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
Prima.Vera
by: buggalugs
Could be true. With 4K TVs going mainstream this year (??) we're going to need to some powerful cards. Maybe Sony are gonna market their new 4K TVs with the new playstation.
4K TV going mainstream this year? What planet are you living on? The first country to even begin tests with broadcast 4K TV is Japan and is only planed from mid next year. Besides 4K means that consoles can output 4K videos not 4K games. For that you need some monster power.
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#2
HalfAHertz
by: SIGSEGV
XBOX 720's GPU Specifications leaked online.

this gpu is rumoured able to do 2x, 4x and even 8x MSAA. what a beast console box.
i wonder what gpu specification inside the playstation 4 is.

so, i understand why nvidia seems so desperate releasing their titan.
Sounds like something in-between a 7770 and a 7850 size wise, with lowered clocks and extra embedded memory.
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#3
N3M3515
by: Recus
Keep dreaming.
Actually, a pair of 8870 should, beat K110, going by the 85% of a GTX 690, why, because dual 7970 Ghz are already, better or equal than GTX 690, and 6970 < 7870, so 7970 < 8870......i'm sure you get it.
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#4
Calin Banc
Don't expect such a big jump, it's not another drop in manufacturing process.
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#6
xenocide
by: N3M3515
Actually, a pair of 8870 should, beat K110, going by the 85% of a GTX 690, why, because dual 7970 Ghz are already, better or equal than GTX 690, and 6970 < 7870, so 7970 < 8870......i'm sure you get it.
Not a direct comparison -- 6xxx->7xxx was a change from VLIW5 (I think) to GCN. 7xxx->8xxx will just be a revision of GCN.
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#7
Xzibit
This makes sense

E3 2012. Nvidias main partners to GRID were GaiKai and Samsung.

Sony buys Gaikai and isnt using Nvidia GPU in PS4

GRID has to re-structure and after 1yr plus its still on trial runs but now only in China.

Since Nvidia decided to expand into mobile Samsung backed out and currently only LG is partner with them from Smart TV manufacturers.

Nvidia is probably also upset Tegra 4 is a dud so far. First comparisons barely compete with A6. Not to mention all the new SoCs from SECs Samsungs Octa and Qualcomms 800 series.
Project Grey after 2yrs plus of touting its almost ready is still a +1 chip to T4 and only integrated with the old slow and over priced Tegra 3. Plus they lost the new Nexus contract and Windows Surface to Qualcomm.

They also seam not to be selling many Tesla units as expected to goverment agencies

ElcomSoft: Nvidia Tesla K20 Beats a Dual GPU Configuration in Password Cracking

So selling inventory this way is a good way to make money.
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#8
TheHunter
^

Yo,

I thought Ps4 will use AMD too, no?
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#9
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
by: TheHunter
I thought Ps4 will use AMD too, no?
I believe something was floating around that said that "Orbis" had a custom APU in it and that it was an AMD chip. How true this is, I'm not sure, but it definitely cuts costs on producing the platform having the GPU and CPU all in one package. That eliminates a lot of other components you would otherwise need on the motherboard. Performance isn't the only consideration here. To be competitive you need to keep the cost of your product low and I'm sure with the position AMD is in financially, they're more than willing to make a deal with companies who have specific needs and are willing to gamble with AMD. At least, many would call it a gamble. I would call it smart for Sony and good for AMD. Seeing Intel control the CPU market and nVidia control the GPU market isn't a win for consumers. AMD going under would be bad for the industry imho and I think Sony understands that AMD needs help and that they're good at making a decent product for a low price.

Also nVidia doesn't have a powerful CPU to offer a decent APU-like device to Sony like AMD can so this makes perfect sense imo.

nVidia makes a powerful GPU but I don't think that is what Sony is primarily looking for.
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#10
Ikaruga
by: TheHunter
^
I thought Ps4 will use AMD too, no?
yes, it most likely does (,but he said the same thing: "isnt using Nvidia GPU in PS4").
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#11
cadaveca
My name is Dave
The way it is looking, Nvidia needs this GPU to compete with AMD's 7970, if you go by 3DMark numbers.

Who cares about Sony? Not nVidia!
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