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Storm clouds are gathering as NVIDIA faces a reinvigorated competitor

As the old saying goes, when it rains it pours.  NVIDIA was performing beautifully thanks to aggressive pricing and performance of its 8000 series of graphics cards.  It looked poised to leave competitor AMD (formerly ATI) in the dust.  However, the latest round in graphics war has marked a dramatic turnaround with AMD's 4850 and 4870 outperforming NVIDIA's offerings at a lower price

While NVIDIA still holds a tenuous grip on the highest end offerings, with its GeForce GTX 280 GPU, this might soon slip, depending on the performance of AMD's dual processor 4870 X2 (R700) card, likely coming in Q3 2008.  Meanwhile, NVIDIA faces challenges from Intel in its low-end and laptop graphics offerings, and from AMD's PUMA chipset/graphics package in the laptop market.

The economic repercussions of NVIDIA's slippage are already visible.  NVIDIA announced yesterday that it was going to turn in revenue of $875 million to $950 million for Q2 2008, which ends July 27.  This is significantly lower than the current analyst expectations of $1.1 billion.

That was not the end of the bad news from NVIDIA either.  It announced that it was facing a massive recall, due to overheating GPUs in notebook computers.  NVIDIA reported higher than average failures in both the laptop GPUs and in laptop chipsets.

NVIDIA said that the chips and their packaging were made with materials that proved to be too "weak".  NVIDIA passes the blame to notebook manufacturers, which it says contributes to the problem.  Typically notebooks have poorer ventilation and components concentrated in a smaller space than desktop computers.

The result of the recalls is that NVIDIA will be taking a onetime charge of $150M USD to $200M USD to cover the damages.  It plans to use the money to repair or replace defective parts.  It also hopes to collect part of the money from insurers it uses.  However, it has acknowledged its problems and switched the materials it uses.

The news has resulted in NVIDIA taking a beating on the stock market, sliding over 25 percent.

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RE: Ow
By flipmode on 7/3/2008 1:53:42 PM , Rating: -1
LOL, ok, so I'm pert. I still disagree with the application of monolithic to RV770. Monolithic is most often used to indicate something that is seamless, a single entity.

Even in definition #5, "massive" is diluted in the sense that it is one of a set of characteristics, one of which is "total uniformity".

Definition #3, and #6 now that I look at it - Electronics. of or pertaining to an integrated circuit formed in a single chip - stand on their own and apply to both the GT200 and the RV770. RV770 easily fits the definition of a monolithic chip.

I say all of this because of something that was pointed out by TechReport that I agree with:

AMD decided a while back, after the R600 debacle, to stop building high-end GPUs as a cost-cutting measure and instead address the high end with multi-GPU solutions. They have since started talking about how the era of the large, "monolithic" GPU is over. I think that's hogwash.

Scott Wasson then goes on to speak of monolithic in terms of largeness, but his inititial statements got me thinking about the way monolithic was being used - it's in conjuction with ATI's HDxxxx-X2 products - multiple pieces of silicon - which the RV770 in and of itself is not.

I don't expect all the tech tabloids to go around and change their terminology just because I take exception to it though.

RE: Ow
By Mitch101 on 7/3/2008 2:16:55 PM , Rating: 2
Jefe would you say I have a monolith of a gpu?

RE: Ow
By Bruneauinfo on 7/3/2008 3:12:51 PM , Rating: 2

and while we're at it lets get caught up in some semantics.

apparently, ATI is lucky they use good materials.

and nVidia probably won't be buying AMD anytime soon.

RE: Ow
By mathew7 on 7/4/2008 1:51:44 AM , Rating: 2
In your quote the missing part is "high/top performance". So for high/top-performance cards the single-chip solution is over. Basically what they are saying is that they produce a mainstream chip and combine more of them for high-performance. But we all know how SLI/Crossfire does not double performance. The overhead of more chip management kills it (at least in present time titles).

RE: Ow
By afkrotch on 7/7/2008 5:32:01 AM , Rating: 2
Let's not forget the need for driver updates that provide profile setup for games. This is where I find the biggest flaw in multiple-gpu setups.

If you're game doesn't get a profile, you won't get the most performance out of the cards. AMD recently put in the profiles for Bioshock and The Witcher. Well I stopped playing Bioshock about 2-3 weeks after it released and I won't touch The Witcher with a 10 foot pole.

This is the whole reason I haven't bothered with a multiple GPU setup. Both strategies from AMD and Nvidia have their merits. I'm just with Nvidia on this one. I prefer having a single GPU.

Less hassle for me to watercool, less cables, no wasted slot, no need for some 8000w PSU, and so on.

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson

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