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

Nvidia’s Sneak Peek

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.

More on CES 2010

  • alterecho
    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.
    alswome hope its out soon
  • jenesuispasbavard
    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...
  • soark
    What is the motherboard used in the Fermi preview? The motherboard orientation is up, is that any good?
  • The case looks awesome, 6 internal hd's good layout.. whats the model!?
  • cobular
    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.
  • Ryun
    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.
  • linaaslt
    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... :/
  • leon2006
    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.
  • brisingamen
    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,