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Shocking news: Graphics card arms race continues unabated

By dividebyzero · 6 replies
Apr 5, 2012
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  1. Just a little update on the latest round of arm wrestling from AMD and Nvidia.

    AMD vendors answer-predictably- to the launch of the GTX 680 it seems is to wring every last MHz out of the HD 7970. PC Partner's AMD division, Sapphire, is about to unleash the HD 7970 Toxic.
    1150MHz core, and 6GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 1500MHz (6000 effective)
    2 x 8pin PCI-E and 8+3 phase voltage regulation should ensure that the card lacks for nothing for further overclocking.

    PC Partner's Nvidia division, Zotac, seem equally ready to seperate the enthusiast from their disposable income with the GTX 680 Extreme Edition, promising a not-inconsiderable 1400MHz core clock (39% overclock over nominal 1006MHz "stock" frequency)

    For most people, the GTX 670Ti's long awaited launch seems nearly upon us. If the rumoured HD 7950 performance for HD 7870 price eventuates, it could well trigger a price reduction cascade* through AMD's product stack as well as laying waste to GTX 580/570 pricing...although with those cards being EOL and rumours of Nvidia possibly withholding TXAA support (Borderlands 2 etc) for Fermi based cards, you wouldn't think that Nvidia's board partners would be greatly inconvenienced unless price reductions threaten GTX 560Ti margins.

    * Assuming Nvidia/AIB's can get enough stock into the retail channel. Once vendors get the go ahead for creating their own GTX 680 flavours it would follow that availability should pick up....and on that note:
    Gigabyte GTX 680 OC (Windforce cooler)
    Colorful GTX 680 iGame Kudan
    EVGA GTX 680 FTW and FTW 4GB
    I'd assume that an MSI Lightning and Asus DCII/Matrix wouldn't be far away either.

    Thanks to 10% of the internet not devoted to online gambling, pr0n and celebrity gossip for the links.
  2. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    Sweet. More fighting = better prices for the consumer.
  3. Skupples

    Skupples TS Rookie

    the more they fight over the biggest, baddest, and brand-newestest the more the last generation of cards will drop in price... there has already been a VERY noticeable drop in most of AMDs already well priced products... i should be able to afford 2x 6870's @ ~140$ a piece by the end of april 2012
  4. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,264   +454

    I'm still really surprised that the 7970 is hanging around the $530-590 range. I really thought the price of that unit would have dropped to $500 or below. Oh well, I'm really thinking nVidia is going to win this round handily.
  5. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Topic Starter Posts: 4,891   +1,262

    The 7970's pricing probably reflects the lack of GTX 680 stock I would think. I'd assume that Newegg et al would sell incoming 680 stock as soon as it arrived, which leaves the mark-up outlets...and a quick look at the Masked Bandits of the Internet would indicate that the 7970 pricing is competitive with the 680.

    I'd guess that AMD would keep prices at current levels until such time that etail/retail stock movement starts to slow- which should be a good indicator of GTX 680 stock increasing.

    It seems as though everyone will be supply constrained for a few months yet.
  6. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,264   +454

    That's true - I didn't expect the 680 supply to be so thin. It's pretty crazy (and disappointing) to have their new flagship product be so inaccessible. I guess until there is real competition that is actually attainable then they can maintain these higher prices. At least it looks like the lower cards are dropping in price - though I wish the 560Ti 448 would drop below $200. I also wonder how this supply issue is going to affect the GK110 release.
  7. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Topic Starter Posts: 4,891   +1,262

    TSMC's 28nm is supposedly back up and running now after some shutdown/process change- which may or may not have coincided with Chinese new year (the annual halt of everything tech across Asia).
    Sounds as though TSMC are caught between what seems to be a slowish ramp in capacity, yeild issues and a huge demand for 28nm wafers ( Qualcomm, Xilinx, Altera, Broadcom, AMD, Nvidia, Apple, ST Micro, LSI)
    Probably wouldn't affect GK110 to any great extent I wouldn't think. GK110 is going to to be a hell of a money machine for Nvidia since Quadro and Tesla will be based upon it -with the attendant selling prices associated with pro graphics/GPGPU, so -if capacity is still constrained- I'd assume that Nvidia would divert wafer starts from GK104/106/107 to 110 if needed.
    The interesting points this raises would seem to be whether the yield issues are across all 28nm process (HP, HPL ), at what rate is the yield improving, and how much the yield issue is linked to IC size -probably of interest to Nvidia since I'd guess that GK110 is going to be ~450-500mm² - allowing for a 384/448/512 memory bus, larger cache structure (neither of which scale well with a process shrink), increased core count and provision for ECC.

    Even with a good ramp, I'm picking desktop GK110 might be a little thin on the ground since Nvidia has commitments to Cray and ORNL, along with numerous other HPC clients which would definitely supercede the enthusiast gamer community.

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