Monday, February 4th 2013

It's Sony, Not AMD in GeForce Titan's Crosshair

When we first heard of NVIDIA launching its GK110-based consumer graphics card by as early as February, it took us by surprise. Intimidating naming (GeForce Titan 780?) aside, the graphics card is hoping to better NVIDIA's current-generation flagship, the dual-GPU GeForce GTX 690, in a single-GPU package, but does the graphics card market really need NVIDIA to launch its card at the moment? Perhaps not, but the answer lies not with AMD and competition in the graphics card market, but Sony, and competition between PC and console platforms.

Over the weekend, it surfaced that Sony would introduce its next-generation PlayStation console (codenamed "Orbis") later this month, and it would mark the beginning of the next-generation of game consoles. PlayStation 4 features an updated hardware feature-set, and promises to raise the bar with graphics detail that the console industry held with an iron fist for the past half decade. This presents a challenge for not only NVIDIA, but PC gaming in general. Here's how.

It's no news that PC graphics have always trumped consoles, but lost out on the "cost factor." Advocates of consoles falsely compare the cost of an entire PC (approaching or crossing $1,000) with a $300 console. In our opinion, marketing honchos at both NVIDIA and AMD failed to adequately present the argument that a graphics card as a single component costs exactly the same as a game console, and transforms desktop computers that average households already own, into gaming PCs.

With the introduction of the next-generation PlayStation "Orbis," PC graphics companies such as NVIDIA need to launch new products to remind the masses that PC gaming looks, feels, and plays better than consoles, even the newest ones on the block. NVIDIA just happened to have the GK110 lying around.

The GeForce Kepler 110 (GK110) is NVIDIA's (possibly the industry's) biggest GPU. Conceived around the time when the 28 nanometer silicon fabrication process at TSMC was relatively new and prone to yield problems, it was put on the back-burner when NVIDIA realized its second fastest chip, the GK104, stood a real chance against AMD's "Tahiti" high-end GPU. Even as New Year's 2013 approached, the most audacious speculators in the press were led to believe that NVIDIA would take its time launching the GK110 with its GTX 700 series, some time much later than February. What changed? Well for one, Sony and Microsoft agreed to chart out their next-generation console launch schedules, so either's products get maximum market exposure, and that is bad for the PC platform.

The GeForce "Titan" 780 GK110 card, hence, is NVIDIA not only batting for its own GeForce brand (which already leads AMD Radeon in the PC space), but PC gaming in general. We don't expect to see crates full of these graphics cards making their way to stores just yet, but a text-book NVIDIA launch. Over the decade NVIDIA learned that when it has limited initial inventories of a new product and yet wants to avoid the dunce cap of a "paper launch," (a launch that's just on paper, with no public availability), it pools up just enough quantities of the product for worldwide press (for launch date reviews), and limited launches in key markets such as the US and EU.
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86 Comments on It's Sony, Not AMD in GeForce Titan's Crosshair

#1
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
This article is marked "editorial." Leave your flamethrowers by the front door.
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#2
HossHuge
Well for one, Sony and Microsoft agreed to chart out their next-generation console launch schedules, so either's products get maximum market exposure
Isn't this collusion?
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#3
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
by: HossHuge
Isn't this collusion?
Schedule, not method and price. I think that would be a hard sell.

How much is the 780 going to cost again? Yeah, they want to keep the cost of consoles low, good job nVidia. If I wanted to build a low cost rig I would go with an APU too.
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#4
LAN_deRf_HA
If this has anything to do with next gen consoles it's to compensate for crappy ports. I mean think about how sad it is consoles ports can still drag down top end hardware now. Imagine how bad a next gen port will perform. Oblivion all over again.
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#5
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
by: LAN_deRf_HA
Imagine how bad a next gen port will perform.
Imagine how much it won't if console are using x86_64 on an APU-like device. Isn't Orbis using an APU? I'm not sure if that's been confirmed or not though.
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#6
Crap Daddy
Interesting idea. But if NV launch will be limited availability product (not paper since we learned that cards are already sent to reviewers) then Sony's will be paper and slides launch. The availability for Sony's next console will probably be much later during the year. They need some big title game out and compatibility with PS3 games. While AMD has made a preemptive strike with games bundle reloaded against NV, the green company needs Titan to show they are still in business after the not-so-successful CES presentation of Shield and Tegra 4.

The mobile way of life (including gaming) destroys everything in its path and good old gaming habits like the PC and consoles are at a turning point.
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#7
xenocide
by: Aquinus
Imagine how much it won't if console are using x86_64 on an APU-like device. Isn't Orbis using an APU? I'm not sure if that's been confirmed or not though.
Allegedly, but that rumor was also around when the PS3 was in development, and I'm pretty sure the only console in modern times to use x86 was the original Xbox--which used a trimmed down P3. Unless I'm mistaken, wouldn't switching to x86 also kill any hope of backwards compatibility?
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#8
BarbaricSoul
Conceived around the time when the 28 nanometer silicon fabrication process at TSMC was relatively new and prone to yield problems, it was put on the back-burner when NVIDIA realized its second fastest chip, the GK104 stood a real chance against AMD's "Tahiti" high-end GPU.
I knew it. What became the GTX680 was suppose to only be the GTX660, and I've been saying it ever since the release of the GTX680 and hearing it had a GK104 gpu in it. To all those people that said I was incorrect, yeah I'll say it.

I told you so
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#9
xenocide
by: BarbaricSoul
I knew it. What became the GTX680 was suppose to only be the GTX660, and I've been saying it ever since the release of the GTX680 and hearing it had a GK104 gpu in it. To all those people that said I was incorrect, yeah I'll say it.

I told you so
... did anyone dispute that? I figured everyone knew that. I'd go as far as to say don't be surprised if nvidia just rebadges 670's and 680's for the mid-level 7xx series.
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#10
BarbaricSoul
There were plenty of people, here in TPU, that were saying that xenocide
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#11
xenocide
by: BarbaricSoul
There were plenty of people, here in TPU, that were saying that xenocide
The only arguments I recall were basically over semantics. People saying it was GK104 so it was intended to be a mid-level GPU, and those arguing that because it was a GTX680 it was high-end. The fact is it was intended to be mid-level, until AMD released the 7xxx series and (presumably) Nvidia (or rather TSMC) hit some snags with GK100. Anyone who said otherwise was flat out wrong.
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#12
NC37
Well 600 series was suspect to me the moment I saw that too. The datapaths being lower than the 460/560s only enforced that more. Course part thanks to AMD for letting the ball drop on 7000 series. Allowed NV to release Kepler at higher prices than past gens. But it also shows how well they've been designing GPUs with the 104 chips ever since Fermi. Went from solid high-mid range chip to high end.

Don't think NV has anything to fear with the next consoles. If the rumors hold out they won't be that impressive. Nerfed 8 cores and midrange graphics. They'll prolly milk them well. Without AMD vs NV graphics going on there also won't be huge differences on the graphics front. Performance will come down to RAM and other factors. PC will naturally still dominate, although initial ports probably won't show as much as a difference as the last gen.
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#13
Live OR Die
by: BarbaricSoul
I knew it. What became the GTX680 was suppose to only be the GTX660, and I've been saying it ever since the release of the GTX680 and hearing it had a GK104 gpu in it. To all those people that said I was incorrect, yeah I'll say it.

I told you so
Were have you been under a rock :laugh:
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#14
Ikaruga
I think Nvidia just wants their best product on the market asap, so they can stay in control until Steambox arrives to gaming. Releasing the Kepler based Titan unchallenged now is actually smart, because it will give them some more time (and money) to work on their next thing.
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#15
AthlonX2
HyperVtX™
great editorial bta.
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#16
erixx
Sony says"...the bar with graphics detail that the console industry held with an iron fist for the past half decade"


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#17
TheMailMan78
Banstick Dummy
Nice job Bta. Nice job indeed.

I would like to know why you think its a bad idea for MS and Sony to chart out their next generation console schedules? The console market schedule has very little effect on the PC market due to the fact developers already know what's going into the next generation and will program for it (ports). To me this is GREAT news. We will see a minor jump in graphic quality on the PC side for a change. Who knows, Battlefield 4 or 5 might look like Battlefield 3 SHOULD HAVE if it wasn't for the consoles dated hardware.

The down part to all of this is I don't think there is going to be a MASSIVE graphical jump this generation like from the PS2 to the PS3.
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#18
AthlonX2
HyperVtX™
by: TheMailMan78
The down part to all of this is I don't think there is going to be a MASSIVE graphical jump this generation like from the PS2 to the PS3.
+1 :toast:
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#19
Calin Banc
Well, if you compare the price of this Titan to the price of a new console (most probably less), even considering by a miracle that a ultra high end video card is all you need in order to get the best of that configuration, how on Earth thinks nVIDIA is going to make gamers change their mind? All new games should look and play much better already on what PC has to offer on a significant lower price, why a more expensive and relatively, the same hardware would make people throw more money at PC gaming instead of consoles? They know "a Titan will fall in the future", but a console "it's future proof" and it costs less. :)

That PC Alliance should have done it's job in promoting some standards and quality in the first place.
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#20
Prima.Vera
by: TheMailMan78

The down part to all of this is I don't think there is going to be a MASSIVE graphical jump this generation like from the PS2 to the PS3.
Exactly my thoughts. Already they said that mainly they will focus to maximize resolution and textures for games so instead on 720p to have now 1080p by default. That and 4x or 8x the RAM/VRAM for extra AA and textures. And yes, they will make consoles capable of outputting 4K videos. I also don't think we'll see some major updates except of those.
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#21
NHKS
Nice editorial, btarunr!:toast: and good to see one on TPU..

as for next gen consoles getting attention(Sony's 'Feb 20' teaser), well its about time to bring them out (after 7 odd years!)

while most of us are tentative & few who are cautiously optimistic(for the sake of better console-ports), like me ;), about their capabilities(graphically), there are some who seem to be quite confident about the next-gen, like this analyst on the PS4:
“They’ll be able to put a lot more characters on the screen and allow for hyperrealistic games,” Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles said.

Sony’s new console will feature graphics chips developed by Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and processors capable of rendering games at 240 frames per second :eek:, Pachter said. Current-generation games typically render at 30 or 60 frames per second.
if the GTX Titan's announcement/launch by nV is an attempt to get noticed, so be it!.. some competition (provided it benefits us gamers) is always welcome!
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#22
badtaylorx
by: xenocide
The only arguments I recall were basically over semantics. People saying it was GK104 so it was intended to be a mid-level GPU, and those arguing that because it was a GTX680 it was high-end. The fact is it was intended to be mid-level, until AMD released the 7xxx series and (presumably) Nvidia (or rather TSMC) hit some snags with GK100. Anyone who said otherwise was flat out wrong.
close.....they may have intended that but gk100 to be the 680...but nvidia realised they were having delusions of grandure and could not get it out in time nor in a costly manor.

i liken it to an over built concept car that gets all the enthusiasts pitch'n tents in their pants. But when it comes to market its a lil scaled down....

gk100 plan A.....gk104 plan B....(and a damn good one at that)



by: Prima.Vera
Exactly my thoughts. Already they said that mainly they will focus to maximize resolution and textures for games so instead on 720p to have now 1080p by default. That and 4x or 8x the RAM/VRAM for extra AA and textures. And yes, they will make consoles capable of outputting 4K videos. I also don't think we'll see some major updates except of those.
It'll be a good jump....

the difference you'll see will be = to the difference between DX9 and DX11.1 (tessellation being the biggie!!!)
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#23
RejZoR
...promises to raise the bar with graphics detail that the console industry held with an iron fist for the past half decade...
Held what? Graphics would be far better by now on PC if they weren't held back by non-upgradable consoles and lazy developers who only know how to make direct console ports.
...promises to raise the bar with graphics detail that the console industry held back with an iron fist for the past half decade...
Yeah, this would be more appropriate...
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#24
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
Doesn't the PlayStation 4, Wii U, and next Xbox all have an AMD GPU? NVIDIA is literally only competing in the computer market so they have to hit hard. Makes sense why NVIDIA would launch a monster--their revenue stream is in danger of drying up.
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#25
Filiprino
That PC Alliance should have done it's job in promoting some standards and quality in the first place.
PC already has standards (OpenGL, Direct3D), but the quality of drivers is not up to par. Making tweaks for games shouldn't be necessary if their software was properly defined and their internals well done, but you know, they also want people to partner with AMD or NVIDIA, not both, so doing nasty things on purpose is also something to take into account.
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