At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, NVIDIA had several things going on. In a public press conference they announced 3D Vision Surround and Tegra 2, while on the showfloor they had products o’plenty, including a GF100 setup showcasing 3D Vision Surround.

But if you’re here, then what you’re most interested in is what wasn’t talked about in public, and that was GF100. With the Fermi-based GF100 GPU finally in full production, NVIDIA was ready to talk to the press about the rest of GF100, and at the tail-end of CES we got our first look at GF100’s gaming abilities, along with a hands-on look at some unknown GF100 products in action. The message NVIDIA was trying to send: GF100 is going to be here soon, and it’s going to be fast.


Fermi/GF100 as announced in September of 2009

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves though, let’s talk about what we know and what we don’t know.

During CES, NVIDIA held deep dive sessions for the hardware press. At these deep dives, NVIDIA focused on 3 things: Discussing GF100’s architecture as is relevant for a gaming/consumer GPU, discussing their developer relations program (including the infamous Batman: Arkham Asylum anti-aliasing situation), and finally demonstrating GF100 in action on some games and some productivity applications.

Many of you have likely already seen the demos, as videos of what we saw have already been on YouTube for a few days now. What you haven’t seen and what we’ll be focusing on today, is what we’ve learned about GF100 as a gaming GPU. We now know everything about what makes GF100 tick, and we’re going to share it all with you.

With that said, while NVIDIA is showing off GF100, they aren’t showing off the final products. As such we can talk about the GPU, but we don’t know anything about the final cards. All of that will be announced at a later time – and no, we don’t know that either. In short, here’s what we still don’t know and will not be able to cover today:

  1. Die size
  2. What cards will be made from the GF100
  3. Clock speeds
  4. Power usage (we only know that it’s more than GT200)
  5. Pricing
  6. Performance

At this point the final products and pricing are going to heavily depend on what the final GF100 chips are like. The clockspeeds NVIDIA can get away with will determine power usage and performance, and by extension of that, pricing. Make no mistake though, NVIDIA is clearly aiming to be faster than AMD’s Radeon HD 5870, so form your expectations accordingly.

For performance in particular, we have seen one benchmark: Far Cry 2, running the Ranch Small demo, with NVIDIA running it on both their unnamed GF100 card and a GTX285. The GF100 card was faster (84fps vs. 50fps), but as Ranch Small is a semi-randomized benchmark (certain objects are in some runs and not others) and we’ve seen Far Cry 2 to be CPU-limited in other situations, we don’t put much faith in this specific benchmark. When it comes to performance, we’re content to wait until we can test GF100 cards ourselves.

With that out of the way, let’s get started on GF100.

GF100’s Gaming Architecture
POST A COMMENT

115 Comments

View All Comments

  • DanNeely - Monday, January 18, 2010 - link

    For the benefit of myself and everyone else who doesn't follow gaming politics closely, what is "the infamous Batman: Arkham Asylum anti-aliasing situation"? Reply
  • sc3252 - Monday, January 18, 2010 - link

    Nvidia helped get AA working in batman which also works on ATI cards. If the game detects anything besides a Nvidia card it disables AA. The reason some people are angry is when ATI helps out with games it doesn't limit who can use the feature, at least that's what they(AMD) claim. Reply
  • san1s - Monday, January 18, 2010 - link

    the problem was that nvidia did not do qa testing on ati hardware Reply
  • Meghan54 - Monday, January 18, 2010 - link

    And nvidia shouldn't have since nvidia didn't develop the game.

    On the other hand, you can be quite certain that the devs. did run the game on Ati hardware but only lock out the "preferred" AA design because of nvidia's money nvidia invested in the game.

    And that can be plainly seen by the fact that when the game is "hacked" to trick the game into seeing an nvidia card installed despite the fact an Ati card is being used and AA works flawlessly....and the ATi cards end up faster than current nvidia cards....the game is exposed for what it is. Purposely crippling a game to favor one brand of video card over another.

    But the nvididiots seem to not mind this at all. Yet, this is akin to Intel writing their complier to make AMD cpus run slower or worse on programs compiled with the Intel compiler.

    Read about that debacle Intel's now suffering from and that the outrage is fairly universal. Now, you'd think nvidia would suffer the same nearly universal outrage for intentionally crippling a game's function to favor one brand of card over another, yet nvidiots make apologies and say "Ati cards weren't tested." I'd like to see that as a fact instead of conjecture.

    So, one company cripples the function of another company's product and the world's up in arms, screaming "Monopolistic tactics!!!" and "Fine them to hell and back!"; another company does essentially the same thing and it gets a pass.

    Talk about bias.
    Reply
  • Stas - Tuesday, January 19, 2010 - link

    If nV continues like this, it will turn around on them. It took MANY years for the market guards to finally say, "Intel, quit your sh*t!" and actually do something about it. Don't expect immediate retaliation in a multibillion dollar world-wide industry. Reply
  • san1s - Monday, January 18, 2010 - link

    "yet nvidiots make apologies and say "Ati cards weren't tested." I'd like to see that as a fact instead of conjecture. "
    here you go
    http://www.legitreviews.com/news/6570/">http://www.legitreviews.com/news/6570/
    "On the other hand, you can be quite certain that the devs. did run the game on Ati hardware but only lock out the "preferred" AA design because of nvidia's money nvidia invested in the game. "
    proof? that looks like conjecture to me. Nvidia says otherwise.
    Amd doesn't deny it either.
    http://www.bit-tech.net/bits/interviews/2010/01/06...">http://www.bit-tech.net/bits/interviews...iew-amd-...
    they just don't like it
    And please refrain from calling people names such as "nvidiot," it doesn't help portray your image as unbiased.
    Reply
  • MadMan007 - Monday, January 18, 2010 - link

    Oh for gosh sakes, this is the 'launch' and we can't even have a paper launch where at least reviewers get hardware? This is just more details for the same crap that was 'announced' when the 5800s came out. Poor show NV, poor show. Reply
  • bigboxes - Monday, January 18, 2010 - link

    This is as close to a paper launch as I've seen in a while, except that there is not even an unattainable card. Gawd, they are gonna drag this out a lonnnnngg time. Better start saving up for that 1500W psu! Reply
  • Adul - Monday, January 18, 2010 - link

    I suppose this is a vaporlaunch then. Reply
  • Adul - Monday, January 18, 2010 - link

    I suppose this is a vaporlaunch then. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now