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Friday, January 28, 2011

Nvidia GeForce Launches GF114 Rises


Nvidia GeForce Launches GF114 Rises

The GeForce GTX 580 and 570 both center on GF110—a reworked GF100 with improved texture filtering, better Z-cull efficiency, and a number of transistor-level optimizations that facilitate higher clocks at comparable power use.

Similarly, GeForce GTX 560 Ti centers on GF114, the re-spun version of GF104. Before you get too excited, though, remember that GF104 already incorporated the texture filtering improvements that didn’t make it into GF100. That is to say 64-bit FP16 texel throughput doubled from two/clock to four/clock, per texture unit. GF104 has this capability, GF110 has it, but GF100 did not. What’s more, Nvidia decided not to carry over the Z-cull improvements from GF110, instead choosing to leave the raster engine unchanged.

The net effect is that GF114 is functionally identical to GF104. In fact, Nvidia even cites the same 1.95 billion transistor count. And we’re still looking at TSMC’s 40 nm process here.

The reworked silicon can clock higher at lower power levels, yielding more performance, but it’s still an improved GF104. Of course, the main difference is that, while Nvidia turned off one of GF104’s Streaming Multiprocessors to create GeForce GTX 460, GeForce GTX 560 Ti sports an unshorn GF114 (I challenge you to use that word in a sentence at some point today). Compared to the 460, that means higher clocks, more CUDA cores, theoretically higher geometry performance due to an eighth PolyMorph engine, and eight additional texture units. All of those factors combine to create a card that doesn’t end up replacing GeForce GTX 460 at all; it instead is fast enough to eclipse the GeForce GTX 470.

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