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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 MonkeyPaw on 7/3/2008 3:33:51 PM , Rating: 2
Well, it appears that RV770 still has room to scale, and soon:

http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/video/display/2008070...

quote:
Diamond “Unlocked” Radeon HD 4870 XOC Black Edition graphics card comes with graphics processing unit clocked at 800MHz and 512MB of GDDR5 memory operating at 4400MHz, up from 750MHz/3600MHz on reference design ATI Radeon HD 4870 graphics adapter. Moreover, according to Diamond Multimedia, the firmware of the board was modified and the board can be overclocked even further and can leave behind the current flagship Nvidia, the GeForce GTX 280.

“The firmware was custom designed to enable end users to go beyond the normal over clocked speeds and allow them to push their cards for higher performance via the Catalyst Control Center. The GPU’s custom firmware has been unlocked to push cards to GPU settings of up to 950MHz and Memory of up 1200MHz,” said Mr. Gastelum.


That could mean there will be a 4890 with even higher clocks. The 4870X2 may not even be needed to topple the GT200 if the RV770 can scale that much higher.

As for the "Monolithic" comment--it's a little misused in this case. That term applies to Phenom X4 vs Core2 quad. Intel uses 2 dies in MCM, while AMD has one "monolithic" die. The term doesn't work for GPUs until someone comes up with a similar MCM approach. Even X2s and GX2s don't count, since those are more like having 2 cards stuck together, not 2 GPUs on one BGA socket.


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