Audio/Video, Hardware

GT300 Demo card was a Dummy; Does that really matter?

So we hear that the Tesla card shown at GTC by NVIDIA was a dummy; no GPU, no Memory, just a PCB and cooling solution on it. This information was "leaked" from a source inside AMD and sent around the internet until it found a home with someone willing to write about it as a sign that the GT300 is in trouble and that NVIDIA was/is lying about it.

The question I want to know is; is this really news worthy? Ask around and you will find that 99% of products shown to the press and intended for them to handle or even be displayed are simply dummies with either dead components or nothing under the "hood" at all. After all these products are going to be shipped, handled and [more likely than not], killed by accidental ESD [electrostatic discharge].  

Given this, why would any company risk a working chip[set] at a press event?  They wouldn’t.  NVIDIA [as of this morning] responded to the news and stated that yes the card shown off was a dummy but that there was a live card in the system used to demo the Tesla performance and that the performance numbers shown were done on a live and working GT300 card and not a simulated environment. The company failed to disclose the pictures of the real GT300 card, though.

So next you will hear that this means they must not have enough GPUs to go around [due to bad yields of course] but is this true? After all the 5870 [and 5870 X2] cards that AMD passed around for the press to handle were not live and working cards and 90% of the mainboards/Graphics cards shown at CES were not live and working either. Also, whenever you see a vendor claiming a breakthrough in the world of SSDs, bear in mind that those shiny casings or PCIe cards aren’t functional, and yes – don’t feature memory chips at all. Does this mean that those companies were having supply problems too? Does it mean they did not have working versions? No it does not. It simply means that a display demo does not need to be working to be used for its intended purpose.

What this news [and how it got out] really shows is that AMD is very concerned about the GT300 and what it might be able to do. Given the inside look we have on both architectures, we simply don’t understand why AMD is doing so. True, they don’t have some of the features "Furbie" has [we heard that the competitors are using "Furbie" to describe Fermi architecture and the GT300/NV70 chip] When the mud starts being slung over a common practice in trade shows it is pretty strong evidence that all is not as it appears. Having frequented many auto trade shows where concept and future model cars were shown off I can tell you than many of them were only shells. They had no engine, no transmission, and would have only moved if pushed down a hill. It is the same thing here.

So you can listen to the FUD or you can wait and see how things play out in this one. AMD seemed happy to leave things when the world had no information on NVIDIA’s new DX11 solution; now that they have pretty much announced it, AMD is coming out to the press with FUD. To me this is just plain dirty pool and also flies in the face of their public position on a fair and open market to compete in.

Personally I would be highly suspicious of any information "leaked" from a competing company. After all, do you really think they would have something complimentary to say about any product that is not theirs?