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Thursday, May 17, 2012

(Tech Talk) - The joys of technology

Video card technology is wonderful isn't it?

You can spend a fortune on a current GPU, feel quite happy about your purchase, and then months later view a press release, review or article on a new improved version of what you previously bought. The pace of innovation in regards to electronic gadgets, graphic chips and products is just staggering. When buying, it's almost impossible to buy something at a fairly expensive price point without having to research what is coming soon.

Using video cards as an example, my current video card is an EVGA GTX480 (Fermi architecture). I bought this card around August of 2010, and 3 months later in November 2010 Nvidia released the GTX580 (Still Fermi) GPU’s. Admittedly, I wasn’t too upset about it at the time as the 580 didn’t have a huge performance difference from my 480. Yes it was faster and had the cuda cores the 480 should have had at release, but it wasn’t an entire new generation of chip, and was more or less just an enhanced Fermi GPU like what I had in my current card.

Last March, Nvidia released the GTX680 GPU’s (Kepler) and these were a new generation of chips, with a new architecture and new bells and whistles. I think this was a sad day for GTX580 owners, and here is the reason why……
Last year, Epic games released a demo of new features for Unreal Engine 3 called Samaritan. The demo required three GTX580’s to play it properly. Epic has just released information regarding Unreal Engine 4 for the next gen consoles. The new demo is supposedly running on just one GTX680!! In a previous interview, they mentioned that they were able to get Samaritan running on a single GTX680 as well. After spending anywhere from $379 to $600 for a GTX580, that had to hurt just a bit……

Here we are in May, and Nvidia releases information on the new enhanced Kepler GPU called the GK110 (The GTX680 is a GK104). This new card is going to be a Nvidia Tesla card which is for animation render farms and business use, not a consumer card. This card will have an amazing 7.1 billion transistors, this is twice what the GTX680 has!!! While this card will not be a consumer card to start with, it does hint that Nividia will already have the basis for a GTX685 or even a GTX780 card already ready to go. This means that I already feel a bit sorry for the early adopters of the GTX680.

I love technology and am I upset in any way that it’s moving so fast? Absolutely not!
It just amazes me that how fast technology transitions, but I would have it no other way.
My only wish is that Microsoft or Sony would choose the fastest possible GPU for their next generation consoles. But that my friends is another story…………

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