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AMD Graphics Technology

AMD Challenges NVIDIA To Graphics Throw-Down 240

Posted by Soulskill
from the fight-to-the-death dept.
MojoKid writes "Over the last couple of weeks, the two most powerful graphics cards released for the PC to date made their respective debuts, the dual-Cayman GPU powered AMD Radeon HD 6990 and the dual-GF110 GPU powered NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590. With such powerful products in their line-ups, both AMD and NVIDIA have claimed they offer 'the world's fastest graphics card.' AMD says it's theirs. Dave Erskine, the Senior Public Relations Manager for Graphics Desktop at AMD, challenged NVIDIA directly. 'So now I issue a challenge to our competitor: prove it, don't just say it. Show us the substantiation.'"
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AMD Challenges NVIDIA To Graphics Throw-Down

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 26, 2011 @10:25PM (#35627012)

    is indistinguishable from a rigged benchmark

    • by jd (1658)

      Elastons [aps.org] are the "new thing" in computer graphics, so a benchmark that involves running the software used to create the APS' video would seem "fair".

      • by am 2k (217885)

        As far as I can see at a first glance in the paper, they used a CPU-based implementation, so that benchmark wouldn't say anything about the GPU performance. Thanks for the reference though, that looks very cool!

      • Oh look, it's only been ten years and someone has reinvented Hypermatter. Almost looks as good as the original [demon.co.uk].

  • by Penguinisto (415985) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @10:30PM (#35627028) Journal

    (disclosure: I have Radeons stashed in various machinery throughout the house - especially the Macs)

    Anyrate, them are pretty big words, but I'd take them more seriously if they agreed on a neutral testing lab and benchmarks that aren't geared towards one over the other.

    Oh, and for the love of all that is holy, please provide comic relief by including an Intel video chipset. Pretty please?
    (please insert evil grin here)

    • Oh, and for the love of all that is holy, please provide comic relief by including an Intel video chipset. Pretty please? (please insert evil grin here)

      If you are going to pick on an integrated video solution then you don't have to bother with Intel. None of the integrated chipsets would stack up at all against these top of the line cards.

      If you want a comparison, try showing what other things you could have bought for $700+. Perhaps an XBox AND a PS3 plus a mainstream video card? Or maybe just one console, a few games, a mainstream card and a vacuum cleaner to run while playing (to simulate the sound of the high end cards).

      • by houstonbofh (602064) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @11:24PM (#35627340)

        If you are going to pick on an integrated video solution then you don't have to bother with Intel. None of the integrated chipsets would stack up at all against these top of the line cards.

        If you want a comparison, try showing what other things you could have bought for $700+. Perhaps an XBox AND a PS3 plus a mainstream video card? Or maybe just one console, a few games, a mainstream card and a vacuum cleaner to run while playing (to simulate the sound of the high end cards).

        Three hours with a mid range hooker? I know you still get screwed longer with the PS3, but it is more fun with a hooker.

    • If I were nVidia (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @11:25PM (#35627346)

      I'd say sure, and lay out a set of OpenGL benchmarks and utilities to try. Reason is ATi's OpenGL drivers have never been as good. They aren't horrible, but they are not as good as their DX drivers. nVidia, however, supports both APIs as native and they are both just as fast.

      Rigged? Sure, but it makes a point: It is all in what you want to do that determines what is the fastest.

      In terms of Windows games it looks like the 6990 is the faster card. Of course it is something where if ti matters at all is really questionable. You are talking like "Which card lets you get slightly higher FSAA settings with a game running at max quality in 5,760x1200?" HardOCP generally found the 6990 was the winner, but it was small things like that. The 590 would have no FSAA, they 6990 could have 2x FSAA or whatever.

      So maybe it matters if you have 3 24" monitors, but if not the real meat of it is that both cards are way faster than you need and will run things great.

      Either marketing department can find things to claim they are the "Fastest" I'm sure. If you care depends on what you do.

      • by makomk (752139)

        I'd say sure, and lay out a set of OpenGL benchmarks and utilities to try. Reason is ATi's OpenGL drivers have never been as good.

        Clever idea but there aren't many, if any, OpenGL benchmarks or games that can give these cards a good workout. You'd just end up comparing one ludicrously high framerate to another ludicrously high framerate - the difference would be entirely irrelevant to actual gamers.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          StarCraft 2, World of Warcraft can both run in OpenGL.

      • by Haeleth (414428)

        Of course it is something where if ti matters at all is really questionable. You are talking like "Which card lets you get slightly higher FSAA settings with a game running at max quality in 5,760x1200?"

        Precisely. Most people buy video cards to play games. The vast majority of games are graphically crippled by the obsolete technology in current consoles. There are basically no AAA PC exclusives any more -- even Crysis has shifted its attention to the console market. And apparently there's no plan to imp

    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      Anyrate, them are pretty big words, but I'd take them more seriously if they agreed on a neutral testing lab and benchmarks that aren't geared towards one over the other.

      Really? I'd prefer a strict outcome, but an anything goes to get the solution approach. If code can be written that runs far better on one than the other, lets see it. Providing the visual outputs are the same on both of the results I say go nuts with the custom optimisation. I'm all for something working equally well on both platforms, but if you design and code for compatibility you're often not getting the fullest out of the hardware.

      • Really? I'd prefer a strict outcome, but an anything goes to get the solution approach.

        May want to search the /. archives for "quack.exe" before you say that. Don't feel much like having a game's graphics pre-crippled by a vidcard desperate to tweak-up some FPS numbers again, err, thanks much...

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by makomk (752139)

      Even with benchmarks geared to favour the NVidia card, it still loses - and that's assuming it doesn't blow up first as well...

  • This is gonna be as interesting as Browser benchmarks are. Chrome, IE9, FF and Opera all win in their own benchmark. What does it mean to the enduser? Nothing.
    • by hduff (570443)

      This is gonna be as interesting as Browser benchmarks are. Chrome, IE9, FF and Opera all win in their own benchmark. What does it mean to the enduser? Nothing.

      What it means is that they are so similar in performance so as to be indistinguishable to the user.

      When 'winning' a benchmark is counted in a measurement too small to be perceived by a human, that is really a 'tie'.

      But you can't do any marketing with that kind of result, so we get these biased and inflated 'benchmarks' to create an artificially significant difference.

      After the lawyers, let's shoot the marketing people.

    • That's not always true [cnet.com].

      (FF4 came out rather well).

  • by Bigbutt (65939) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @10:49PM (#35627138) Homepage Journal

    Yea, I'm still getting blue screens on my AMDs. Yea, I'll get modded down by the AMD fanbois. Such is life.

    [John]

    • So I have a 5870 and the drivers are for sure better than when it came out. Also ATi drivers are lots better than they were years ago. Used to be a time when I wouldn't touch ATi, they were crap. Now, as is obvious, I don't have a problem with them. I do not prefer them but I'll get them if they have an offering I like and nVidia does not (when I bought the card, nVidia did not have DX11 cards).

      So the drivers aren't horrible, but they aren't nVidia quality IMO. This is not only in terms of stability, but al

      • by Vacuous (652107)

        It's true ATI doesn't have NVIDIA quality drivers; I've never heard of ATI drivers destroying a card. The GTX 590 drivers, however, have a driver issue with their "power limiter" that is supposed to prevent card damaging overvolts. Then there is the whole fan debacle from the 196.75 drivers. I realize people are going say it's what they get for overclocking, but if you add a feature it isn't the user's fault for using it.

        [Sources]
        http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/GeForce_GTX_590/26.html [techpowerup.com]
        http://www.swec [sweclockers.com]

      • by Luckyo (1726890)

        Well, the current benchmarker's favorite, Dragon Age 2, nvidia was the one with utter driver failure. Essentially broken at release, and still producing significantly lower FPS counts on same settings as equivalent ATI card. So I'd say that when it comes to drivers, they both screw up every once in a while. Even on AAA titles.

    • by KamuZ (127113)

      I always hear this with AMD drivers but I have been using their cards (as a gamer) for years now and never had any problems.

      • I always hear this with AMD drivers but I have been using their cards (as a gamer) for years now and never had any problems.

        Touch wood, fast!

        No! Not that.... Eew... No I don't want to shake hands...

      • by Belial6 (794905)
        Same here. I think it is more a matter of people having questionable rigs in general, and randomly picking a component to blame. I had a friend that years ago would constantly claim that his computer kept crashing because it had an AMD processor. I went and looked at his machine, and found it was sitting next to a window that got massive condensation. The inside the the case was actually rusting. Even when pointing that out the liquid puddling in the bottom of his case, he insisted that it must be the
        • by Xest (935314) on Sunday March 27, 2011 @06:45AM (#35628880)

          Yeah but how many systems have you and the parent had? If you're talking a handful then your personal anecdotes are meaningless.

          I did tech support for local government/schools for 7 years and we had over 5000 PCs to look after at any one time, and of course over that period we went through a number of hardware refreshes so I saw closed to 15,000 machines of various configurations.

          I can tell you now that the number of times we had widespread issues with nVidia cards was one due to one bad driver release, but rolling back to old drivers was rediculously easy with nVidia.

          In contrast ATI cards were a constant persistent headache, and sure there were some ATI based systems that never really caused a problem, but there were literally hundreds that did. The issues ranged from instability due to shit drivers, through to perhaps one of the most annoying issues- the fact that you could download the right drivers for a card from the ATI site and sometimes they just would not work with the only way to get graphics working properly to find the original CD that came with the system/card and install the version from that because later versions of drivers for a specific card didn't always work right with those older cards. Even when you found the old driver CD if those original drivers were shit- i.e. poor performing, or unstable then you were left with a choice between an unstable/poor performing system or, well, no drivers at all.

          ATI cards don't have a poor reputation because the odd gamer has had a dodgy system, they have a poor reputation for drivers because people like me who have dealt with large sample sizes of systems have seen that ATI cards over the years have consistently had these problems whereas nVidia's screwups have been relatively few and far beween in contrast.

          I can similarly tell you from my experience of such a large sample size that whilst HP printers are generally some of the best hardware, they have equally had some terrible driver releases through the years. I can tell you that Maxtor drives have a drastically higher failure rate than that of other manufacturers.

          It's not fanboyism if a particular product or manufacturer has a bad reputation for some reason, no it's generally based on the fact there's a lot of truth in that reputation. If it was as you say individuals building questionable systems then why don't nVidia equally have a bad rep, or are you suggesting nVidia users are more competent at selecting good components and configurations than ATI/AMD users? Obviously that seems unlikely.

    • by AbRASiON (589899) *

      If you're getting blue screens (and not just driver hangs / restarts) then you very likely have a physical hardware problem or a seriously, seriously screwed up machine.

      I've had 2 bluescreens in total under Windows 7 and both of them were related to me fiddling with some tricky stuff (hard disk controller drivers)

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        If you're getting blue screens (and not just driver hangs / restarts) then you very likely have a physical hardware problem or a seriously, seriously screwed up machine.

        I was getting bluescreens in XPSP3 until I dropped from 266.58 to 191.07, I have a GT240. Meanwhile the card has been working in Linux excellently since I got it, although when I did I had to load a beta driver because it took nVidia ages to explicitly add support for my card to the Linux driver. It worked fine, although it misreported my model, temps, and clocks.

        However, if you think that restarts are not the new bluescreen, you are unqualified to even comment on this discussion. If you don't specify that

        • by AbRASiON (589899) *

          My wording on restart was innaccurate. I mean the driver or an app restarts - the error is normally "Windows has suffered an error" or something. Sometimes explorer dies and then comes back. A true restart (bluescreen / reboot) is also quite bad and indicative generally of failed hardware.

          The fact is I don't get hard crash / freeze / blue screen or reboots under Windows 7 except in extremely rare circumstances. I have no problem with the 3 ATI cards I own.

      • by Shadow99_1 (86250)

        I built a new desktop recently and it was the first time I'd seen a BSOD in like 2 years.. Though it was a bad motherboard, a RMA later and no BSODS once more... Out of all things in a PC video cards tend to cause some of the fewest BSODS anymore. I have seen a card get hot causing driver restarts though. My poor old 3XXX series Radeon was put out to pasture because it's tolerance was failing.

    • by higuita (129722)

      Maybe the problem isnnt in the graphic card drivers but in the PSU or MB or other drivers? or maybe too old drivers?

      the bigger problem i (sometime) have is the GPU lockup, but the drivers reset the card and recovers everything (just have a few seconds freeze)... and even that was on new games with old drivers... updating the driver fixed that too.

    • by MrHanky (141717)

      I got those with my old Radeon 9800 Pro with the flimsy original cooler when I played Oblivion. After swapping the cooler for a bigger (and quieter) solution, I never had a crash. For some reason, it was only with Oblivion, and I never had the problem with any of my later cards.

      I'm pretty sure you have a hardware error.

    • by Bigbutt (65939)

      I pretty much get the same replies every time I mention it. "2002 is calling"."nVidia has bad drivers too." "I'm not having problems." "Troll." And of course folks who confirm they've had problems as well.

      I have the current drivers for my cards. I've sent the card back and it's been returned as testing fine. I've been in computers for 31 years and built my share of systems so I'm no newb. The error is the atikmpag.sys video driver every time.

      At the risk of being slashdotted:

      http://www.schelin.org/jpgshow.ph [schelin.org]

    • Just upgraded drivers on my 4850, it can handle games at the highest resolutions my monitor supports. Or at least it could, new drivers have it crashing all the time. Had to lower settings, not good AMD not good.
  • Drivers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by _merlin (160982) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @10:52PM (#35627160) Homepage Journal

    I don't give a shit about which is faster. Neither seem to be able to consistently write stable drivers. Video driver stability issues are far more of a problem than being 0.1% slower than the competition.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      So, you use Intel? Or you don't use a graphics card at all? The reality is that at this point you're pretty much stuck with a card from one of those two companies because Intel hasn't released a graphics chip that is competitive since 2D performance was the focus.

      Personally, I haven't had much trouble with driver stability. The issue isn't the 0.1% or whatever it turns out to be, the issue is that those are the two companies that are competing to drive the technology forward. It's good for us to have them a

      • by _merlin (160982)

        I have a Dell with ATI running Windows at work, and I'm using a certain ancient version of the video drivers because newer video drivers all cause stability issues. Another guy at work has an NVIDIA card and runs Ubuntu, but since the latest X release, enabling Compiz causes the machine to lock up on resizing a window (that's with binary blob drivers).

        At home I have a MacBook Pro i7 with Intel HD plus NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M. When I got it, there was a bug that caused the image to "disintegrate" on the aut

  • Driver quality (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kimvette (919543) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @10:55PM (#35627182) Homepage Journal

    How about a driver stability shootout? Include the major platforms (Windows, OS X, and Linux) and compare:

      * Stability in desktop environments (Windows Aero/OS X/KDE/Gnome)
      * Stability in the major productivity apps (Office suites, Photoshop/Gimp/etc., Lightroom/Aperture/etc, Final Cut/Premiere, AutoCAD)
      * Stability in games
      * Ease of installation

    THAT is a shootout I would like to see. Even entry-level cards are "good enough" for casual gaming, and mid-range cards are great for even newer games at high resolution.

    • Phoronix does these kinds of things all the time. http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=category&item=Graphics%20Cards [phoronix.com] I wish more people know about it. And while they are a Linux Geek place, the benchmarks include Windows and OSX often.
    • THAT is a shootout I would like to see. Even entry-level cards are "good enough" for casual gaming, and mid-range cards are great for even newer games at high resolution.

      First off, the two giants fight for the middle levels by cutting prices on the last-gen technology so there's nothing to report other than "it's 2011, you can get cutting-edge 2010 performance for 1/3rd the price". But everyone already knew that, and there's nothing new to report about the 2010-tech at a new price point.

      Second, entry levels cards don't make the kind of margins you need to sustain an 18-month release cycle while keeping the fabs busy.I'm quite glad that the hardware world obsesses over a fe

      • by sznupi (719324)

        Second, entry levels cards don't make the kind of margins you need to sustain an 18-month release cycle while keeping the fabs busy

        High end cards are probably the only loss leaders in the equation, by themselves. Yes, almost certainly in the green when it comes to their production itself - but they are primarily "positional" products of sorts, to give their lines better press (in other words: meant to increase the sales of mid & low segments), unable to recoup the R&D (but the same R&D is used and financed by mid & low segments)

        Cutting edge is just too niche... (look at Steam stats; and those are gamers)

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      How about a driver stability shootout?

      Both vendors would lose. I am getting better results with my GT240 with a 191 driver than with the new 266 driver. As in, it was bluescreening and now it's not. Seriously? At least I know better than to think ATI will do better. Screw me five times, shame on me...

    • by loufoque (1400831)

      AMD/ATI doesn't even work, so you can't even compare it.

  • Take a look at HAWX 2, the only game in the universe where a GTX 460 beats a 6990
  • by rsilvergun (571051) on Sunday March 27, 2011 @12:19AM (#35627580)
    OK, to be fair it's been over a year since I ran ATI hardware (a 4650), but I replaced it with nvidia hardware because I couldn't get the darn thing to stop crashing. I miss my ATI hardware. It has nicer image quality and better tv out/in support for my old TV card and games. I ran a 1650 for years, but than again that was just an overclocked 9800, and every bug under the sun was worked out 10 times over on that. Maybe it's my fault for running less popular games, but come 'on. Psychonauts should not crash like clockwork just because the floaty neon things are on screen...

    I guess what I'm saying it, AMD, call me when you're drivers can run something other than this years Call of Duty game & WoW
    • by Shadow99_1 (86250)

      I haven't run anything other than an Ati card in a decade in my desktops at home. I have rarely than ever had a crash caused by a video driver.

      I haven't had any big issues with Nvidia cards at work either.

      Well in windows at least... I've had tons of problems with both in linux. I think the powers behind linux seriously need to look into how the companies handle video drivers so both can stop crapping all over linux.

      However your view "call me when you're drivers can run something other than this years Call o

    • by yoshi_mon (172895)

      Your sample size and personal observation can only make for a huge change in the way AMD does things.

      [/snark]

      Seriously, why the hell was this modded up? My 5670 rocks the house with every single game that I've been playing on it and that is WITH it being dual-homed with an NVidia onboard GPU that I use for my 2nd monitor. I think a lot of the credit to them playing well goes to Win7. The point remains that my 5670 has done just fine for me but that is only my opinion and it is just that. One persons sam

      • What games do you play? nVidia seems to have better support for less common games. I had trouble with Psyconauts, The Witcher & Dark Crusader of Might and Magic. All B-List stuff (not in quality, but by sales :(, I guess that's why PC gaming is so weak right now ). I really would like to hear back from you if you've got a list of obscure stuff that you played through w/o crashes. But I played a lot of Call of Duty on that 4670 (I know, I typed the wrong # in my post the first time), 12+ hours and no cra
  • hey, i got a idea, they can do the benchmarks in stereoscopic shutter glasses 3d. that is, if amd has any real support for it yet.
  • Want to see a GTX 590 burning because of some shitty nVidia drivers? : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRo-1VFMcbc&feature=player_embedded [youtube.com]
    Now I am wondering who has bad drivers .... ATI, really?
    Anyway, I am running Linux most of the time, and nVidia Linux support is really shitty. Sometimes, I am wondering if they still hire software engineers.
  • by xiando (770382) on Sunday March 27, 2011 @04:09AM (#35628426) Homepage Journal
    I own a AMD chip which I use. I also own a useless Nvidia chip. I use GNU/Linux and I use the free r600g driver with KMS. I really don't care how the cards are doing in the Windows world. I also don't care about their closed source binary blob Linux drivers. What I do care about is the support and performance of the free drivers.
    The only thing I would like to see is a free software/free driver challenge between the two. Everything else does not matter. I never tried how any of them are doing in the Windows world, but my impression from what I have read is that it comes down to drivers there too and Nvidia seems to be doing better than AMD in the windows world.
    Hardware really doesn't matter if there's not software to utilize it.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I own a AMD chip which I use. I also own a useless Nvidia chip. I use GNU/Linux and I use the free r600g driver with KMS. I really don't care how the cards are doing in the Windows world. I also don't care about their closed source binary blob Linux drivers. What I do care about is the support and performance of the free drivers.

      I own a netbook which runs Windows because there is no Linux driver for its video. It has an R690M chipset which means it has old and shitty video which I felt would be well-supported. NOPE! Actually, AMD changed stuff and then didn't tell anyone what it was, so the free driver produces trashing on my notebook and it always has. There's no tools for me to run to produce useful debugging info. AMD doesn't even SUPPORT my chipset in the fglrx driver because it's so old and therefore it is supposed to work wit

    • by Haeleth (414428)

      Hardware really doesn't matter if there's not software to utilize it.

      There is software to utilize it. It's pretty good, really. I use it every day and it has not let me down yet, unlike the open-source Intel drivers which seem to break completely every alternate release.

      You have apparently chosen not to touch NVidia's Linux driver on ideological grounds, as is your right; but that does not alter the fact that it exists.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      The only thing I would like to see is a free software/free driver challenge between the two.

      Well that would be a walkover because nVidia doesn't play in that category. Whatever you may have heard of the Nouveau driver, it is not done by nVidia, they don't want the project, they don't help them with documentation, specifications or answer questions. It is not in any shape or form nVidia's project.

      The only thing nVidia has open sourced - and even that is arguable since it was obfuscated - is an extremely simple 2D only driver, which is in maintenance mode and will never support Fermi+ graphics cards

    • by hduff (570443)

      The only thing I would like to see is a free software/free driver challenge between the two. Everything else does not matter.

      But will you and the three other guys that it matters to actually read the article on the challenge, or just wait for the synopsis on Slashdot?

    • I use Linux. Fortunately, nvidia does have the software to utilitize their hardware. It's too bad they can't open it due to licensing issues (which may or may not be under their practical control), but at least it works which is more than can be said for ATI's drivers and some of the free drivers. Nevertheless, I'm not going to lose sleep over a binary blob in the kernel any more than I am going to call my operating system "GNU/Linux." If it works, it works.
  • I have a pair of XFX Radeon 6870s in CrossFire at the moment. The recent Control Center rewrite combined with the performance upgrades for the 11.4 drivers (still in testing) make it seems like AMD is really caring for a quality customer experience these days.

    However, the latest games that could take advantage of this hardware, aren't. "Can it play Crysis" is a fucking joke now since Crysis 2 was just released with buggy/failed CrossFire/SLI support. That and the configuration options for graphics quality h

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