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There have been rumors flying about NVIDIA's upcoming next-gen Kepler-codenamed GPU for a while now, that it would be delayed until 2012 because of issues with the adaption of the 28nm-based process. But, Chris Malachowsky spoke at their GTC Workshop Japan event, saying that Kepler is still on track for launch this year. Chris was careful with wording, saying only that the parts would begin "shipping" by the end of the year which could mean a paper launch and not an actual card-in-your-hands-giving-you-sexy-times launch.
Kepler is meant to deliver a threefold increase in double precision performance per watt over the previous Fermi, as well as being easier for developers to utilize GPGPU applications. Whatever, NVIDIA, just give me the damn cards now please.
As many of us know, the next big move we're waiting for from NVIDIA since Fermi came about is the release of its next-generation 600 series cards, dubbed Kepler. As the days roll on following a somewhat uneventful past 8 months or so in the VGA market, it's looking pretty certain that Kepler should come about around the start of 2012.
Kepler will be one of the first products to use TSMC's new 28nm process (with them getting a warmup session on some mobile 28nm GPU parts initially). Of course, it's safe to assume there will be a number of additional features on tap from NVIDIA with these next-gen cards, one of which looks to be in the way of better multi-monitor support.
As reported via the source, NVIDIA is apparently taking serious notice of the clear success that is Eyefinity with so many folks jumping aboard and making use of 3-screen gaming bliss since its inception.
ASUS has just dished up a standout graphics card under its DirectCU family with an all-passive cooled HD 6770 powered model.
The first thing that catches your eye with the HD 6770 DirectCU Silent is indeed that chunky passive cooler, which ASUS claims to be 16% more efficient than the reference cooler, while of course being completely silent.
To help with the coolers efficiency, it uses four direct touch copper heatpipes pulling heat away from the GPU. Meanwhile, the card itself boasts a Super Alloy Power design which basically means higher-grade componentry in terms of the capacitors, chokes and MOSFETs, while the rest of the specs shape up with 800 Stream processors, a 128-bit memory interface, 1GB of GDDR5 memory and D-Sub, DVI and HDMI outputs. The out of the box frequencies on the model are not yet known.
In a repeat of what we saw two years ago when AMD launched the HD5000 series and slipped down to the slender 40nm process, it seems as though AMD will beat NVIDIA to the punch again and have 28nm GPUs by the end of the year. AMD let slip that they'll have 28nm GPUs in the following quote:
We also passed several critical milestones in the second quarter as we prepare our next-generation 28-nanometer graphics family. We have working silicon in-house and remain on track to deliver the first members of what we expect will be another industry-leading GPU family to market later this year. We expect to be at the forefront of the GPU industry's transition to 28-nanometer.
The folks behind the PowerColor lineup of graphics cards, Tul Corp, have just released a couple interesting new cards under their VTX3D (Vertex 3D) branding. The two cards are based on the HD 6670 and HD 6570 mid-range models from AMD, but sport a rather unique inclusion that helps them stand out amongst the pack and its not just the aftermarket onboard.
These cards have built-in DVB-T tuners to allow users to watch digital TV on their PC, doing away with the need to use up another slot on the motherboard for a standalone DVB-T card.
Our first tid bit of news on AMD's next generation of GPUs, the HD 7000 series has come out today with word that these will be the first PCI-Express 3.0 compliant graphics cards to hit the scene.
Using the PCI-E 3.0 x16 bus interface, they will of course be backwards compatible with the PCI-E 1.0 and 2.0/1 bus standard. It it not known at this time as to when AMD plans to launch this next generation of discrete graphics cards, so it's hard to speculate as to whether or not there will be any native PCI-E 3.0 support from AMD or Intel at the time, but as we just learned recently, there are some 3rd party vendors already gearing up with PCI-E 3.0 using their own methods.
First spotted at Computex early last month, HIS has now released its new Radeon HD 6970 IceQ "Mix" graphics card which is unlike any other around at this time - reason being it is able to be paired with either AMD or NVIDIA DX11 cards on any current motherboard for superior performance. This comes thanks to LucidLogix technology built into the card (most probably a physical Hydra chip residing on its PCB).
As you can see from the image, the card boasts a nice aftermarket dual-slot cooling solution with copper heat-pipes and a 'black hole impeller' fan) which is said to help drop temperatures by 23c over the reference AMD cooler while also being somewhat quieter. The card supports Eyefinity 5 via its many outputs including dual-DVI, HDMI 1.2 and dual DisplayPort 1.2. The factory clocks on the card see the GPU running at 880MHz out of the box with its 2GB of GDDR5 memory at 5500MHz QDR.
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Charlie from SemiAccurate has written an article on Kepler which is NVIDIA's upcoming 28nm-based flagship GPU. If one were to believe the article, it would look like AMD is going to beat NVIDIA to the holy grail of 28nm-based GPUs. Charlie reckons that AMD taped out Southern Islands in February whilst NVIDIA didn't tape out Kepler until June.
He then estimates that a delay of around seven to eight months between tape out and launch, which should throw AMD's cards into our hands in around two months whilst NVIDIA's cards won't get their green on until February of next year "at the earliest." Another thing to throw into the ring of speculation is Kepler's processing resources. Charlie wrote a separate piece that Southern Islands is more or less a play-it-safe shrink of the Cayman-based design that powers the Radeon HD 6900 series whilst Kepler is a new architecture that has substantially more processing resources than Fermi.
If this is true, we might see a repeat of the entire Radeon HD 5000 series punching the Fermi-based GeForce 400-series in the nuts, Cartman style.
Thanks to the Catalyst 11.7 drivers, some driver entries were spotted for the soon-to-be released Southern Islands generation of AMD GPUs. The codenames behind the Southern Island series are "Lombok", "Thames", "Tahiti" and "New Zealand". At the moment nothing is concrete, but it looks as though "New Zealand" will be the creme of the crop being a dual-GPU based card based off of two "Tahiti" GPUs.
"Thames" is looking to be a low-cost mobile chip, but it could also be a performance chip - there's no guarantee at the moment until more information surfaces. But, the codenames themselves should be enough to get some of that fanboy fighting to surface again.