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NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang lets everyone know his company is spending nearly a billion dollars each year ready to take on Intel's graphics offerings
Any notion that Intel and NVIDIA have common ground in the graphics industry can now be easily dismissed

NVIDIA's already candid CEO Jen-Hsun Huang had more than a few things to say during the company's financial analyst meeting today. An hour into the call Huang began to ad lib; clearly something was on his mind.

"We're going to open a can of whoop ass," he told analysts, who quickly broke out into laughter. 

For the past two weeks Intel and NVIDIA have been playing a game of cloak and dagger with technology press, complete with secret slide shows and secret slide show rebuttals. At the heart of this covert battle is the integrated graphics market, and some of the claims attached to it.

Intel senior vice president Pat Gelsinger fired the first volley at the Intel Developer Forum last week in Shanghai.  "First, graphics that we have all come to know and love today, I have news for you. It's coming to an end. Our multi-decade old 3D graphics rendering architecture that's based on a rasterization approach is no longer scalable and suitable for the demands of the future," he said.

Gelsinger's bold statement was an introduction to Intel's upcoming Larrabee graphics architecture, but it was enough to put NVIDIA on full alert.  Larrabee is Intel's first attempt at a discrete graphics processor in nearly a decade, with first samples expected to ship and stay competitive with NVIDIA and AMD graphic processors. 

Intel slide decks presented to media argue that spending money on CPUs and more CPU cores makes more sense than spending money on GPUs.  Intel presentations go on to detail that its integrated graphics will still satisfy consumers for years, adding that its upcoming Nehalem architecture will come in variants that integrate GMA 4500 (G45) graphics directly onto the CPU package.

NVIDIA's slide shows almost completely ignore Intel's Larrabee, and focus on IGP claims.  One of Intel's slide decks states GMA 3100 (G33) is more than enough to watch high definition videos. NVIDIA counters by citing my previous publication, AnandTech. "While the video capabilities of the [GMA 3100] will suffice for running Vista Aero, just about any office application, and a wide variety of non-3D based games, it is not up to the task of running the latest games, decoding 1080P HD content, or even providing decent video capabilities for a media station," AnandTech's Gary Key writes.

Huang argues that not only are Intel's integrated offerings "a joke," but that even if Intel manages increase graphics performance by ten times by 2010, that's barely up to par with current NVIDIA offerings.  He claims what passes for average graphics outside of the tech enthusiast crowd should be consider abysmal in the visual computing world.

Throughout the bulk of the conference call, Huang continued to lament Intel for poor graphics performance.  He hints at another Intel slide deck that claims Intel GMA 3100 is Windows Vista Premium compatible -- a claim which was debunked by Microsoft employees in a recent lawsuit

Intel fired back minutes later, sending emails to analysts detailing NVIDIA's poor track record when it comes to Vista crashes due to incomplete drivers.  Almost on cue, Huang responded once again.

"NVIDIA has to support several new titles every week," he said, alleging that Intel's graphics just have to support the basic office packages.  "You already have the right machine to run Excel. You bought it four years ago," he said.

The statement clearly struck a nerve with Huang, who paused for a second before adding "How much faster can you render the blue screen of death?"

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By fmriguy on 4/10/2008 4:20:55 PM , Rating: 5
"How much faster can you render the blue screen of death?"

Wow, that really sums it up there doesn't it?

By PICBoy on 4/10/2008 4:24:10 PM , Rating: 4
I was just about to comment that it was a great punch line.

By FITCamaro on 4/10/2008 4:33:56 PM , Rating: 5
Given how many BSoDs Nvidia drivers cause, they are the perfect company to answer that question.

By darkpaw on 4/10/2008 4:45:22 PM , Rating: 5
The only two things I've ever seen BSoD a Vista box:

1) Nvidias drivers
2) Overclocking

Too bad only one of those is optional if you happen to own Nvidia hardware!

They have gotten much better since launch, but still. I really wish ATI would get off their asses and release something competivie. They had nothing at all that could touch the $150 (AR) I paid for my 8800GT. I definately would have bought ATI this time if the price/performance was there.

By Tsuwamono on 4/10/08, Rating: 0
By Pirks on 4/10/08, Rating: -1
By RjBass on 4/10/2008 7:56:50 PM , Rating: 2
Funny, my 3870 works in Vista just fine. You may want to try investing in a better motherboard.

By Pirks on 4/10/08, Rating: -1
By daftrok on 4/10/2008 11:38:11 PM , Rating: 4
Because its clearly not working for you.

By Pirks on 4/11/2008 2:00:26 PM , Rating: 1
Exactly! Radeon 3870 with its lousy drivers is not working for me, but my Abit is working alright.

By just4U on 4/11/2008 7:36:29 PM , Rating: 4
The 3870 is a excellent card with very stable drivers. I've installed several of them and even own one. While there's always room for improvement they definitely have an edge over Nvidia in that regard. Especially when it comes to Vista.

By Targon on 4/10/2008 9:42:47 PM , Rating: 5
Strange that most people find the ATI cards a LOT more stable than NVIDIA under Vista. If you ran into problems with an ATI card, chances are that you either have older drivers(vid card or motherboard/chipset), or possibly a defective card.

By xphile on 4/11/2008 7:45:58 AM , Rating: 3
Dear god - just do yourself a really simple technical and financial solution and get rid of Vista. Then 99% of all cards work perfectly.

You guys spend all this money on top end hardware and then cripple it with a crapola software platform and blame the hardware. Then buy more expensive hardware to make the crapola software platform look better.

The road is gravel dude - buying the 2008 Ferrari over the 2007 Ferrari isn't going to make the road any less BS to drive on. Even if your lap times are 2 seconds faster you're still the sucker at the wheel.

By just4U on 4/11/2008 8:04:28 PM , Rating: 3
Your wrong.

First off No operating system can claim to be fault free. As many on these forums will tell you XP has it's fair share of install woes as well.. and yes, even today as mature as it is that holds true.

Plus your view held about Vista is no longer acurate. It is READY for the big show now and your going to see more and more enthusiasts recommending Vista64 over all others.

By jRaskell on 4/14/2008 12:44:40 PM , Rating: 2
and your going to see more and more enthusiasts recommending Vista64 over all others.

I'll believe THAT when I see it, but don't expect me to hold my breath waiting for it.

By just4U on 4/15/2008 4:15:27 AM , Rating: 2
It's just like XP. When they worked out the kinks and the drivers were mature enough it became the OS of choice. I think it's close enough to that point now that there is no longer a reason to purchase XP unless ofcourse your using/building a relatively low end computer. (Sub $600 with less then 2G of ram and poor Video)

By Samus on 4/11/2008 2:51:15 AM , Rating: 2
Every Vista BSOD I've seen on nVidia hardware was from a nForce6150 chipset.

God, they are horrible.

By subhajit on 4/11/2008 7:15:09 AM , Rating: 2
Vista home premium crashes every few minutes on my NForce4 Ultra motherboard.

By teldar on 4/11/2008 7:45:22 AM , Rating: 2
I have 32 bit vista ultimate on a DFI NF4 board with a 3650 as my htpc and it's stable as a rock. My only problem was that my hard drive died. When I replaced it, no more problems.


By sammitch on 4/13/2008 1:47:49 PM , Rating: 2
I think it's pretty funny that a lot of people have problems with Vista. I installed 32bit Ultimate (got a free version of 64bit Ultimate coming soon through Windows Survey thing), and I have had only one problem, and that was with asus onboard sound drivers.

I have an 8800GT and it runs everything perfectly. I've had no problems running crysis or anything else. No BSoD so far. My Vista runs faster than my XP Pro too, which is just weird to most people it seems like. My Vista experience has been amazing and I won't be going back to XP.

By sammitch on 4/13/2008 1:48:45 PM , Rating: 2
Also, I uninstalled the drivers from asus, and Vista had these onboard sound drivers ready and it works perfect now.

By orphen193 on 4/10/2008 5:11:43 PM , Rating: 4
funny cause I have a 7900GS with vista and never had a problem with it never got the BSOD and I have had it for like 2 months after release of vista

By HotdogIT on 4/10/2008 5:56:50 PM , Rating: 3
By seamonkey79 on 4/11/2008 12:16:21 AM , Rating: 2
Anecdote, meet semblance of proof:

<cough cough>Market share<cough cough>

By toonces on 4/11/2008 3:25:15 AM , Rating: 2
*cough cough*

so 300% more crashes while having a 65% larger market share than AMD is justified how?

By PlasmaBomb on 4/11/2008 7:11:39 AM , Rating: 2
Comparing it with intel is even more funny, NVidia has ~30% less market share but ~330% more vista crashes...

By Fallen Kell on 4/11/2008 4:29:11 PM , Rating: 3
Comparing it with intel is even more funny, NVidia has ~30% less market share but ~330% more vista crashes...

Too bad that Intel's version of graphics makes UT3 look like the following:

And even then with only 3-4 fps... Sure it doesn't crash... but, can you call a stable graphics card that doesn't produce any graphics better then one that might crash a little more, but at least produces the graphics you are trying to see?

By Locutus465 on 4/10/2008 10:41:07 PM , Rating: 2
I never had BSOD issues with my 7800GT, but I certainly ran into my share of nVidia issues early in vista's life cycle. My system would alternate between allowing me to play either F.E.A.R or Oblivion but never both games in a single release for the first few driver release (fustrating). Finally it seems like seriouse compatiblity issues have begun to settle out (if not entirly), but htere are still speed issues. My next platform will be all AMD (9850be 4x, Radeon 3870, 2GB DDR2 and just waiting for MB).

By robinthakur on 4/11/2008 12:16:54 PM , Rating: 1
Aww you're the 1 guy who's buying AMD still, I'm honoured to meet you. Having switched from the Opteron/Nforce/ATI covenant to Q6000/Intel/Nvidia I have no regrets, and it was cheaper! I've run Vista since before it was released with my nvidia 7800GTX (admittedly I never used it to game much) and its not crashed once...Maybe i'm just lucky.

By murphyslabrat on 4/11/2008 1:12:32 PM , Rating: 2
I am glad your got your jollies today, but would you kindly shut up. NVIDIA or AMD/ATI, it really doesn't make a whopping lot of difference. You get an average difference of maybe as many as 10 frames in the same price bracket, and with shifting prices and drivers, this changes constantly.

Boo-hoo, so He bought an AMD card, we are entitled to our choice of purchases. Oh, and about the subject matter, that "semblance of proof" seems to support what he's saying.

By Locutus465 on 4/11/2008 2:09:12 PM , Rating: 1
A) Nvidia isn't cheaper these days for the same general performance braket

B). Stability matters more to me than absolut Performance, irroncally AMD/ATI is owning nVidia in the reliability category...

Thus I see all AMD giving the the best mix of reliability, affordability and performance. I've used vista since beta 2 and I've had a host of compatibility issues with nvidia drivers and even managed to completely kill several vista installations (all pre-release code). As noted, I've never managed an actual BSOD. At least not until fairly recently trying to install my x-fi card.

By FITCamaro on 4/11/2008 8:15:59 AM , Rating: 1
I wasn't necessarily talking about Vista. I've had multiple crashes on XP with Nvidia drivers. I had Nvidia drivers asking me if I wanted to enable SLI with an AGP GeForce 6200.

By Locutus465 on 4/11/2008 9:41:50 AM , Rating: 2
BTW - I've been using Vista since the gold release was first published to MSDN (a little while before it was availble at retail). I can tell you with some certainty that

1) Your experience depneded upon your card, ironically we were lucky because we didnt' have an ultra high end 88 series card, consmers with the highest end nvidia cards had the worst experience.

2). But a couple of months after vista's release there were at least 2 or 3 driver releases. I think I was still alternating issues between fear and oblivion but many bugs had been addressed... Too bad there were still many more yet to be addressed.

By just4U on 4/11/2008 8:29:19 PM , Rating: 2
Since you mentioned your getting ready for a new build I'd like to make a suggestion. You might want to consider moving to 4Gig of DDR2 while it's still dirt cheap. Even on 32bit I found that Vista responded very well to the additional memory.

I use a 8800GTS/512 and have a 3870 on the Girlfriends system and both are running Vista64 fine. Still minor issues (to be expected and somewhat more with the 8800) but it's all more like a annoyance now rather then anything else. Nothing major.

By neothe0ne on 4/10/2008 6:23:40 PM , Rating: 1
The only time I've ever encountered a BSoD:

a) Creative drivers
b) Creative ALchemy

I haven't had any issues with NVIDIA drivers, although I did move to Vista pretty late. If you're complaining about BSoD's within the first month or two of Vista, I'd consider that to be pure BS trolling.

By murphyslabrat on 4/11/2008 1:14:39 PM , Rating: 2
I would agree with the above. Everyone knows that first half-year or so was really rough. To whine about it is just beating on a dead horse.

By Basilisk on 4/11/2008 1:50:37 PM , Rating: 2
It's a still-quivering horse: Vista HP was stable on one of my systems until about the time SP1 hit AND a new nvidia driver was pushed down by the Update process. Suddenly, frequent BSOD's began. To add insult to injury, it was an nvidia sATA driver failure -- on a system w/o any sATA drives. [My "fix" was to disable the two sATA port drivers.]

To the earlier poster: yeah, it's a 6150 system, but one that had been a rock for ages.

By darkpaw on 4/11/2008 3:15:31 PM , Rating: 2
Yah, horse isn't quite dead yet. Had more nVidia driver crashing just last month with Sins of a Solar Empire.

By k4rma on 4/14/2008 11:53:13 AM , Rating: 2
I just read this in my Computer class at school, and just busted up laughing when I read that last line! I think everyone thinks I'm wierd now!

"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer

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