The graph below is one of transistor count, not die size. Inevitably, on the same manufacturing process, a significantly higher transistor count translates into a larger die size. But for the purposes of this article, all I need to show you is a representation of transistor count.

See that big circle on the right? That's Fermi. NVIDIA's next-generation architecture.

NVIDIA astonished us with GT200 tipping the scales at 1.4 billion transistors. Fermi is more than twice that at 3 billion. And literally, that's what Fermi is - more than twice a GT200.

At the high level the specs are simple. Fermi has a 384-bit GDDR5 memory interface and 512 cores. That's more than twice the processing power of GT200 but, just like RV870 (Cypress), it's not twice the memory bandwidth.

The architecture goes much further than that, but NVIDIA believes that AMD has shown its cards (literally) and is very confident that Fermi will be faster. The questions are at what price and when.

The price is a valid concern. Fermi is a 40nm GPU just like RV870 but it has a 40% higher transistor count. Both are built at TSMC, so you can expect that Fermi will cost NVIDIA more to make than ATI's Radeon HD 5870.

Then timing is just as valid, because while Fermi currently exists on paper, it's not a product yet. Fermi is late. Clock speeds, configurations and price points have yet to be finalized. NVIDIA just recently got working chips back and it's going to be at least two months before I see the first samples. Widespread availability won't be until at least Q1 2010.

I asked two people at NVIDIA why Fermi is late; NVIDIA's VP of Product Marketing, Ujesh Desai and NVIDIA's VP of GPU Engineering, Jonah Alben. Ujesh responded: because designing GPUs this big is "fucking hard".

Jonah elaborated, as I will attempt to do here today.

A Different Sort of Launch
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  • - Friday, October 2, 2009 - link

    You are all talking too much about technologies. Who cares about this? DX11 from ATI is already available in Japan and they are selling like sex dolls. And why didnt NVDIA provided any benchmarks? Perhaps the drivers aren ready or Nvidia doesnt even know at what clockspeed this monster can run without exhausting your pcs power supply. Fermi is not here yet, it is a concept but not a product. ATI will cash in and Nvidia can only look. And when the Fermi-Monster will finally arrive, ATI will enroll with 5890 and X2 in the luxury class and some other products in the 100 Dollar class. Nvidia will always be a few months late and ATI will get the business. It is that easy. Who wants all this Cuda stuff? Some number crunching in the science field, ok. But if it were for physix an add-on board would do. But in reality there was never any run for physix. Why should this boom come now? I think Nvdia bet on the wrong card and they will suffer heavily for this wrong decision. They had better bought VIA or its CPU-division instead of Physix. Physix is no standard architecture and never will. In contrast, ATI is doing just what gamers want and this is were the money is. Were are the Gaming-benchmarks for FERMI? Nvidia is over!
  • - Friday, October 2, 2009 - link

    With all this Cuda and Physix stuff Nvidia will have 20-30% more power consumption at any pricepoint and up to 50% higher production costs because of their much bigger die size. ATI will lower the price whenever necessary in order to beat Nvidia in the market place! And when will Nvida arrive? Yesterday we didnt see even a paperlaunch! It was the announcement of a paperlaunch maybe in late december but the cards wont be available until late q12010 I guess. They are so much out of the business but most people do not realise this.
  • Ahmed0 - Friday, October 2, 2009 - link

    I know for sure SD is from Illinois (his online profiles which are related to his rants [which in turn are related to each other] point to it).

    So, Im going to go out on a limb here and suggest that SiliconDoc was/is this guy:">

    A little googling might (or might not) support the fact that he is a loony. Just type " silicondoc" and youll find he has quite a reputation there (different site but seems to be the same profile, "handwriting" and same bike)

    And that MIGHT lead us to the fact that he MIGHT actually be (currently) 45 and not a young raging teenage nerd called Brian.

    Of course... this is just some fun guesswork I did (its all just oh so entertaining).
  • Ahmed0 - Friday, October 2, 2009 - link

    Well... either that or all users called SiliconDoc are arsholes.
  • k1ckass - Friday, October 2, 2009 - link

    I guess silicondoc would eat **** if nvidia says that it tastes good, LOL.

    btw, fermi cards shown appears to be fake...">

    and btw, I use an nvidia gtx, propable would get an hd5870 next week because of all this crap nvidia throws at its consumers.
  • Pastuch - Friday, October 2, 2009 - link

    Below is an email I got from Anand. Thanks so much for this wonderful site.

    Thank you for your email. SiliconDoc has been banned and we're accelerating the rollout of our new comments rating/reporting system as a result of him and a few other bad apples lately.


  • tamalero - Saturday, October 3, 2009 - link

    about time, was getting boring with the constant "bubba, red roosters, morons..etc.."
  • sigmatau - Friday, October 2, 2009 - link

    SiliconDoc getting banned.... PRICELESS.
  • PorscheRacer - Friday, October 2, 2009 - link

    So it's safe now to post again? Much thanks has to go to Anand to cleaning up the virus that has infected these comments. I mean, it's new tech. Aren't we free to postulate about what we think is going on, discuss our thoughts and feelings without fear of some person trolling us down till we can't breathe? It feels better in here now, so thanks again.
  • Mr Perfect - Saturday, October 3, 2009 - link

    It looks like it safe... After about 37 pages.

    Good job though, it's actually been worse in Anandtech comments then it usually is on Daily Tech! Now that's saying something...

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