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Old 02-23-2010, 01:48 AM   #1
Rob Williams
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Default Is NVIDIA's GF100 Broken and Unfixable?

If there's ever been a huge amount of doubt surrounding an upcoming product, NVIDIA would have to take gold with the help of its Fermi architecture. There's been a couple foiled starts, and reason to believe that GF100 might have some issues that are proving very difficult for the Santa Clara company to fix. Charlie Demerjian, in his usual way, explains why he believes Fermi is not going to happen properly anytime soon.



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Old 02-23-2010, 03:39 AM   #2
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Good read, Rob. Now we'll wait and see what happens March 26. Well, besides what Charlie has to say between now and then. I can't imagine he'll let things lay around that long.
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Old 02-23-2010, 12:45 PM   #3
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OH man!! this Sucks!!
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Old 02-23-2010, 01:20 PM   #4
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I wonder if it will ever come to Nvidia ditching TSMC and using AMD/Global Foundries instead for their 28nm step. lol. Interesting scenario for AMD to be producing the rival's chips.
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Old 02-23-2010, 02:19 PM   #5
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AMD doesn't really own global foundries anymore, part of the deal with Intel. It's like this weird cross merger of Chartered Semiconductor and ATIC, Advanced Technology Investment Company, who pretty much owns Chartered Semiconductor anyway.... AMD is still involved, but not to the same extent. So in the future, it's quite possible we'll see Nvidia chips made by GF... but of course, it's all speculation.

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Old 02-24-2010, 04:02 PM   #6
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Thanks for clearing it up, I guess AMD isn't the major share owner now of GF?
From what I read TSMC only has problems with their 40nm while they have 32nm and 28nm processes worked out so Nvidia might not need to switch down the line.
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Old 02-24-2010, 05:55 PM   #7
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Can't just switch architectures like that, since they'll need to completely redesign the chip again, plus there would be changes in power, voltage, frequency, etc, which changes the reference design, and so on. Also, TSMC's 32 and 28 processes are by no means flawless either, i don't even think their 28nm is commercially used. Switching manufacturers will cause other problems as well, since they may use a different process method, it may still be 40 or 32nm, but it might be done differently, so there would be different procedures to follow. Then of course there's the legal side of things, you can't just pull out of a 2 or 3 year production deal, even if the manufacturer hasn't fulfilled it's obligations, and could take years to settle.

As for AMD and GF, i don't know the details, it's all rather vague and non specific. All i know is that AMD and ATIC are involved, but there is no mention of % of company owned, but i believe that ATIC has the majority share. ATIC may buy more and more of GF from AMD over the years, since they are unlikely to buy it all in one go.

But regardless, Nvidia has stated a March 26 launch date, so we'll see how it goes down then.

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Old 02-25-2010, 12:03 PM   #8
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Hm, I think my post got deleted, but I'll make a new one.

NVIDIA joined the SOI industry consortium awhile ago... this allows them to influence SOI industry choices and familiarize themselves with SOI fabrication. This is important to know, because GlobalFoundaries of course uses SOI in all of its silicon manufacturing. So the possibility is there, and NVIDIA is likely keeping the door open.
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Old 02-25-2010, 05:43 PM   #9
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It's just a matter of time at this point. If NVIDIA hits its March 26 launch date, then that will tell us something. If supplies are ultra-limited for the first couple of months, that should also tell us something as well.
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Old 02-27-2010, 09:40 PM   #10
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Well, it is almost universally accepted that this initial release date is a paper launch. Even the few cards that will be available will be snapped up instantly. If the rumors of limited production runs are true then all stock will last hours on the shelves if that during the initial months of release. No matter what, the bottom line to me is that no matter how limited the availability and price these cards will sell like hotcakes. I just hope that all the current rumors are just that, rumors. I find it hard to believe that they will not perform exceptionally well so here's to March 26 and to some concrete facts.
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Old 03-06-2010, 04:17 AM   #11
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I think the 26th is a "ready or not" release date. They've got something that works right now. It's not at all what they were shooting for, but they can't delay any longer.
Their yields are still awful (the reason for only having a few 1000 chips) and clocks appear to be about 20% below target. From what's being said, and not being denied by nVidea, the 480 is going to be pushing the 300 watt barrier hard. I doubt we'll see a dual chip version, at least not a reference version, to claim the fastest card prize.
We've seen one small section of the Unigine benchmark released by nVidea and virtually no specs. Not even a Crysis benchmark, at this point, and we're only 3wks from launch.
FWIU, they'll release the cards, be sold out in a few hours, and continue to hold their customers hostage, like they have for the last 6 months, with the promise of supply improving in the 2nd and 3rd quarter. All the time keeping their fingers crossed that TSMC can achieve some reasonable yields. In the meantime the price of video cards is going to stay above MSRP due to lack of competition.
2009 was a great year to buy a video card. 2010 isn't shaping up to be that way. To bad with the new tech available. Here's hoping 2011 is better.
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Old 03-06-2010, 07:24 AM   #12
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20 days to gooo!!!
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Old 03-06-2010, 08:13 AM   #13
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First Benchmark data released.... great tessellation performance... standard rendering is near enough on par with an ATI 5870. So it looks like predictions are coming true, average gaming performance, good programmability. Poor yields, mixed with the 196.75 driver fiasco, long delays and admittedly disappointing initial benchmark data, Nvidia is feeling the pain...

Click image for larger version

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Video of benchmark: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpdPSZB8A8E

But, in their defense, this is pre-release hardware running un-optimized/beta drivers in one benchmark. They can probably squeeze another 10% performance out of the drivers.

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Old 03-06-2010, 01:38 PM   #14
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I still stand by my statement that no matter what, these cards will sell like hotcakes. We are also still dealing with pure speculation on all counts. If the rumors are ALL true it still won't make even the smallest dent in their armor. The fanboy army (we all belong to one, lol) will keep them going strong.
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Old 03-06-2010, 02:35 PM   #15
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i'm gonna buy one o these babies!! does that make me a fanboy?!?
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