Print 76 comment(s) - last by xioxio.. on Nov 19 at 4:49 PM

ATI keeps punching, but when will Nvidia fight back?

ATI has been enjoying a lot of success with its GPUs for the last year and a half, but it has hit new highs over the last two months by launching four new graphics cards supporting DirectX 11. The Radeon HD 5800 series was first out for enthusiasts in September, followed by the Radeon HD 5700 series for mainstream gamers.

As the only provider of DirectX 11 GPUs out there, the graphics division of AMD can afford to take a slower paced approach to product launches. However, the company has decided to launch one more product just before Black Friday and the start of the Christmas shopping season.

“With the arrival of the ATI Radeon HD 5970, the fastest graphics card in the world, we’ve cemented AMD as the unquestioned graphics leader,” said Matt Skynner, Vice President and General Manager of AMD's Graphics Group. “With the holiday shopping season right around the corner, the new card, coupled with the awesome power of ATI Eyefinity technology, is the ultimate setup for serious gamers.”

The Radeon HD 5970 is targeted squarely at bleeding edge enthusiasts who will settle for nothing but the best. ATI is moving away from its X2 nomenclature in order to more fully differentiate its highest end product. It combines two Cypress cores used in the Radeon HD 5870 together in a single graphics card. The new card uses a second generation PLX bridge in order to combine the power of the two chips more effectively.

Using two 40nm Cypress chips allows the new card to have double the Stream Processors and ROPs of the Radeon 5870. However, the chips and GDDR5 RAM are only clocked at the same level as the Radeon HD 5850 in order to conserve power. The board is rated for maximum power consumption of 294W, and only consumes 42W at idle.

Those concerned more with performance than power consumption need not worry. The Radeon HD 5970 uses specially screened Cypress chips, and is easily overclockable to Radeon 5870 levels with ATI's OverDrive technology. The board is unlocked, so overclockers can go as high as their guts (and cooling) will allow.

In order to aid overclockers, ATI's reference board uses proprietary high-performance digital programmable voltage regulators made by specialty firm Volterra. Pure ceramic supercapacitors sourced from Japan are used, and real time power monitoring is available.

The GPUs could be overclockable to 1GHz and beyond, while the GDDR5 RAM is rated for 1.5Ghz/5Gbps.

There are three outputs on the card in order to enable ATI's Eyefinity multi-display technology. Three monitors can be used at the same time using the two dual-link DVI ports and single mini-DisplayPort. New Catalyst 9.11 drivers have also been released, adding support for the new cards and Flash acceleration.

The Radeon HD 5970 is available immediately at retailers and through the channel for an MSRP of $599. The ATI Radeon HD 5970 is supported by a wide range of add-in-board companies, including ASK, Asus, Club 3D, Diamond, Gigabyte, High Tech, MSI, Sapphire, Tul/Power Color, Visiontek and XFX. It also launches today in new Alienware Area-51, Area-51 ALX and Aurora desktop PCs.

NVIDIA has been saying that their next generation gaming GPU will be available before the end of the year, although that has become increasingly unlikely.

Based on the latest information available, the Radeon HD 5970 is likely to be the fastest single card solution for the next six months.

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So basically...
By Amiga500 on 11/18/2009 7:35:18 AM , Rating: 5
ATi has won this generation, and at the moment has won it by a landslide.

If Nvidia have nothing for 4-6 months, then ATi will already be talking about the follow-on chips...

RE: So basically...
By dguy6789 on 11/18/2009 7:59:39 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah pretty much.

RE: So basically...
By FireSnake on 11/18/2009 8:02:00 AM , Rating: 2
That is exactly what I was thinking too.
If There is no answer from nVidia for a long time ATI has nothing to worry about, since I am sure next generation cards will come out like one year from now. And, even femini is faster chip I doubt it will be faster then next generation ATI card.

If only 49nm yirlds wouldn't be so poor. I was reading thing will sort out in December.

RE: So basically...
By FireSnake on 11/18/2009 8:03:30 AM , Rating: 3
Can't edit typos :(

Was thinking 40nm not 49 :)

RE: So basically...
By Samus on 11/19/2009 5:02:42 AM , Rating: 2
if you had told me a few years ago AMD buying ATi was a good thing...what's next, AMD actually makes an i7 killer?

RE: So basically...
By ImSpartacus on 11/18/2009 8:13:53 AM , Rating: 2
We haven't even seen nVidia's stuff yet. I'll say AMD will probably win, but miracles happen.

I just want a 5850!

RE: So basically...
By Amiga500 on 11/18/2009 8:22:34 AM , Rating: 2
My point is more along the lines of...

How long do we wait until this generation is over?

Does it end 3 days before ATi unveil the 6870?

If ATi are the dominant force from October to May, that is 7 months... and I guess the next-gen will launch October 2010.

RE: So basically...
By ImSpartacus on 11/18/2009 9:00:04 AM , Rating: 2
And I'm just saying that you can't have a one-sided generation. Before you completely denounce nVidia, they have to release

I doubt nVidia will have a winner, but they might. It's not impossible.

And this gen effectively hasn't started yet. Can you find a 5850 or 5870 on store shelves? I know I can't. If I can't purchase your product it's as good as unreleased to me.

RE: So basically...
By weskurtz0081 on 11/18/2009 9:13:25 AM , Rating: 4
Just because you can't find them on store shelves RIGHT NOW doesn't mean they haven't been on store shelves. People have bought them and store have run out of stock. The retail channel might not be FULL of these cards, but they certainly are flowing, at some rate.

RE: So basically...
By ImSpartacus on 11/18/09, Rating: 0
RE: So basically...
By weskurtz0081 on 11/18/2009 10:53:45 AM , Rating: 2
Judging availability on whether B&M stores have had it? I don't understand the logic behind that being the deciding factor.

As far as the price of the 5970 vs 5870, I don't think the entire price of the video card is the cost of the die alone. You can just say "since the 5870 msrp is $400, then the die must be $400", that is making one HUGE assumption and completely leaving out ALL other costs involved in the price of the product.

Yeah, they have yield problems, doesn't change the fact that the cards HAVE been available on the market, consumers have bought them.

RE: So basically...
By AnnihilatorX on 11/18/2009 1:06:39 PM , Rating: 2
They aren't actually $300 per die. It'd be more like $40 or so. Die is only a fraction of the cost of each card. The 8 layer PCBs are quite expensive, as well as the power regulator components. I would not say their margin is cut by 25% of the 5870.

RE: So basically...
By monomer on 11/18/2009 1:24:38 PM , Rating: 2
I'd be amazed if Cypress has even hit a B&M. Cypress yields are terrible right now. The 5850 might as well not exist, AMD is trying to make as much money as possible with each and every die.

5870's have shown up in some of my local B&M computer stores, but they are sold out within a day of arrival. I haven't seen any since about a week or two after launch though, and I've never seen a 5850 available.

RE: So basically...
By Parhel on 11/18/2009 1:31:25 PM , Rating: 2
5850 is in stock at Newegg right now:

Better be quick though.

RE: So basically...
By jonmcc33 on 11/18/2009 2:18:29 PM , Rating: 2
Sold out.


RE: So basically...
By Parhel on 11/18/2009 2:19:52 PM , Rating: 2
I just saw that too. It was up for a few hours though.

RE: So basically...
By jonmcc33 on 11/18/2009 2:15:38 PM , Rating: 2
Like I said before, the 5970 launch was just so AMD could say, "Mine's bigger!"

No, it was because they had the product available. Why not put it on the market if you have it available? They already left nVIDIA in the dust with the 5870 and now nVIDIA looks like old news with this 5970 release.

And hell, the MSRP for the other cards went up. That is unheard of. We're supposed to have price cuts, not price increases. That's how bad the situation is.

Not sure if you were ever taught supply and demand but that reflects the reason for prices. It's the same reason that DDR2 has doubled in price from what it was a year ago. Demand for the Radeon HD 5850 is huge and nVIDIA has nothing on the market to compete. Because of that, AMD can increase the MSRP.

RE: So basically...
By ClownPuncher on 11/18/2009 2:31:13 PM , Rating: 2
Meh, I was able to get a 5850 with little trouble, though that was launch week off of Newegg. I walked into Frys about 2 weeks ago and they had about 10.


That's why this 5970 move doesn't make sense for them. I can't find a price in the article, but I'm going to assume the 5970 won't be more than 600USD. That's $300/die. Why would AMD sell their precious Cypress dice at a 25% discount of the $400 5870? Like I said before, the 5970 launch was just so AMD could say, "Mine's bigger!"

Eh, first the $600 price tag is to reflect that the 5970 performs equally to s 5850's in CF. As far as the relevance of the launch, this card caters to the Eyefinity crowd, since even the 5870 has little trouble gaming in 99% of games at max quality @ 2560x1600. Lastly, the price went up because of demand. Why cut prices when there is no competition?

RE: So basically...
By xioxio on 11/19/2009 4:49:39 PM , Rating: 2
And hell, the MSRP for the other cards went up.

Yea...with new card out, you would think the others will go down, instead it went up. Isn't this the second time 5870 gone up?

I been an Nvidia fan, but the dx 11 got me to go with ATi. I been waiting for 5870 for a while now. At this rate, it looks like I won't be able to get one until probably after Christmas is over =/. If it's still out of stock after Christmas, I'm saying good bye to ATi before I even use their product.
5970 looks nice, but price is kind of high.

RE: So basically...
By Amiga500 on 11/18/2009 9:18:42 AM , Rating: 2
And I'm just saying that you can't have a one-sided generation. Before you completely denounce nVidia, they have to release something.

Why do they?

(Hypothetically) What if Nvidia release Fermi in Sept 2010, which beats the 5XXX series by 10%, then 5 days later ATi release the 6XXX series whipping it by 40%...

Does that mean Nvidia win this generation?

RE: So basically...
By LRonaldHubbs on 11/18/2009 9:45:54 AM , Rating: 5
IMO, in this scenario nvidia forfeits the current generation and enters the next one in a losing position. Then again, they are so obsessed with renaming their products that the definition of 'generation' has become pretty ambiguous anyway...

RE: So basically...
By banvetor on 11/18/2009 9:25:30 AM , Rating: 2
I couldn't agree more with the unavailability issue, but in my opinion if Nvidia doesn't release something until AMD is ready to release its refreshed line, AMD current line still is a new generation.

And one that AMD has completely won, since Nvidia didn't put out anything to compete.

RE: So basically...
By rippleyaliens on 11/18/2009 1:23:02 PM , Rating: 3
IT is Tag, your it time, yet again. pre-9700, to the current. they swap sides ever so often.
The killer with this card, is 3 monitor suppot on a single card. Eyeinfinity, is just a better topping. Single slot configuration that is out performing nvidia sli.. THAT IS WHAT I WANT. 40 watts on idle, EVEN BETTER..
$600 = CHEAP!!!!, considering that the 6800ultra, only 4 years ago was $1000...

OLD age statement.. IF they build it, people will buy it. I just sold my 2x gtx 260's While i could, just to make room and justify purchase of this card. Had a chance for a 5770 , and they just sold the last one, at microcenter.. UGGG
ITS out there people, its just not like a retailer (store front), and substantuate haveing 3-4 of them at a time. for $600 and what it can do, you can count me in. I remember in 2006 buying a 7950gx2 for $650.. LOL.. so the dollar points shouldnt scare people, unless you are like that cheap.. You want the best but dont want to pay, typical...

RE: So basically...
By jonmcc33 on 11/18/2009 8:26:22 AM , Rating: 5
This sort of reminds me of their original FX series, the poor response to the Radeon 9700 Pro.

nVIDIA has nothing and I think their lack of a response merely means that their next generation product will be below expectations...and the Radeon HD 5800 series performance.

RE: So basically...
By Bateluer on 11/18/2009 8:37:53 AM , Rating: 5
Nvidia is in a poor market position. Their chipset business is sputtering, if not dying. They cannot make chipsets for Intel CPUs with integrated memory controllers, they have to compete with strong chipsets from AMD/ATI on AMD CPUs. They don't have the license to make x86 CPUs, so they cannot expand into that market. The market for many of the low end GPUs is going to dry up in a couple years because of Fusion and Larrabee. Ion is a niche product with small market appeal. Nvidia won't be able to move enough of their high cards, which will perform well certainly, because AMD will be selling cards that perform 95% as good for half the price.

Unless Nvidia reorganizes themselves to the new market, we can expect their business to drop drastically in the next 3 to 5 years.

RE: So basically...
By werfu on 11/18/2009 9:27:06 AM , Rating: 2
I really think that NVidia need to enter the x86 market by buying Via. A third player in this war would scramble the cards for every one.

RE: So basically...
By LRonaldHubbs on 11/18/2009 10:41:47 AM , Rating: 3
This has been covered many times. Via's x86 license is void if they get bought out.

RE: So basically...
By Obsoleet on 11/18/2009 9:16:24 PM , Rating: 3
What L. Ron Hubbard said is correct. x86 licenses are non-transferable. The only way that Nvidia can get one is to be bought out by someone else, and there's no way NV can negotiate with someone and retain full control as Huang would demand. Nor is there any x86 license holder who could do such a financial transaction in jest, as a ruse for Huang to remain in control and attain an x86 license.
Even if THAT were possible, Intel would cancel Nvidia's newfound license. Nvidia has burned that bridge, and only the inglorious hobnobbing NV refuses to do could repair it.

The only option is for Nvidia to create their Femini GPU and try to find a way to (very slowly) emulate x86 through code morphing. That's what they're working on now, but there's no way to supplant x86. No ones going to develop apps for Nvidia's alternative architecture, it's bound to be niche CUDA applications.
Larrabee, in time, will bring what we all eventually want (ray tracing) and eliminate Nvidia's core market. AMD will be able to offer Intel's necessary counterbalance in the ray tracing market.

All things considered, even though they sold out to AMD, ATI certainly appears be having the last laugh in the saga of video chipset wars.

RE: So basically...
By jonmcc33 on 11/18/2009 11:38:41 AM , Rating: 2
Well, with what their CEO has done recently I wouldn't be surprised to see nVIDIA leave the PC market altogether and just manufacture for Apple. Will be funny when Intel's Core i5/i7 series are the only CPUs from Intel and Apple's are still using older Core 2 technology.

RE: So basically...
By Aloonatic on 11/18/09, Rating: 0
RE: So basically...
By weskurtz0081 on 11/18/2009 10:46:41 AM , Rating: 2
I am curious, what market are you suggesting doesn't really exist?

RE: So basically...
By Aloonatic on 11/18/2009 11:00:57 AM , Rating: 2
The directX 11 graphics card market.

Unless a slew of titles have been released that utilise it.

RE: So basically...
By weskurtz0081 on 11/18/2009 11:09:20 AM , Rating: 3
Well, those cards are not only useful to the "market that doesn't exist" yet. They can also run the stuff before it, like DX10 etc. So, whether or not DX11 games are available yet, if you want the fastest single GPU card on the market, well, this is what you get isn't it? Whether or not DX11 is out yet isn't really a factor because it will be make it's way into games, and what better way to push it into games that to have the hardware out there to run it, and there are many other reasons to buy the card where DX11 should really only be looked at like a free bonus.

RE: So basically...
By monomer on 11/18/2009 11:01:46 AM , Rating: 2
So when will "this round" really start? When games actually use the cards? Which will probably be when Nvidia rlease something and who's to say what they will be producing.

Well, technically, so far as I can tell, two games have been released which support DX11: Stalker: Call of Pripyat, and Battleforge. Additionally, Dirt 2 is set to be released in in the first week of December, which will be before Nvidia releases their cards in Q1 2010. The same was trye with the 9700

Have ATi rushed out these cards to try to get market share, for a market that doesn't really exist?

This same argument comes up with every new iteration of DX. Developers are only going to support the features if cards are actually going to be out, so you can't really say ATI rushed their release. Developers also need hardware to test their code with, so they need DX11 cards before they release DX11 games.

RE: So basically...
By Aloonatic on 11/18/2009 11:14:49 AM , Rating: 2
That's cool.

2 games that are reasonably big titles? I must admit, I'm not really a PC gamer these days? Another on the way that seems to be a pretty main stream title with broad appeal.

(I am aware of the same old argument, it will always happen when the same old situation crops up tho)

If the up take (of DX11 by devs) is what you seem to suggest it is then maybe they have timed their release pretty well. Before Christmas and when Win 7 has just been released, which a fair few system builders have probably been waiting for etc.

I take it all back :o)

Where can I actually buy one?

RE: So basically...
By Parhel on 11/18/2009 11:39:34 AM , Rating: 2
Well, there are a four on eBay right now. Otherwise, you have to do what everyone else has been doing. Get on a pre-order list, or obsessively check Newegg and the other e-tailers.

It's the same story with any product where demand exceeds supply. You can't just walk into the local Best Buy and pick one up, but if you're serious and you look around you'll find one within a week or two. There are tens of thousands of cards out in the wild. Just go to any enthusiast forum and you'll see.

RE: So basically...
By Ard on 11/18/2009 12:05:22 PM , Rating: 2
The round starts when he first salvo is fired and AMD has fired that salvo. It's not their fault if no one is able to compete yet. It's no different than the launch of the Xbox 360 a year before Sony and Nintendo. It was undoubtedly rushed but it kicked off the next generation of console gaming. That's what AMD has done from both a features/technical and performance point of vew. Like another poster stated, if nVidia doesn't release Fermi until AMD decides to refresh, then they've mssed this generation and are effectively competing in the next generation at a loss, a la the FX5800 vs. 9800 scenario.

"The GPUs could be overclockable to 1GHz and beyond, while the GDDR5 RAM is rated for 1.5Ghz/5Gbps."

Shouldn't that be 6Gbps? GDDR5 has 4 clocks per cycle; 1.5 x 4 = 6.

RE: So basically...
By Scabies on 11/19/2009 2:32:23 AM , Rating: 2
So when will "this round" really start? When games actually use the cards?

put another way, the xbox 360 should have come out after gears of war and halo 3.

wait what?

RE: So basically...
By Aloonatic on 11/19/2009 5:19:46 AM , Rating: 2
I've accepted the points made by others, and my mind has been changed. However, your point is puerile and stupid, perhaps you think it makes you look clever?

When the xBos360 was released:

a) You could actually buy one fairly easily, or lots of people could at any rate.

b) There were plenty of games available that were clearly superior to those that existed before on the original xBox.

RE: So basically...
By HotFoot on 11/18/2009 11:53:57 AM , Rating: 2
Technologically, absolutely. ATi is trouncing Nvidia right now. However, supply is a huge issue. Case in point, my girlfriend had me pick out parts for a computer she bought yesterday. I really wanted to get her a 5850, but couldn't find one that we could expect to get in the next month or so. So, we bought a nvidia 275 instead.

On the other hand, I really think the win for ATi is more than just sales figures. Right now, games being made with DX11 code are being developed on ATi hardware. That probably means ATi will have an edge in how efficiently games are coded for ATi hardware versus Nvidia over the next couple years. I expect to see a real-world benefit for ATi hardware in comparison to the theoretical GPU power provided by both competitors.

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