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News of the day

  • 29% of Vista crashes due to Nvidia?
  • Radeon HD 3830 and 3850 X2 for Q2
  • Isaiah in May-June, the dual core later
  • 9800 GX2 Quad SLI: first impressions
  • Phenom X4 9100e : 65W
  • AMD announces its Phenom X4 « B3 »
  • AMD launches the Phenom X3
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     29% of Vista crashes due to Nvidia?
      Posted on 27/03/2008 at 21:57 by Nicolas - source: Ars Technica
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    Following a class action suit filed against Microsoft, a court has made public some of the Seattle firm’s documents. Amongst those are the statistics on the causes of crashes in Windows Vista.

    These figures are consistent with others unveiled previously. While our first impression could be that it’s not that great for Nvidia, we should also keep in mind that the more its cards are used, the more it is likely to have a bigger share of this unwanted pie chart. Given that the creator of the GeForce has a significant market share, it’s only logical to be over-represented.

    We could also be surprised by Intel’s 8.8% which may seem low considering the number of IGPs it delivers per quarter; however, they are almost exclusively used on the desktop where applications seldom use 3D acceleration. Therefore there is less of a chance to see a PC crash in Word than the latest FPS. In short, nothing too catastrophic overall even if we would like to see Nvidia display more coherence in the development and pace of its Forceware and other GeForce Releases.

     Radeon HD 3830 and 3850 X2 for Q2
      Posted on 27/03/2008 at 21:09 by Nicolas
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    According to information obtained by Digitimes, RV670 yields have recently been improved, enabling a significant reduction in production costs. ATI’s flagship GPU is engraved in 55nm by TSMC and the small size combined with better yields should make AMD’s graphic division more aggressive on prices.

    In addition to Radeon HD 3690, 3850, 3870 and 3870 X2s, a 3830 will be expected out for the $99$-$149 segment in April or May. Also, a 3850 X2 priced between $299 and $379 (depending on if it is equipped with 2 x 256 MB or 2 x 512 MB 900 MHz) will arrive in May to rival the GeForce 8800 GTS.

    While more competition is generally a good thing for buyers, some will be disappointed that we only find the RV670 and G92 in the high end, two GPUs limited by their 256 bit memory bus.

     Isaiah in May-June, the dual core later
      Posted on 27/03/2008 at 17:56 by Nicolas - source: News.com
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    Glenn Henry, CEO of Centaur Technology, a subsidiary of VIA which designs CPUs, has announced that Isaiah processors will only arrive in May or June.

    Direct competitor to Intel’s Atom, it should offer a particularly interesting performance/price ratio. While the creator of x86 is selling the N230 for $29, on the other hand, VIA already announces some "design wins". Moreover, Henry confirmed that a dual core version of the Isaiah is planned but specified little else.

    Finally, if recent rumors concerning the buyout of VIA by Nvidia have not (yet) proved to be true, VR-Zone now mentions the potential release of an mGPU, a modified MCP79, for VIA C7 and Isaiah CPUs.

     9800 GX2 Quad SLI: first impressions
      Posted on 27/03/2008 at 09:40 by Damien
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    Yesterday, Nvidia finally and officially unveiled its Quad SLI "v2" technology which is based on the use of two GeForce 9800 GX2. Of course, we tested the performances of this Quad SLI and until our publication of a large review devoted to multi-GPUs, we decided to share our first impressions on Quad SLI.


    While in some games there are relatively nice performance gains, in others this isn’t the case. It also depends on the graphic options. For example, Crysis in 1920x1200 has a very appreciable gain, but in 2560x1600 performances remain rock bottom due to a lack of memory because in practice the GeForce 9800 GX2 are limited to 512 MB (or less) even if they are sold as 1 GB cards. We find a similar situation, for example, in Colin McRae DIRT.

    In games that use the Unreal Engine 3.0, once anti-aliasing is activated, either performances remain the same (Bioshock) or they are reduced (Rainbow Six Vegas). In World in Conflict, results decrease in DirectX 9 mode and the Nvidia driver crashes when loading the level in DirectX 10 as it does in Company of Heroes and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Nvidia has told us that they are aware of these problems that only occur in certain situations and are preparing a driver that will correct them.

    The only thing is that besides Crysis, there aren’t many games that can benefit from Quad SLI because these games are already very fluid in 1920x1200 with a single 9800 GX2. Also, if we make the move into 2560x1600 and/or activate anti-aliasing 4x, the lack of memory crushes performances.

    Practical details

    Drivers still have not been improved in terms of multi-screen mode, and with multi-GPUs you can only use a single monitor while AMD has removed this hurdle. Another limitation is that when Quad SLI poses problems in games when SLI functions well (and therefore a single 9800 GX2), you will have to physically remove a card from the system to go into SLI. This is because deactivating Quad SLI also deactivates the entire multi-GPU mode and means we cannot benefit from the total power of a single 9800 GX2. It’s all or nothing.

    Finally, we encountered several practical problems with the SLI connector. First of all, a flexible SLI connector which barely covers the distance between the 2 cards and which therefore lies on top, partially melted and was damaged in hours of testing. The reason? The SLI connector lies on the vent which evacuates hot air. We then exchanged it with a hard SLI connector and a new problem arose; contact was not good and caused a blinking of the screen. The casings of the 9800 GX2s are a bit higher than the PCB and for this reason some of the relatively flat connectors (such as the reference models on nForce 680i and 780i motherboards) do not plug in correctly. The solution was to use a flexible and long connector so that it could make a loop on the top of the cards and not be in direct contact with the hot part of the casing.

    The ‘’hard’’ SLI connector is flatter than the soft one and cannot be entirely plugged into the 9800 GX2 due to its casing

    While waiting for the complete test and drivers which we hope will remedy some of the problems encountered, we cannot recommend this solution. In its current state, the card is only of interest in a handful of cases and isn’t entirely finished.

     Phenom X4 9100e : 65W
      Posted on 27/03/2008 at 09:18 by Marc
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    Obviously, AMD is in the mood for making announcements and to finish with there is the Phenom X4 9100e. Based on the B2 revision and set at only 1.8 GHz, this processor sets itself apart with its TDP of 65W and according to AMD, it is a first for the desktop PC market. Surely this is true but it is nothing exceptional because Intel has a quad core version of its architecture set at 2.5 GHz with a TDP of 50W for servers. The price of the Phenom X4 9100e was not given.

     AMD announces its Phenom X4 « B3 »
      Posted on 27/03/2008 at 09:13 by Marc
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    As you probably know, the B2 revision of the Phenom suffers from a TLB bug which can be remedied although performances are noticeably affected. The B3 revision of this processor, which corrects this problem has just been officially launched by AMD in the form of 4 new models: the 9850 Black Edition, 9750, 9650 and 9550, respectively set at 2.5, 2.4, 2.3 and 2.2 GHz.

    Note that AMD used the occasion to make a 200 MHz jump in frequency compared to the B2 revision which was limited to 2.3 GHz; however, this means that TDP increases to 125W for the 9750 and 9850. AMD estimates the 9550, 9750 and 9850 will be found for $199, $240 and $260 in the US where we can currently find a Q6600 for around $250.

    So here is something that could re-launch AMD on the CPU market even if we have to admit that at 2.5 GHz the Phenom 9850 should barely be at the performance level of the Q6600. Now we will just have to wait and see for their availability.

     AMD launches the Phenom X3
      Posted on 27/03/2008 at 09:01 by Marc
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    AMD has just announced availability for its Phenom X3 8000 series, which as the name suggests, are tri-cores. Released in 8400 and 8600 versions, they are respectively set at 2.1 and 2.3 GHz. For the moment, these are models based on B2 stepping and their price remains unknown.

    B3 versions set at the same frequencies will be named the 8450 and 8650 while AMD specifies that they will be sold for between 160 and $180 in stores at this time. You may recall that the Phenom X3 is actually an X4 in which one of the cores and the 512 KB of L2 that go along with it have been deactivated enabling AMD to recycler defective dies.

    It is therefore logical that this first involves B2 stepping. We would have preferred, however, that AMD forget about these defective dies and instead directly launched an X3 in a B3 version. In terms of performance, we already tested the Phenom X3 (actually with an X4 with a deactivated core) in our first test of the Phenom last November.

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