so engineering, good marketing.
    AMD graphics divisions - superb engineering, really bad marketing at least
    on the mobility front. Hope they don't turn into a nvidia any further.
  • -1 Hide
    WINTERLORD , January 7, 2010 8:07 AM
    alswome hope its out soon
  • -1 Hide
    jenesuispasbavard , January 7, 2010 8:41 AM
    I agree with alterecho, even the Mobility Radeon 4850 has 800 stream processors, and now the Mobility Radeon 5870 has the same? At least it's GDDR5...
  • 0 Hide
    soark , January 7, 2010 9:39 AM
    What is the motherboard used in the Fermi preview? The motherboard orientation is up, is that any good?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 7, 2010 10:31 AM
    The case looks awesome, 6 internal hd's good layout.. whats the model!?
  • 1 Hide
    cobular , January 7, 2010 11:28 AM
    paradoksThe case looks awesome, 6 internal hd's good layout.. whats the model!?

    Pretty sure its the new silverstone raven (think thats the name) case the rotated 90 degrees motherboard is pretty unique.
  • 1 Hide
    Ryun , January 7, 2010 11:49 AM
    zipzoomflyhighIt's good that a company proven to lie, cheat, steal and bribe is going to make the money back it payed as punishment? Really?I know TH are total Intel fanboys, but man, Loyd Case, you take the cake.

    He meant it's good for AMD; you really just took what he said out of context. Regardless of whether he's a fanboy or not the fact is AMD doesn't really have anything new for us on the CPU front. While the X4 Athlon IIs are pretty competitive with the i3s they're certainly in for a rough year. It'll help thing they've got a good thing going with the 5-series radeons, though.
  • -6 Hide
    linaaslt , January 7, 2010 11:51 AM
    As i'v read you'll need to get a new case for Fermi, the case that you can see in picture, and that's sad news for some of us... :/ 
  • 0 Hide
    leon2006 , January 7, 2010 11:59 AM
    I'm waiting for detailed HDTV 3D specs/standards definition. I'm in a market for another HDTV and I'm reconsidering it pending the definition of the new standard. Its pretty clear that we need to purchase new TV set to avail of 3D movies/shows at home.
  • 1 Hide
    brisingamen , January 7, 2010 12:01 PM
    um i gotta say the nvidia fermi display looked nice and weak, judging by the lack of fanfare it makes me think that it could be a 5850 re-cased for all we know running that benchmark haha,
  • 3 Hide
    ewood , January 7, 2010 12:24 PM
    linaasltAs i'v read you'll need to get a new case for Fermi, the case that you can see in picture, and that's sad news for some of us...

    really? I would love to know where you read that.
  • 7 Hide
    frederico , January 7, 2010 12:51 PM

    Fermi - with every major graphics card release.. the 8800 series, the 5800 from ATI, etc, etc.. there have been solid facts that have slipped out, leaked out, etc.. nothing has come out about Fermi, just dodgy pictures it seems, which is an essential marketing tool to keep potential customers 'holding on' obviously, but its just disappointing. The longer it is left, the stronger Fermi has to be.
  • -5 Hide
    KidHorn , January 7, 2010 12:51 PM
    What was the fermi setup running? Was it a movie? a still picture? a game? or?

    AMD has always had issues with their CPU business. They're CPUs deliver more bang for the buck than Intel, but they don't make money for AMD. So what's the point in making them? I never thought AMD would depend on ATI to be profitable. Not that they're actually profitable. I suppose with the money from Intel, they'll show a 4Q2009 profit, but I'm not convinced they'll show any profit in any quarter in 2010.
  • -1 Hide
    zachatfield , January 7, 2010 1:31 PM
    They're so depressed about Fermi (sounds an awful lot like Fergi) they have to drink to forget!
  • 0 Hide
    zachatfield , January 7, 2010 1:32 PM
    zachatfieldThey're so depressed about Fermi (sounds an awful lot like Fergi) they have to drink to forget!

    Looks like lord of the rings to me LOL
  • 7 Hide
    razorblaze42 , January 7, 2010 1:37 PM
    Weak display. The launch of ATI 5000 series on the U.S. Hornet was much more impressive. PR guy says it’s "already better than AMD’s fastest GPU." Really, then where’s the specs already dude? Since the chip is rumored to be 40% larger than ATI 5000, it should be 40% faster right? lol...and use 40% more power, and cost 40% more, hell I heard the damn think can cook bacon. In fact it’s now dubbed the "baconator." True story, I can't credit for coming up with "baconator" though.
  • 5 Hide
    mindless728 , January 7, 2010 1:38 PM
    he insisted that the results are better than the ati cards, if he had the benchmark running, why didn't he show you
  • 0 Hide
    jedluna , January 7, 2010 1:39 PM
    cobularPretty sure its the new silverstone raven (think thats the name) case the rotated 90 degrees motherboard is pretty unique.

    that motherboard is an ASUS RAMPAGE II EXTREME
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , January 7, 2010 1:48 PM
    the pc is from maingear - a silk
  • -2 Hide
    memeroot , January 7, 2010 1:52 PM
    the case is a maingear silk
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