While the world plus dog might have thought that the days of graphics battles between the industry giants might fade with time (and the ever increasing market share being taken by integrated solutions of all colours), it seems not. Both ATI/AMD and nVidia are still hard at it – ready to fight tooth and nail over every inch of the discrete graphics card battlefield. KitGuru picks up on a TechEye story.
ATI managed to get the world’s first DX9 card out with the original 9700, but the operating system and world’s programmers were not quite ready for quite such a mighty leap. nVidia nailed the DX10 market with the stunning 8800 and, effectively, had the market to itself for a long time. In a Djokovic-ian flashback, the launch of AMD’s 5000 series brought the market back the Radeon’s way. Fermi fumbled out of the gate, but now the 550 is a major seller at the lower end of the market, with strong figures being reported for the 560 and so forth.
So far, so good.
But earlier today, rumours started to circulate from a number of sources, which said that certain press had been contacted by an nVidia representative to ask for a written explanation of why the new Radeon 7950 card had done so well. This story was picked up by sites like TechEye, who then asked nVidia for an explanation as to why it was asking the press to do its homework for it. Sauces close to nVidia have told us that this particular question has caused quite a reverberation around the company.
Whether the nVidian’s search for journalistic truth is real or not, one thing is certain – nVidia’s next generation technology (codenamed Kepler, but likely to be the 600 series) has been a little slow in getting to market.
You can launch on the run into Xmas, as AMD did with the 7970 series.
You could capitalise on the after-Xmas spend available in January, as AMD has done with the 7950.
At a push, you could hope that there are still sales around when CeBIT rolls into Hannover around March – which is when most people expect the remainder of the AMD 7000 series line up to make its appearance. The worst quarter for anyone to launch in, is the quiet period from May to August.
So where’s Kepler?
Well it seems that a combined set of challenges, including pushing an entire set of Ageia PhysX hardware into the GPU – as well as the move to a 28nm process – have hampered nVidia’s ability to complete the project in the right place along CEO Jen Hsun Huang’s timeline.
When this slip happened with Fermi, Jen Hsun appeared on stage with a mock-up and said that he was on track. This time it seems that nVidia wants to avoid a paper launch, to only come to market with the ‘680’ when it’s good and ready.
KitGuru says: Companies should be applauded for avoiding vapour-ware launches. But if the high end cards only reach mass production into the world’s various consumer markets by Computex, then that will have given AMD a significant ‘free go’ at the market. We’d decline to offer nVidia a half page summary of why the 7950 launch was so good, but if they are interested, they can read around 50 pages here, here and here.
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