What Went Wrong with NV3x: A Moratorium

by Derek Wilson on 4/19/2004 4:12 PM EST


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  • WizzBall - Tuesday, May 04, 2004 - link

    Nice article... sooo, when are we going to see the follow-up to this now that ATI came forward with their cards ? May I suggest 'What went wrong with NV4.x' ? :D Reply
  • TrogdorJW - Tuesday, April 27, 2004 - link

    Hey... anyone else having password issues, or is that something my company network admins f'ed up? I keep entering my password, but it doesn't get remembered. Ugh.... Reply
  • TrogdorJW - Tuesday, April 27, 2004 - link

    Personally, I think it's all about the alliteration: "The Pixel Pipe Performance Picture!" :)

    Anyway, I imagine the moratorium will end once the R420 is released and we can talk about all four chips (R3xx, R4xx, NV3x, and NV4x), right? Yeah, that's it....

    On a side note, I wonder how much going from FP24 to FP32 would cost ATI in terms of transistors, not to mention the Shader Model 3.0 stuff. It's not that we really need it, but going from 24-bit to 32-bit color basically makes everthing that operates on the data 25% larger in terms of transistor usage. Add in the other missing SM3.0 features, and I think a 160-180 million transistor R420 would suddenly become a 222 million transistor NV40. Basically, I think performance from the next generation cards will be about the same given the same GPU/VPU and RAM speeds. The only difference will be that NV4x has SM3.0 support, which looks to be a marketing point more than anything.
  • greendonuts3 - Thursday, April 22, 2004 - link

    that's "Post-Mortem", as in "Post-Mortem Analysis" as in "Autopsy," not "Moratorium," as in "banzored."

    Thank you very much.
    And DON'T forget to hyphenate "Post-Mortem."
    "Post Mortem" means "dead letter" or some such.
  • ianmills - Thursday, April 22, 2004 - link

    this article is crap. The real reason NV30 sucked is because nvidia slept with 3Dfx and got caught pixel herpes. Reply
  • TauCeti - Wednesday, April 21, 2004 - link

    > We have stopped -- we are done with NV3x analysis.

    Well, if you have _stopped_ writing NV3X-content, it is _not_ a moratorium.

    After a moratorium ends, you are obliged to continue with your _suspended_ activity.

    Besides that: good article ;)

  • DerekWilson - Wednesday, April 21, 2004 - link


    We have stopped -- we are done with NV3x analysis. I'll admit that the title could have been phrased a bit better, but we did mean moratorium... Of all the articles I have written I think I've gotten the highest volume of emails on this one -- to tell me that I don't know what moratorium means ;-)

    But on topic ... The big problem with an article like this (or any architectural or deeply technical article) is balancing depth, clarity, and length.

    If you guys have any suggestions on balancing these aspects in another way, please let us know. We want to write the articles that you want to read!
  • GomezAddams - Wednesday, April 21, 2004 - link

    "Can it not be a moratorium on NV3x articles?"

    It will be when you stop writing them. ;)

    I thought it was a pretty decent article too. I am looking forward to one that compares ATIs next contestant on these issues.

    Personally, I can handle a lot more detail but I would prefer not to spend so much time reading articles. :)
  • Phiro - Wednesday, April 21, 2004 - link

    My earlier outburst aside, it's a very good article. Reply
  • DerekWilson - Wednesday, April 21, 2004 - link

    Can it not be a moratorium on NV3x articles? I thought it was funny ;-)

    fp16 vs fp32 and image quality is a very tough nut to crack. there are a lot of things going on on the side of compiler optimizations that we really need to look into in order to understand what's going on.

    also, rotated vs. ordered grid has no performance difference. or it shouldn't anyway. we wanted to focus on performance in this article.
  • PrinceGaz - Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - link

    Maybe they've been saving this article up until after the NV40 was launched? I must admit I subconciously substituted postmortem myself when reading it.

    Well put together article Derek, it clearly explains some of the problems that led to the entire GeForce FX (NV3x) range of cards always being in second-place behind equivalent R3xx cards (the NV34 core FX5200 had no R3xx based competitor).

    I'm surprised no mention was made of the FP16/FP32 performance issue with the NV3x core and the consequences that is having on image quality, and also how its inferior ordered-grid anti-aliasing couldn't compare with the rotated-grid used in the R3xx.
  • Phiro - Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - link

    wahahahaa a "moratorium" hahaha

    You guys need to quit looking up big words that sound like the word you really mean to use, and actually grow some vocabulary.

    How about "postmortem"? Do you even know what the word "moratorium" means?
  • Cybercat - Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - link

    Nice work, you made it user friendly, so even I can understand it! lol, when it comes to explaining graphics architectures to me, that's no small feat. Reply
  • newuser12 - Monday, April 19, 2004 - link

    this article is depressing, being as I have an mx-440....... :( Reply
  • ZobarStyl - Monday, April 19, 2004 - link

    By this hardware I meant the x800 sorry. Reply
  • ZobarStyl - Monday, April 19, 2004 - link

    Thank you, Derek, for politely avoiding going into the current speculation war about the new hardware...frankly no one but ATI knows how this hardware is going to hold up against the 6800, and it's sad that people on both sides have already pronounced winners and losers. A good article; it sheds light on these dark times for nVidia. I'm no fanboy...frankly I'm most swayed by their quality driver support rather than the sheer speed factor. Reply
  • Modal - Monday, April 19, 2004 - link

    Thanks for this elucidating article; I find articles of this type (that is "this is what your hardware is doing and why") very interesting. Reply
  • Regs - Monday, April 19, 2004 - link

    lol. I just find it funny you wait until now to write this article. But then again, you would likely have a better understanding when we could compare it to the NV40. Reply

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