We heard that nVIDIA is preparing something big for next week… in a form of properly timed, events taking place around the globe. Well, there are no confirmations, but there will be usual suspects, a gathering of press, partners, nVIDIA executives… and so on. If tose rumors are true, press would get a weekend of testing, and the products would be launched either on Tuesday, December 16th, or Thursday, December 18th. Personally, I feel that this belongs to “no way” category, but I cannot dismiss the rumor if there is something whispering from the rumor mill.
Everybody we asked remained coy about the timelines. Nobody wanted to confirm anything, but one thing is certain – according to my sources, nVIDIA is not going to wait for CES 2009 to introduce its 55nm parts. Are these rumors true? Well, like any rumor, take it with a fairly large grain of salt. But I am just the messenger here, don’t shoot 🙂
The 55nm die-shrink, GT206 is already shipping in volume in the form of Quadro CX, FX 4800 and FX 5800 boards. Same story applies to Tesla cards – we saw some papers from system integrators mentioning reduced power consumption for C1060.
And with the number of leaked pictures floating around, showing GeForce GTX260 with 896 MB of memory, talks about GTX260 with 1.79GB, GTX280 cards with 2GB of GDDR3 memory… we know at least two partners are seriously contemplating releasing the 1.79 and 2GB cards, so the battle among nVIDIA partners is definitely heating up.
But will we see a surprise (and most certainly paper) launch already this week? Only time can tell. Back in 2005, ATI had a Christmas launch of Radeon X1800XTX CrossFire Edition, aligned with the launch of Pentium 4 Extreme Edition 955. Both turned to be power-hogs and performance duds, replaced by more powerful and elegant X1900XTX, while 955 was replaced with the worst overheating CPU of all times, the 965. The stigma about 965 was so strong that Intel decided to relaunch the number with Core i7 Extreme 965. We spoke with some Intel folk, and they told me that “it was time do do 965 right”.
Will nVIDIA have more luck with Christmas launch of 55nm parts, even if its only for show? Only time will tell. For now, there are some promising facts, like single 6-pin power connector on Quadro CX and FX 4800 (effectively GTX 260).
Is this 55nm line-up?
GTX260-216 1.79 GB
GTX280-240 1.0 GB
And here lies the question. Why the company did not rename the 55nm parts to GTX270 and GTX290 – clocks are different, power is different, only cooling is the same? Well, brace for impact. According to a large nVIDIA’s partner, it seems that the company ran out of time to allow its AIB partners to print new boxes, and the decision was made to simply rename the older parts and still have new stuff to ship. I cannot validate the source, since it looks, well… just incredible – but I have to leave this option open.
All in all, 2008 turned into a big mess as far as Nvidia is concerned. The company delivered world’s first GPU with hardware FP64 dual-precision and sacrificed hefty part of the die (bear in mind that DP unit takes space as three regular ones… and there is one unit per cluster of eight), but the naming confusion is something that this company should not allow.
If the company started anew with GTX 200 series, and had prepared renaming of the old parts as G80 (Geforce 9300, 9400, 9600) and GT130 (9800GT, 9800GTX+) why oh why oh why they didn’t went with GTX 240 (for GTX260-192), GTX 260 (GTX260-216), GTX 270 (55nm part) GTX 280 (GTX 280), GTX 290 (55nm part) and end up with GX2 295 for the dual part? Logic is so easy to find in the car industry, but impossible to find in the IT industry. Both AMD, Intel, ATI and Nvidia did a fine job of crapping on their engineer’s brilliant jobs.
What’s wrong with “AMD Phenom X4 2.5 GHz”, since that’s how most people are going to call their product anyways. Core i7 965? Call it The Overclocking Monster Core i7 3.2 GHz and we’re clear. Radeon 4870? Well, that’s a good continuation from 3870, let’s hope they won’t mess it up.