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News of the day

  • CeBIT: no cuts on the HD 5830
  • CeBIT: Nvidia Ion 2 = GT218
  • CeBIT: GF100s but hidden
  • CeBIT: Matrox - 12 screens
  • CeBIT: USB 3.0 casings from Lian Li
  • CeBIT: fill up on AMD chipsets
  • Uninstall the NVIDIA 196.75 drivers!
  • Archives

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     CeBIT: no cuts on the HD 5830
      Posted on 05/03/2010 at 19:08 by Damien
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    During our meeting with AMD, we of course mentioned the Radeon HD 5830 and gave our rather negative opinion on the product. The manufacturer is defending itself and insists on the fact that the card fills the gap between the Radeon HD 5770 and the Radeon HD 5850 and that a 256 bit memory bus, even if not fully used, does give better performance than a 128-bit memory bus.

    Both these points are correct, but while the card does fall between the Radeon HD 5770 and the Radeon HD 5850, performances are closer to the first and pricing closer to the second. As for the memory bus, while we may agree that an inefficient 256-bit bus (due to a supposed upstream limitation in terms of ROP bandwidth), gives better performance than a 128-bit memory bus, it is also partly responsible for the disproportionate manufacturing costs of this card in terms of performance.

    AMD nevertheless told us that they didn’t have any immediate plans to cut the price of the Radeon HD 5830. The same goes for partners who seem surprised by the modest welcome given to the solution. One told us however that demand for the Radeon HD5800s was in any case so strong that a product didn’t need to stand out to sell successfully as long as it was part of the range.

     CeBIT: Nvidia Ion 2 = GT218
      Posted on 05/03/2010 at 18:51 by Damien
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    NVIDIA officially launched its Ion “2” platform at CeBIT. This evolution, which in fact will be grafted onto the Intel Pinetrail platform with its chipset integrated onto the CPU package, simply consists in the addition of a GT218 GPU (GeForce 210) equipped with either 16 scalar processors or half this number.

    In contrast to the previous solution, this one implies a significant additional cost but may benefit from higher perforamnce (in the 16 “core” version) thanks to its dedicated memory. The Optimus driver will of course be used so as to keep the energy consumption envelope within reason.

    This results in a potential problem in terms of memory bandwidth as Pinetrail only supports 4 PCI Express lanes that allow either 1 4x port of 4 1x ports configuration. What’s more, these are limited by the PCI Express 1.x clock. As a result, for example, if a wifi adaptor is used in the system, the GT218 will have to make do with one PCI Express 1x port at 250 MB/s in each direction. This is just enough to throughput the necessary data for a 720P 60Hz display and makes it hard for us to believe that there is no limitation in this respect, as claimed by NVIDIA.

    However, when using HDMI connectivity, which doesn’t support Pintetrail, the GT218 will run in standard mode and pilot the display directly, thus avoiding the PCI Express limitation. Note however that 3D performances will still be limited by PCI Express bandwidth when it is used in mode 1x. NVIDIA says however that the level of Pinetrail graphics performance is so low that their solution still gives better performance.

    At the end of the day, this solution truly looks like a bit of DIY that’s trying to edge its way onto a platform from which Intel aimed to exclude third party GPUs to prevent it from being used on standard PC territory. Paradoxically, to achive its ends NVIDIA has had to add the sort of complexity that it was congratulating itself on having removed on the first Ion version.

     CeBIT: GF100s but hidden
      Posted on 05/03/2010 at 18:22 by Damien
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    Like Zotac, several manufacturers were demo-ing machines perpared by NVIDIA and equipped with a prototype card based on the GF100. All were running the same demo, with the exception of those on the NVIDIA stand, which were running 4 different demos, identical to those we saw a little after CES when this new GPU was presented.

    We weren’t able to get the clocks and final spec of the cards as NVIDIA has decided to keep this a secret until the very last minute. We can however confirm that the photos of PCBs that are currently circulating on the net do correspond to the PCBs of the forthcoming GeForce 470 and 480. Note that the design of the cooling system on the GeForce GTX 480 will be very different to that of the GeForce 470, which was leaked, to make it more robust and effective: it will need to be to ensure that it cools the GF100 in its high-end version.

    NVIDIA is of course confident in its forthcoming products but slightly nervous as to how the launch will go and doesn’t want to talk about performances in the Uniginge Heaven benchmark for now, instead repeatedly emphasizing performance in areas which have massive recourse to tessellation. Given that this is a benchmarking tool and that we haven’t been able to carry out the tests ourselves, nor analyse in detail what’s going on, we prefer not to draw any conclusions yet, nor to publish such a graph so studiously prepared by the company’s marketing department. Rendez-vous here at the end of March for a complete analysis of the monster!

     CeBIT: Matrox - 12 screens
      Posted on 05/03/2010 at 18:02 by Damien
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    Matrox were at CeBIT and showing a display panel made up of 12 screens so as to demo their multi-screen expertise. The arrival of Eyefinity at AMD has, of course, hit Matrox hard and it looks as if it might be losing this last niche in terms of graphics solutions.

    For the power supply for this display, Matrox was using a full InoNet solution with an M9188 card (8 outs) and an M9148 (4 outs). This solution must have adaptor manufacturers rubbing their hands together as mini-DP to DP models and DP to DVI models were used to connect all these screens. Lets hope native DisplayPort connectivity is rolled out soon!

     CeBIT: USB 3.0 casings from Lian Li
      Posted on 05/03/2010 at 17:23 by Damien
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    Casings manufacturers are starting to introduce USB 3.0, equipping casings with connectors that are compatible with the new standard that is starting to appear on motherboards. This is of limited interest as an additional chip is currently required and only supports 2 USB 3.0 connectors situated directly on the motherboard. We’ll have to wait for models with several controllers (one of which would be designed for external connectors) or a chipset natively supporting the standard for there to be any need for such connectors on a casing.

    Given that Lian Li produces high-end models that users will, in principle, keep for some time, integration across new models now is a welcome move!

    The PC-V352, a development of the PC-V351 that allows for a slightly larger power supply, is available in red, black and grey.

    The PC-Q08, available in red or black, is slightly larger than the PC-Q07, with Lian Li trying to offer a ful compact range as soon as possible.

    The PC-Q06, available in red and black, is halfway between a casing and a test array. You can fix an ATX format motherboard into it. What use is such a model, really?

    The PC-X900, in red and black.

    The Tyr X2000F, a development of the Tyr X2000 that doesn’t insultate the power supply from the rest of the casing any more, and of course supports USB 3.0.

    ATX and micro-ATX format test arrays.

    And lastly, the PC-T1, a micro-ATX casing / test array in an original format to say the least. Lian Li tells us that the final model is likely to be slightly different but that it will be put on sale.

     CeBIT: fill up on AMD chipsets
      Posted on 05/03/2010 at 16:38 by Damien
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    Since the ATI buyout, AMD has decided to take back control of its platform by supplying a full range of chipsets, which has had the effect of removing NVIDIA from this market. The few AMD platform NVIDIA chipset motherboards on show at CeBIT were, as a general rule, part of an old range of products.

    There were many motherboards based on series 8 chipsets at the show. To recap, this new family of chipsets will be be made up of 4 varieties, at least at first. Two of them, the 880G and 890GX have a DirectX 10.1 graphics controller. In fact they use the same northbrige as currently on the 785G, the RS880, but clocked respectively at 560 (Radeon HD 4250) and 700 MHz (Radeon HD 4290) in place of 500 MHz (Radeon HD 4200). Some motherboard manufacturers, such as ECS, have however already clocked the 785G IGP at 700 MHz.

    These chipsets will be accompanied by the 870 and 890FX (RD890) that differ in the number of PCI Express lanes each has. The first will offer a PCI Express port at 1 x 16x or 2 x 8x and the second 2 PCI Express ports at 1 x 16x or 4 x 8x.

    In comparison to the current offer, the innovations are mostly in terms of the southbridge. The SB850 brings SATA 3 6Gbps support, 2 additional PCI Express 2.0 lanes and an integrated network controller, which wasn’t the case previously. AMD has simply connected a USB 3.0 controller to the southbridge, in contrast to what happens on Intel chipsets.

    The RS880.

    The RD890.

    The SB850.

    Some examples of motherboards, you’ll note that they all support the USB via the additional Nec controller:

    Asus Crosshair IV Extreme: AMD 890FX ultra high end.

    Asus M4A87TD EVO: AMD 870.

    Gigabyte GA-890GPA-UD3H: AMD 890GX

    MSI 880GMA-E45: AMD 880G

     Uninstall the NVIDIA 196.75 drivers!
      Posted on 05/03/2010 at 11:24 by Marc
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    NVIDIA has just removed the 196.75 drivers from its site. It seems that on some cards, automatic settings for fan speeds weren’t working properly with these drivers!

    If you’ve already installed them it would be prudent to uninstall them and use the previous WHQL drivers, the 196.21s, or the 196.34 Betas which corrected the fact that you couldn’t set clocks on the 196.21s:

    - Windows 7 Vista (32 bits / 64 bits)
    - Windows XP (32 bits / 64 bits)

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