Oh me of little faith! I said earlier today that I expected nVidia to hit back at ATI with a 512MB card “within a few weeks”, what I hadn’t planned for was it to hit back not once, but twice with desktop and mobile parts on the same day.
The first retaliatory jabs come courtesy of Twainese developer Gainward who has not only produced a 512MB version of nVidia’s top of the line desktop GeForce 6800 Ultra but immediately announced plans to ship it in a 1GB SLI configuration! (See it installed in the PC above). These guys really don’t hang about.
Gainward's own brand of GeForce 6800 Ultras already run with a core speed of 450MHz and the 512MB of memory used onboard is DDR3 clocked at 1.2GHz (note onboard DDR3 is something quite different from the DDR3 RAM currently being developed by Samsung which we covered here).
The SLI pack, which Gainward calls its (*deep breath*): CoolFX PowerPack! Ultra/2800 PCX Golden Sample, ships with two of these cards and a dual cradle (see below) along with copper or water based cooling - depending on whether you want to re-mortgage your house once or twice?
So if you want to have the craziest graphics card solution - and I’ll stick my neck out and say: of the day so far - you’ll be glad to know you can get your hands on it from late March. Pricing has yet to be announced, but to be honest, if you are seriously considering buying either of these you don’t care about that.
Now if Gainward provided the jabs, nVidia has landed the knockout blow. The second part of the quick one/two comes in the shape of the small, but perfectly formed, GeForce Go 6800 Ultra. It supersedes the 6800 and the recently announced 6600 as nVidia’s flagship mobile video card.
Where are the improvements? Well, the core clock speed has been boosted though nVidia would not say how much, but it did reveal the card’s pixel processing rate has been increased by 50 per cent over the 6800 to 5.4bn per second. Vertex processing is also up 20 per cent to 565m vertices per second while both the 6800 and 6800 Ultra share the same 400MHz RAMDAC and support for DDR, DDR2 and DDR3 memory with bandwidth of up to 35.2GB/Sec.
No benchmarks were released with the Go 6800 Ultra but nVidia claims the first notebook to be released around the solution, the Dell Inspiron XPS Gen2 in the US (pictured above), doubles the performance of its predecessor. Of course, this is likely to be due to a whole host of hardware improvements, not just the graphics card, but the boast is nevertheless mouth watering. You can bet there will be a Go 6800 Ultra based notebook for the UK soon.
Over to you ATI...
Dell has revealed it will sell the Inspiron XPS2 Gen 2 in the UK from 15 March. It will come with a 17in wide UXGA screen, 256MB nVidia GeForce Go 6800 Ultra, a choice of Pentium M processors, up to 2GB 533MHz DDR2 dual channel memory, subwoofer sound, and weigh 3.9kg. Final pricing is yet to be confirmed. Further details can be found here.
See, we said you wouldn't have to wait long!