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Conclusion

Nvidia’s GF100: Graphics Architecture Previewed, Still No Benchmarks
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Nvidia maintains that we’ll see GF100-based hardware in Q1 of this year—up to two months from now and as many as six months after AMD began shipping its Radeon HD 5870. Typically, that’d be a debilitating deficit to overcome. But if a single GF100 demonstrates the chops in today’s games to do battle against ATI’s flagship (which, by the way, now starts at $650 and spans up to $720), then we can comfortably posit that shipping DirectX 11-capable hardware six months late means little to Nvidia’s future, even if it’s eating up the company’s earnings today.

More concerning, perhaps, is that this three billion transistor chip will likely struggle to find its way into an affordable price segment. At least until Nvidia starts talking about derivatives, GF100-based boards will remain exclusive to the folks able to afford Radeon HD 5800-series cards.

For those who are in the market for high-end graphics, however, it’d seem that good things are on the way. It would have been difficult to walk away from the specifications Nvidia presented and the preliminary numbers it offered without being impressed. Seeing a more-than-doubling of performance in some of today’s games versus GeForce GTX 285 and incredible potential in tomorrow’s (thanks to an architecture optimized for geometric complexity and GPU-based compute capabilities) sets GF100 up to be one of Nvidia’s most game-changing designs.

Of course, we can’t let Nvidia off the hook quite that easily. All of the benchmark numbers we’ve seen come from the company’s own boxes using cards with undisclosed clocks. What we have is little more than a preview of hardware to come. That hardware is expected to be expensive, power-hungry, and hot. We don’t know exactly when it’ll drop, how many models Nvidia will build on the GF100 GPU, or how much they’ll cost.

Meanwhile, AMD is shipping DirectX 11 hardware from $99 to $649 (though you’ll need to spend at least $150 to get playable DirectX 11 performance). It’s offering Eyefinity across the board, which, contrary to the Doubting Thomas’ out there, isn’t a gimmick and is in fact viable for both gaming and productivity. And it maintains its appeal in home theater environments, too.

The Inevitable “We’ll See”

So even as AMD looks to maintain a couple of its most notable advantages over Nvidia’s graphics card lineup, the green team has the bump and a long, floating set for what we’re expecting to be a fairly spectacular spike when GF100-based cards start shipping. More than likely, it’ll compound its own list of advantages, adding a leg up in gaming and compute performance to its PhysX, CUDA, and GeForce 3D Vision support. GF100 is an ambitious effort—we’re sure of that. But it’ll take a card in the lab to demonstrate how Nvidia’s latest effort fares beyond its academic virtues.

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Top Comments
  • 26 Hide
    decembermouse , January 18, 2010 3:34 AM
    I feel like you left some info out, whether you just never read it or didn't mention it for fear of casting doubts on GF100... I've heard (and this isn't proven) that they had to remove some shaders and weren't able to reach their target clocks even with this revision (heard the last one didn't cut the mustard which is why they're hurrying the new one along and why we have to wait till March). Also, be careful about sounding too partisan with Nvidia before we have more concrete info on this.

    And yes, it does matter that AMD got DX11 hardware out the gate first. Somehow, when Nvidia wins at something, whether that's being first with a technology, having the fastest card on the market, or a neato feature like Physx, it's a huge deal, but when AMD has a win, it's 'calm down people, let's not get excited, it's no big deal.' The market and public opinion, and I believe even worth of the company have all been significantly boosted by their DX11 hardware. It is a big deal. And it'll be a big deal when GF100 is faster than the 5970 too, but they are late. I believe it'll be April before we'll realistically be able to buy these without having to F5 Newegg every 10 seconds for a week, and in these months that AMD has been the only DX11 player, well, a lot of people don't want to wait that long for what might be the next best thing... all I'm trying to say is let's try not to spin things so one company sounds better. It makes me sad when I see fanboyism, whether for AMD, Intel, Nvidia, whoever, on such a high-profile review site.
  • 25 Hide
    cangelini , January 18, 2010 3:44 AM
    dingumfOh look, no benchmarks.


    *Specifically* mentioned in the title of the story, just to avoid that comment =)
  • 24 Hide
    randomizer , January 18, 2010 3:05 AM
    GF100 is entering the ranks of Duke Nukem Forever. We keep seeing little glimpses but the real thing might as well not exist.
Other Comments
  • 24 Hide
    randomizer , January 18, 2010 3:05 AM
    GF100 is entering the ranks of Duke Nukem Forever. We keep seeing little glimpses but the real thing might as well not exist.
  • 23 Hide
    duckmanx88 , January 18, 2010 3:29 AM
    dingumfOh look, no benchmarks.


    wth is he supposed to benchmark? nothing has been released it's just an article giving us details on what we can expect within the next two months.
  • 26 Hide
    decembermouse , January 18, 2010 3:34 AM
    I feel like you left some info out, whether you just never read it or didn't mention it for fear of casting doubts on GF100... I've heard (and this isn't proven) that they had to remove some shaders and weren't able to reach their target clocks even with this revision (heard the last one didn't cut the mustard which is why they're hurrying the new one along and why we have to wait till March). Also, be careful about sounding too partisan with Nvidia before we have more concrete info on this.

    And yes, it does matter that AMD got DX11 hardware out the gate first. Somehow, when Nvidia wins at something, whether that's being first with a technology, having the fastest card on the market, or a neato feature like Physx, it's a huge deal, but when AMD has a win, it's 'calm down people, let's not get excited, it's no big deal.' The market and public opinion, and I believe even worth of the company have all been significantly boosted by their DX11 hardware. It is a big deal. And it'll be a big deal when GF100 is faster than the 5970 too, but they are late. I believe it'll be April before we'll realistically be able to buy these without having to F5 Newegg every 10 seconds for a week, and in these months that AMD has been the only DX11 player, well, a lot of people don't want to wait that long for what might be the next best thing... all I'm trying to say is let's try not to spin things so one company sounds better. It makes me sad when I see fanboyism, whether for AMD, Intel, Nvidia, whoever, on such a high-profile review site.
  • 8 Hide
    megamanx00 , January 18, 2010 3:37 AM
    Well, not much new here. I wouldn't really be surprised if the 2x performance increase over the GTX285 was a reality. Still, the question is if this new card will be able to maintain as sizable a performance lead in DX11 games when Developers have been working with ATI hardware. If this GPU is as expensive to produce as rumored will nVidia be able to cope with an AMD price drop to counter them?

    I hope that 5850s on shorter PCBs come out around the time of the GF100 so they can drop to a price where I can afford to buy one ^_^
  • 25 Hide
    cangelini , January 18, 2010 3:44 AM
    dingumfOh look, no benchmarks.


    *Specifically* mentioned in the title of the story, just to avoid that comment =)
  • 20 Hide
    randomizer , January 18, 2010 4:10 AM
    cangelini*Specifically* mentioned in the title of the story, just to avoid that comment =)

    You just can't win :lol: 
  • -5 Hide
    sabot00 , January 18, 2010 4:14 AM
    Finally some solid info on GF100.
  • 5 Hide
    tacoslave , January 18, 2010 4:27 AM
    Even though im a RED fan im excited because its a win win for me either way. If amd wins than im proud of them but if nvidia wins than that means price drops!!! And since they usually charge more than ati for a little performance increase than ill probably get a 5970 for 500 or less (hopefully). Anyone remember the gtx280 launch?
  • 7 Hide
    Reynod , January 18, 2010 5:07 AM
    Chris your review was unusually kind.

    I'd rank it up there with Anand's on the first Phenom iteration - he had ES well before the others and there was mounting pressure to at least publish something ... and the AMD fanbois should consider tha article very fair.

    I had heard Nvidia were booting some silicon and the clocks were low ... and in order to get within the power elvelope it was likely some SP's would have to be shaved ... that's about all anyone can say.

    I imagine NVidia will also be concentrating on ensuring the die is securely attached to the substrate.

    They won't want to cheese off the OEM's like last time:

    http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/1050052/nvidia-chips-underfill
  • 5 Hide
    falchard , January 18, 2010 5:13 AM
    One thing I wonder is if nVidia finally pushes forward with this architecture, does this mean developers will finally start utilizing some of the tech ATI has had in its cards for generations? For instance, will they utilize more efficient poly rendering effectively making ATI cards perform 300% faster in drawing polies and make every consumer nVidia card before the GF100 moot?

    Also will they adopt a naming convention that finally makes sense? Up to 9000, reset, skip double digits and 100, go straight to 200. Now go back to 100. I mean seriously who comes up with these names?
    G80, G92, G200, GF100..
  • 12 Hide
    Kelavarus , January 18, 2010 5:27 AM
    One thing you didn't mention about the Supersonic Sled Tech Demo there is that it took three GF100s in a triple-SLI configuration to do that.
  • 2 Hide
    TheGreatGrapeApe , January 18, 2010 5:28 AM
    Chris, some 'leaked' 'internal' nV slides recently appeared with THG results from the HD5970 review, since I can't ask the question I would like yo about that (there's no way you could answer if true), I'll simply ask, were you aware of this?

    http://news.softpedia.com/newsImage/Alleged-GeForce-GTX-360-and-380-benchmarks-Surface-3.jpg/

    Slight tweaking of the RE:5 results (likely because they didn't point in the right direction for the existing cards) :evil: 

    And Charlie's recent 'Pro-nVidia' article is somewhat telling about the possibility of scaling downward, what's your opinion on it if you can say, other than "Charlie's just being Charlie". ;) 

    http://www.semiaccurate.com/2010/01/17/nvidia-gf100-takes-280w-and-unmanufacturable
  • 1 Hide
    aggrressor , January 18, 2010 5:31 AM
    umm, Guys, If you want benches - They are "kind of" available at guru3d. I have just read their article, and while it's a bit too technical for my taste, they've recorded a Far Cry 2 bench at Nvidia conference on a crappy camera. The end result was 50 FPS on GTX285 vs 84 FPS on GF100 based product. Now I know it's not raw numbers or charts or anything like that, but at least that gives me a rough idea of what GT300 stuff will be like.
  • 7 Hide
    randomizer , January 18, 2010 5:32 AM
    dingumfThis is the end of the NDA. Do you even know what NDA is kid?

    Do you? The end of an NDA does not mean every detail has to be divulged. You can still only provide the details that have been given to you. If NVIDIA don't hand out the review samples, you can't benchmark them. It's not rocket science!
  • 2 Hide
    masterjaw , January 18, 2010 5:33 AM
    How long should we wait before we actually see an article like "Alas! Fermi has arrived (late?)".

    If they claim that it is "significantly faster" then better it would be or else..
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