ECC Support

AMD's Radeon HD 5870 can detect errors on the memory bus, but it can't correct them. The register file, L1 cache, L2 cache and DRAM all have full ECC support in Fermi. This is one of those Tesla-specific features.

Many Tesla customers won't even talk to NVIDIA about moving their algorithms to GPUs unless NVIDIA can deliver ECC support. The scale of their installations is so large that ECC is absolutely necessary (or at least perceived to be).

Unified 64-bit Memory Addressing

In previous architectures there was a different load instruction depending on the type of memory: local (per thread), shared (per group of threads) or global (per kernel). This created issues with pointers and generally made a mess that programmers had to clean up.

Fermi unifies the address space so that there's only one instruction and the address of the memory is what determines where it's stored. The lowest bits are for local memory, the next set is for shared and then the remainder of the address space is global.

The unified address space is apparently necessary to enable C++ support for NVIDIA GPUs, which Fermi is designed to do.

The other big change to memory addressability is in the size of the address space. G80 and GT200 had a 32-bit address space, but next year NVIDIA expects to see Tesla boards with over 4GB of GDDR5 on board. Fermi now supports 64-bit addresses but the chip can physically address 40-bits of memory, or 1TB. That should be enough for now.

Both the unified address space and 64-bit addressing are almost exclusively for the compute space at this point. Consumer graphics cards won't need more than 4GB of memory for at least another couple of years. These changes were painful for NVIDIA to implement, and ultimately contributed to Fermi's delay, but necessary in NVIDIA's eyes.

New ISA Changes Enable DX11, OpenCL and C++, Visual Studio Support

Now this is cool. NVIDIA is announcing Nexus (no, not the thing from Star Trek Generations) a visual studio plugin that enables hardware debugging for CUDA code in visual studio. You can treat the GPU like a CPU, step into functions, look at the state of the GPU all in visual studio with Nexus. This is a huge step forward for CUDA developers.

Nexus running in Visual Studio on a CUDA GPU

Simply enabling DX11 support is a big enough change for a GPU - AMD had to go through that with RV870. Fermi implements a wide set of changes to its ISA, primarily designed at enabling C++ support. Virtual functions, new/delete, try/catch are all parts of C++ and enabled on Fermi.

Efficiency Gets Another Boon: Parallel Kernel Support The RV770 Lesson (or The GT200 Story)


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  • tamalero - Thursday, October 1, 2009 - link

    huge difference between INTEGRATED GRAPHIC SEGMENT, wich is almost every laptop there and a lot of business computers.
    versus the DISCRETE MARKET, wich is the GAMING section... where AMD-ATI and NVIDIA are 100%.
    get your facts and see a doctor, your delusional attitude is getting annoying.
  • SiliconDoc - Friday, October 2, 2009 - link

    Gee, you certaibnly are not a computer technician.
    That you even POSIT that games aren't played on INTEL GPU's is an astounding whack.
    Nvidia and ati have laptop graphics, as does intel, and although I don't have the numbers for you on slot cards vs integrated, your whole idea is another absolute FUD and hogwash.
    INTEL slotted graphics are still around playing games, bubbba.
    You sure don't know much, and your point is 100% invalid, and contains the problem of YOUR TINY MIND.
    Let me remind you Tamalero, you shrieked and wailed against nvidia for INTEGRATED GRAPHICS of theirs on a laptop !
    Wow, you're a BOZO, again.
  • sandwiches - Friday, October 2, 2009 - link

    You're a sad, pathetic troll, Silicondoc. I honestly do feel contempt for you. Your life is obviously devoid of any real substance. Reply
  • shotage - Thursday, October 1, 2009 - link

    The performance and awesomeness of a company campared to another is biaised. Sure Nvidia probably has historically done better than ATI.

    I hope that ATI as a company does much better this year and next, so that the there is greater competition. Competition which will consequently mean smaller profit margins, but better deals for us consumers!

    At the end of the day, who cares who's winning? Shouldn't we all be hoping that each does well? Shouldn't we all hope that there will always be several major graphics providers? Do we really want a monopoly on GPU's? How would this effect the price on a performance card?

    I think you should be banned SiliconDoc. You're adding no real value here. Leave.

    I have a GTX260 btw. So i'm not speaking from bias. Wander what kind of card you have? lol...
  • SiliconDoc - Friday, October 2, 2009 - link

    What card you have or don't have doesn't matter one whit, but what you claim DOES. What you SPEW does !
    and when you lie expect any card to save you.

    If liars were banned, you'd all be gone, and I'd be left. ( that does not include of course those who aren't trolling jerkbots running around to my every post wailing and whining and saying ABSOLUTELY NOTHING )
    " Sure Nvidia probably has historically done better than ATI."

    since you 1. obviously haven't got a clue wether what you said is true or not 2. Why would you even say it, with your stupidty retaining, lack of knowledge, or lying caveat "probably" ?

    If you're so ignorant, please shut it on the matter! Do you prefer to open your big fat yap and prove how knowledgeless you are ? I guess you do.
    If you don't know, why are you even opening your piehole about it ?

    It certainly doesn't do anything for me if you aren't correct and you don't know it ! I don't WANT YOUR LIES, nor your pie open when you haven't a clue. I don't want your wishy washy CRAP.
    Ok ?
    Got it ?
    If you open the flapper, make sure it gets it right.
    If you actually are an enthusiast, why is it that the result is, you blather on in bland generalities, get large facts tossed in a fudging, sloppy, half baked inconclusive manner, and in the end, wind up being nothing less than the very red rooster you demand I believe you are not.
    What a crappy outcome, really.---
    Frankly, you cannot accept me even telling the facts as they actually are, that is too much for your mushy, weak, flakey head, and when I do, you attribute some far out motive to it !
    There's no motive other than GET IT RIGHT, YOU IDIOTS !
    What do you claim, though ?
    Why is it, you have such an aversion to FACTS ? WHY IS THAT ?
    If I point out ati is not in fact on top, but last, and NVIDIA is almost double ati, (to use the "authors" comparison techniques but not separate companies for "internal comparisons" and make CERTAIN I exagerrate) - why are you so GD bent out of shape ?
    I'll tell you why...
    I certainly don't understand your mindset, you'd much prefer some puss filled bag of slop you can quack out so "we can come to some generalization on our desires and feelings" about "the industry".
    Go suck down your estrogen pills with your girlfriends.
    I don't care what your feelings are, what flakey desire you have for continuing competition, because, you prefer LIES over the truth.

    Instead of course, after you whining in some sissy crybaby pathetic wail for the PC cleche of continuing competition, you'll turn around and screech the competition I provide to your censored mindset is the worst kind you could possibly imagine to encounter ! Then you wail aloud "destroy it! get rid of it ! ban it ! "
    You're one piece of filthy work, that's for sure.
    So, you want me to squeal like an idiot like you did, that you want lower prices and competition, and the way to get that is to LIE about ati in the good, and DISS nvidia to the bad with even bigger lies ?
    I see.. I see exactly !
    So when I point out the big fat lying fibs for ati and against nvidia - you percieve it as a great threat to "your bottom line" pocketbook.
    Well you know what - TOO BAD ! If the card cannot survive on FACTS AND THE TRUTH, then it deserves to die.
    Or is honesty banned so you can fan up ati numbers with your lies, and therefore get your cheaper nvidia card ?
    This is WHAT YOU PEOPLE WANT - enough lies for ati and against nvidia to keep the piece of red crappin ?
    LOL yeah man, just like you jerks...
    " At the end of the day, who cares who's winning? "
    Take a look at that you flaked out JERKOFF, and apply it to this site for the YEARS you didn't have your INSANE GOURD focused on me.
    Come on you piece of filth, take a look in the mirror !
    And of course worse than that, after claiming you don't care whose winning, you go on to spread your hope that ati market share climbs, so you can suck down a cheapo card with continuing competition.
    So what that says, is all YOU care about is your money. MONEY, your money.
    "Quick ban the truth! jerkoffs pocketbook is threatened by posts on anandtech because this poster won't claim he wants equal market share !"
    Dude, you are disgusting. You take fear and personal greed to a whole new level.

  • sandwiches - Friday, October 2, 2009 - link

    For some laughs at this poor excuse for a 29-year-old man, check out these links:

    Here, he was banned from for his rants against ATI. He really is a truly rabid ATI hater with horribly sycophantic traits:">

    More rants by him about ATI and how great NVIDIA is:">">

    Here's some political rant by Silicondoc. Is anyone surprised to learn he's also a rabid wingnut?">
  • SiliconDoc - Friday, October 2, 2009 - link

    Why that's great, let's see what you have for any rebuttal to this clone you claim is me:
    " Even the gtx260 uses less power than the 4870.

    Pretty simple math - 295 WINS.

    Cuda, PhysX, large cool die size, better power management, game profiles out of the box, forced SLI, better overclocking, 65% of GPU-Z scores and marketshare, TWIMTBP, no CCC bloat, secondary PhysX card capable, SLI monitor control "
    Anything there you can refute ? Even just one thing ?
    I'm not sure what your complaint is if you can't.
    That's the text that was there, so why didn't you read it or try to claim anything in it was wrong ?
    Are you just a little sourpussed spasm boy red, or do you actually have a reason ANY of that text is incorrect ?
    Anything at all there ? Are you an empty shell who copies the truth then whines like a punk idiot ? Come on, prove you're not that pathetic.
  • wifiwolf - Thursday, October 1, 2009 - link

    less margins indeed. At a business point of view though that's good anyway, not because less margins is good for business (of course not) but for what it implies. It means factories can keep on maximum production - and that's very important. There's less profit for each sale but number of consumers is bigger in an exponential way. So not bad indeed... even for them - good for all. Reply
  • Zingam - Thursday, October 1, 2009 - link

    Fermi he has Reply
  • silverblue - Thursday, October 1, 2009 - link

    Doesn't matter mate, he'll still just accuse you of bias and brown-nosing ATI. Reply

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