Since launch, behind closed doors, nVidia has been briefing press and customers alike with the message, “If you think Fermis is good now, wait until we unlock its full potential by revealing the full Fermi featureset”. Looks like that time has come.
Rumours coming out of the Far East point to a full spec Fermi being with us very soon. nVidia needs to prepare against the imminent threat of the AMD revamp with Northern/Southern (select the one you prefer) Islands update to the 5000 series.
KitGuru laid down its prediction for Radeon HD 6870 performance back towards the start of July. Sure, the dual processor GTX490 will be able to beat the Radeon HD 6870 by some margin, but the 2 GPUs Vs 1 GPU argument is hard to make when there's a massive price difference.
The market will become much more interesting if nVidia can pull off a special trinity (are we the only ones who get dodgy mental images of Carrie Ann-Moss when we read that?) :-
- Increase the Full Fat Fermi Flow to 512 stream processors
- See real world benefits from improvements in TSMC's chip production processes, like lower core temperatures and better heat dissipation
- Crank the cores just a little bit more than nVidia has been able to
How would the killer Fermi spec read for the GTX485?
- Operating temperature, under load, reduced from over 91 degrees to just 85 for the standard shipping card with a much improved reference cooler. Sounds too ambitious? Remember that Asus was able to increase air flow over 600% with the ARES cooler design
- Noise level under load dropped from over 63 dBA to just 57 dBA – again not impossible when the ARES design dropped dBA by 18%
- 5% performance boost from the additional stream processors available
- Additional 5% boost from increased clocks/improved timings
- Lastly, a 5-10% improvement from a major driver update that includes a whole bunch of clever optimisations that Jen Hsun has been working on – but decided not to release until the second generation Fermi product range was ready for launch (being the cheeky chappy he is, we wouldn't put this past him)
So, is KitGuru confident enough to plant yet another in our series of revolutionary ‘Flags of our Predictions' ?
Naturally, cos we is 100% hardcore!
After the series of serious price cuts that KitGuru predicted, the basic GTX480 now starts as low as £365. That movement of more than £80 from typical launch pricing has left a nice gap for GTX485 to launch into.
The upper price point cap has now been dictated to nVidia by the drop in Radeon HD 5970 pricing. This card sits around £450. If we were Jay Puri and had to launch a graphics card between the GTX480 at £365 and the Radeon HD 5970 at £450, what price would we choose? Almost certainly, the UK launch price will be around £400. Some will go a little higher, catering to the desire of nVidia fan boys for the latest and greatest Santa Clara design. So we predict an upper limit of £419 inc vat.
Naturally, there will be a GTX475 as well. Launch price will average around £320 with the more competitive (think ‘smaller') brands nudging under £290 before the end of Christmas.
KitGuru says: We told you when the GTX470 and GTX480 price drops would happen and warned KitGuru readers to wait a couple of weeks to see the outcome. Those who were wise and listened, saved up to £50. Again, we challenge your wisdom. GTX475 and GTX485 will launch very soon, with improved performance, heat and noise. We'd advise you to wait for the first review on KitGuru before you try to buy. But that's just us.
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