With AMD’s Radeon HD 6800 Launch, What’s on NVIDIA’s Agenda?

Posted on October 22, 2010 9:00 AM by Rob Williams

In case it isn’t too obvious, we posted our in-depth look at AMD’s Radeon HD 6800 series today, and we highly recommend you read through if you want to see where things stand with today’s graphics cards. With this launch, many people are wondering how NVIDIA is going to counter-act, but in all honesty, both sides seem to be in a good spot right now. I’m sure AMD is not too thrilled about NVIDIA’s perfectly-timed price-drops, though.

As it stands, AMD’s offerings are fantastic. Both the HD 6870 and HD 6850 offer great performance, superb power efficiency, and excellent pricing. On the NVIDIA side, its cards are a bit more expensive, but nothing major, and just a wee bit faster. On the downside, they have higher power draws and other pros and cons – all of which we tackle in the conclusion of our above mentioned article.

So what’s NVIDIA to do to counter all this and put itself in a commanding lead? Well, one rumor has it that the company will soon release a GeForce GTX 475, which as you’d expect, will fall in between the GTX 470 and GTX 480 in terms of performance. Of course, given that the GTX 470 costs more than AMD’s Radeon HD 6870, I don’t quite think this in particular is geared to put a damper on AMD’s launch, but at least give gamers more of a choice.

On the super high-end side of things, DigiTimes is reporting that NVIDIA is due to launch a “GeForce GTX 580″ by the end of November or early December, and as misleading as the name is, it doesn’t sound like it’s going to include a revamped architecture. According to the post, the GTX 580 will be about 20% faster than the GTX 480, which if you ask me, isn’t all too impressive.

One thing I do question though is just how reliable a card 20% faster than the GTX 480 could be. I recently had one of these cards die, and while I’m not entirely sure it could be heat to blame, I’m not prepared to kick that possibility to the side, either. If the GTX 580 is even faster than that, we could be bound for trouble. Unless of course, NVIDIA pulls a die shrink out of somewhere, but I’m not too certain that will happen.

The big question is of course whether or not that launch will even matter. As it is, two Radeon HD 6870’s in CrossFireX blow the GeForce GTX 480 out of the water (+50% according to 3DMarkVantage), and for a bit less money . In order for the GTX 580 to be successful, it’d have to be priced a lot more reasonably than the GTX 480 is now.

Aside from these rumored launches, we might just be in for more price wars over the next month. NVIDIA dropped prices on the GTX 460 and GTX 470 before AMD even got its HD 6800 cards out the door, so things could get interesting. For the time-being, be sure to read our review of AMD’s latest launch!

It’s been a long time coming, but gamers can finally relax… AMD’s Radeon HD 6800 graphics cards are finally here. They may still be built upon a 40nm process, but AMD has brought a lot to the table here. We set out to see how the HD 6850 and HD 6870 compare to their closest competition, NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 460 and GTX 470.

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