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NVIDIA pulled out their rebranding stamp today and stamped two new GPUs to put on the OEM-only table. The two "new" GPUs in question were the GeForce GT 520 which are now known as the GeForce GT 620. Yeah.
This new part is identical to its predecessor, except that the memory has been halved from 2GB to 1GB, or 1GB to 512MB. But, sit down because this is going to blow you away, NVIDIA added that the GT 620 now supports the OpenGL 4.2 API, something its predecessor doesn't have. Wowee.
The GT 620 is still based on the 40nm GF119 silicon, sporting 48 CUDA cores, 8 TMUs, and 4 ROPs. The other GPU is the "new" GeForce 605, which is a re-branded GeForce 510. Again, based on the GF119 silicon, the GeForce 605 core runs at 523MHz, with 1046MHz CUDA cores. This model comes in memory sizes of either 512MB or 1GB.
The wonderful GPU that is Kepler keeps on giving to Nvidia. This chip really was make or break for the company and they came through will an incredible graphics card that has really put the squeeze on Team Red. AMD has not been forced to drop prices as of yet due to the fact that Nvidia hasn't been able to pressure the lower market yet.
But that's all about to change. Nvidia is preparing to recycle the chips that couldn't make it as GTX 680s by turning them into the GTX 670 and 670 Ti. The GK104 that will be in the 670s will have one fewer SMX, bringing the total CUDA cores down to 1344. This should put it in the range of the 7950 and the former 580. The specs are as follows:
- 1344 Cores
- 4 Graphics Processing Clusters (GPC)
- 7 SMX Clusters (192 units per Cluster)
- 112 Texture Units (TU)
- 32 Raster Units (ROP)
- 256-bit Memory Controller
- 2 GB GDDR5 Memory
- ~900 MHz GPU Clock
- ~1 GHz QDR Memory Clock (5 effective GHz)
- ~160 GB/s video memory bandwidth
The new cards undercut the Radeon HD 7950 by $50-100, placing the product around $349-399. You should expect the announcement around Computex Taipei in May 2012.
SAPPHIRE is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to their Toxic-branded video cards, and it looks as though the SAPPHIRE HD 7970 Toxic is going to be no different, and maybe even step it up a bit when it comes to smashing the ball out of the park. The card comes with a resolution-busting 6GB of memory in 24 GDDR5 memory chips, 12 on each side.
In order to power the factory-overclocked "Tahiti" GPU from AMD, and 24 GDDR5 7 GT/s memory that takes some seriously strong VRM. Sapphire decided to implement an 8+3 phase power supply, which uses solid-state chokes, that don't whine under stress, as well as International Rectifier DirectFETs. The FRM draws power from two 8-pin PCIe connectors. Sapphire went a step further by implementing LEDs for each of the 8 vGPU phases, which gives a real-time indication of their individual loading. These LEDs can be seen through a window on top of the card, as pictured below.
The cooler is built from a large aluminum fin heatsink which draws heat from teh GPU and memory chips on the obverse side of the PCB. The FETs on the obverse side are cooled by additional heatsinks. From here, we have the memory chips on the reverse side of the PCB cooled by a metal back-plate. The heatsink makes use of four 8mm-thick nickel-plated copper heat pipes, as well as a vapor-chamber plate. This is ventilated by two 80mm fans.
With the release of the kick-ass GTX 680 at a competitive price point, many thought, including me, that the HD 7970 would undergo a price cut to be more competitive. Let's be realistic: the GTX 680 beats the HD 7970 in almost every single benchmark, including being more efficient, at a lower price point. It's pretty hard to justify charging $50 more for a worse card.
Or is it? Again, let's be realistic. The GTX 680 can hardly be purchased anywhere and when it is in stock, it's bought out in a matter of hours. This was something the HD 7970 had trouble with as well up until a few weeks before the 680 launch. Then it suddenly got plenty of stock. So while the 680 can hardly be purchased anywhere, the HD 7970 has the luxury of being widely available.
So, there's a few conclusions that can be drawn from this. First, AMD thought Nvidia would continue their practice of pricing higher performing cards at a premium. Second, it could be that AMD can't afford to drop the price on the 7970. The silicon is a pretty complex chip, and as such is expensive.
Additionally, the current pricing scheme places each series $100 apart. A $50 drop in the 7970 pricing would require a similar drop across the board. As of yet, Nvidia doesn't have any competing chips at the lower mainstream price level where the majority of sales are. So AMD can either sacrifice the HD 7970 or they can sacrifice the rest of the line up to save the HD 7970.
Time for another rumor, so go ahead, get the salt out and throw some over your shoulder, and for good measure, find some wood and knock on it. Now that we're done with that, let's move onto the goods. We have what we believe to be the specifications for the Kepler based GK106. This chip should end up being a direct competitor to the HD 7950, HD 7870, GTX 560 Ti, GTX 560 Ti 448 and GTX 560.
The specifications are said to be as follows:
- 28nm TSMC lithography based on Kepler
- 210mm2 die size
- Two GPC
- Four SMX
- 768 CUDA cores
- 64 texture units
- 24 ROPs
- 1.5/2GB RAM
- 192-bit memory interface
- No frequencies have been specified
The card is expected to land in Q3 of 2012 which is still a fair distance off but could be just in time for the summer upgrade season. If it performs anywhere like the GTX 680, we should have another good card on our hands. It will be interesting to see if they price it at a competitive price like they did with the GTX 680.
According to 'Gibbo' on the Overclockers.co.uk forums, we should expect the new NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 670Ti and GEFORCE GTX 670 to launch late-April, or early-May. These two GPUs will be placed into price segments aimed at AMD's Radeon range of GPUs.
The GTX 670Ti will replace NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 580, and take on the HD 7950 3GB. The GTX 670 on the other hand, replaces the GTX 570 and should be slightly faster, too. The GTX 560Ti and 560 are not expected to be replaced with 600-series GPUs until much later into 2012.
The low-end 520/550 cards will reportedly be rebranded into the 600-series, where we should expect the usual same card, re-boxed as 600-series GPUs. Gibbo also mentions the dual-GPU NVIDIA beast, which we should expect to arrive as the GEFORCE GTX 690, and "can be released when NVIDIA desire to do so". The roadmap that Gibbo is coming from says that the GTX 680 is the fastest single-GPU card, but a faster single-GPU card is expected later this year.
It looks like we're not quite done with news about the Nvidia GeForce GTX 680. As our review showed, the card is pretty amazing and is still efficient while being amazing. Pictures have surfaced of a Galaxy-brand GTX 680 which is cooled by a single-slot cooler. This is made possible by the amazing efficiency of the new Kepler architecture.
195w TDP is pretty high to be handled by a single-slot cooler, so frequencies should be expected to be reference or below. This device certainly will be nice for smaller, mid-tower PCs or for a cramped PC in which you want to run SLI. No release date or specifications have been released. For all we know, this could be a prototype that never sees the market.
Earlier on today we met up with the folks from Palit and Gainward at their Taipei headquarters to discuss all things NVIDIA and GeForce since they now (finally) have a new GPU model to pimp and sell, that of course being the GeForce GTX 680.
During our meeting someone (we never actually got introduced) walked into our meeting and dropped off a second video card, besides the first Palit one we were looking about - but that Palit model needs to stay quiet a little longer yet, we may have already said too much.
Anyway, back on topic - what the man dropped off was a Gainward GTX 680 Phantom video card. On first inspection I asked if it was passively cooled, quickly realizing that would be near on impossible due to the fact that the GTX 680 is a high-end GPU part and generates a lot of heat. On closer inspection we saw that the Phantom actually includes two cooling fans built inside or at least just below the massive radiator / heatpipe design which covers the full top surface of the video card...
Kepler truly was a make-or-break launch for NVIDIA. With their competiton, AMD, squeezing out a full top to bottom line up before NVIDIA could even manage one launch, they had to have something wonderful and able to compete with AMD's offerings. Enter Kepler. This card has been roughly four years in the making. Rumors have been flying rampant regarding its projected performance.
Finally, launch day arrived (today). We were the first to publish a comprehensive review of the new card, and what a card it is. It's faster and more efficient than AMD's top card, the 7970, and it even overclocks better, at least with extreme cooling solutions. The launch was a little bit messy, what, with us not getting a card and stuff, but overall, NVIDIA had a successful launch of the GTX 680. So much of a great launch, that the CEO sent out an email company wide. You can see the email below the line.
Welcome to the future of graphics processing technology. Today, NVIDIA released the next-generation Kepler series with their current flagship card, the GTX 680. Following along with this release, NVIDIA has introduced their new mobile offerings in the form of the GeForce 600M series. It consists of several rebrands along with a bunch of new Kepler goodness.
The top two offerings, the 675M and the 670M, are basically rebrands of the 580M and 570M. It's likely that NVIDIA will release a Kepler based 680M sometime in the future, but currently, the top Kepler based card is the 660M. The 640M has some confusing aspects surrounding it. It is offered in both a 40nm and 28nm variant with differing core counts under the same name. I'm not 100% sure on how these will be told apart in market.
Most of these chips will not see the light of day until manufacturers start shipping notebooks based upon Intel's upcoming Ivy Bridge, but NVIDIA notes that some of the offerings are already available in Sandy Bridge based notebooks. The list of notebook manufacturers using Nvidia graphics include Acer, Alienware, Asus, Dell, Gigabyte, HP, Lenovo, MSI, Samsung, Toshiba, and Vizio.