ATI Radeon HD 4890 vs. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 275by Anand Lal Shimpi & Derek Wilson on April 2, 2009 12:00 AM EST
- Posted in
Putting this PhysX Business to Rest
Let me put things in perspective. Remember our Radeon HD 4870/4850 article that went up last year? It was a straight crown-robbing on ATI’s part, NVIDIA had no competitively priced response at the time.
About two hours before the NDA lifted on the Radeon HD 4800 series we got an urgent call from NVIDIA. The purpose of the call? To attempt to persuade us to weigh PhysX and CUDA support as major benefits of GeForce GPUs. A performance win by ATI shouldn’t matter, ATI can’t accelerate PhysX in hardware and can’t run CUDA applications.
The argument NVIDIA gave us was preposterous. The global economy was weakening and NVIDIA cautioned us against recommending a card that in 12 months would not be the right choice because new titles supporting PhysX and new CUDA applications would be coming right around the corner.
The tactics didn’t work obviously, and history showed us that despite NVIDIA’s doomsday warnings - Radeon HD 4800 series owners didn’t live to regret their purchases. Yes, the global economy did take a turn for the worst, but no - NVIDIA’s PhysX and CUDA support hadn’t done anything to incite buyer’s remorse for anyone who has purchased a 4800 series card. The only thing those users got were higher frame rates. (Note that if you did buy a Radeon HD 4870/4850 and severely regretted your purchase due to a lack of PhysX/CUDA support, please post in the comments).
This wasn’t a one time thing. NVIDIA has delivered the same tired message at every single opportunity. NVIDIA’s latest attempt was to punish those reviewers who haven’t been sold on the PhysX/CUDA messages by not sending them GeForce GTS 250 cards for review. The plan seemed to backfire thanks to one vigilant Inquirer reporter.
More recently we had our briefing for the GeForce GTX 275. The presentation for the briefing was 53 slides long, now the length wasn’t bothersome, but let’s look at the content of the slides:
|Slides About...||Number of Slides in NVIDIA's GTX 275 Presentation|
|The GeForce GTX 275||8|
|Miscellaneous (DX11, Title Slides, etc...)||11|
You could argue that NVIDIA truly believes that PhysX and CUDA support are the strongest features of its GPUs. You could also argue that NVIDIA is trying to justify a premium for its much larger GPUs rather than having to sell them as cheap as possible to stand up to an unusually competitive ATI.
NVIDIA’s stance is that when you buy a GeForce GPU, it’s more than just how well it runs games. It’s about everything else you can run on it, whether that means in-game GPU accelerated PhysX or CUDA applications.
Maybe we’ve been wrong this entire time. Maybe instead of just presenting you with bar charts of which GPU is faster we should be penalizing ATI GPUs for not being able to run CUDA code or accelerate PhysX. Self reflection is a very important human trait, let’s see if NVIDIA is truly right about the value of PhysX and CUDA today.