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nVidia’s next-gen GeForce to be called GTX 470 and 480

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nVidia decided to unveil the brand name of their GF100-based graphics cards and as usual, it will raise some serious controversy. For over a year now, nVidia is working on giving birth of a three billion transistor monster. The architecture encountered numerous issues but as it looks right now, we’re looking at a launch in five to six weeks time.

However, this time around, nVidia decided to perform yet another renaming act, giving precious fuel to ATI fans and just confusing the heck out of faithful customers. As far as series go, GF100-chip will be known as:

  • Tesla C2000 – C2050 comes with 448 cores, C2070 features full 512 cores
  • Tesla S2070 has four Tesla C2070 cards inside a 1U rack containing nothing else but GPUs
  • Quadro FX 4900 / 5900 Series – 448 and 512-core GPUs

And now, GF100 will debut with a somewhat unexpected model number – GeForce GTX 470 and GTX 480. Again, GTX 470 will be the unit with 448 cores, while GTX 480 will feature all 512 cores. Final memory configuration is not known, but we would not be surprised if a combo of 1GB and 1.5GB GDDR5 memory is used. The interesting bit is that the company didn’t disable one GPC cluster with 128 cores but rather just the half of one – making it 3.5 GPC clusters.

Our ballpark estimate is that the 448-core unit will pack a 320-bit controller and connect to around 1.28GB of GDDR5 memory, while the fully fledged chip will connect either to 1.5GB or 3GB of GDDR5 memory [3GB version would have to use 64-bit version of operating system, though].

Skipping the GeForce GTX 300 series is only a sad confirmation that nVidia will probably move appropriate G92-based and GT200-based chips into the GeForce GTX 300 series, as the company already began to move some GT200-based DX10.1 parts into 300 series, such as the GeForce 310, a GT200 based chip with 16 cores and 64-bit memory controller. 310 will probably be followed with 335, 340, 350 and so on.

OEMs and ODMs will be happy with the renaming convention, but don’t ask end-users and tech support. With every generation of products, nVidia got a chance to create a clear-cut, no non-sense nomenclature. Unfortunately, GTX 470 and 480 are bound to continue that confusion. Then again, that leaves a lot of room for lower-yielding GF100 parts as GTX 460, 450, 440 or the ubiquitous die-shrink coming in a few months. With a surprise or two.

Original Author: Theo Valich


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