June 17, 2003
Steve Sims, Product
Marketing Manager at NVIDIA,
talks to GameZone about the GeForce FX 5900
latest uber-card is set to take the PC gaming industry by storm and reassert
NVIDIA at the head of the pack.
Over the past two years, the battle between
companies to create the most powerful video card has reached epic proportions.
Where they were once little known companies, brand names like NVIDIA and ATi
have become household names. For the last few years, these two GPU juggernauts
have been duking it out for market superiority. In the coming months, PC gamers
are going to experience unrivalled gaming graphics from games like Deus Ex 2:
Invisible War, Half-Life 2, and of course, Doom III. That is, if they have the
right kind of video card that can handle it.
Enter NVIDIA. Due to design
challenges, their most recent card, the GeForce FX 5800, came out only a few
short months ago. This left them at a bit of a disadvantage, since ATi was
already prepping its next-gen card, the Radeon 9800 Pro, for release. However,
has learned from the past and is now setting up the release of its next card,
the GeForce FX 5900, which is currently running circles around the competition.
The card is set to release in the coming weeks, and when it does, it should be
enough to put NVIDIA
back at the top of their game.
We spoke with Steve Sims,
Product Marketing Manager at
about the GeForce FX 5900, and here’s what he had to say:
The GeForce FX 5800 card came out only a few
months ago. What was behind the decision to release the 5900 so soon after the
Sims: NVIDIA has a 6 to 9 month product refresh cycle and different design
teams that work on each new product. While one team was working on the GeForce
FX 5800 series, another was working on the GeForce FX 5900. It is no secret that
the 5800 did not come out on time. It was a new architecture and our first
.13-micron GPU, so it presented many new challenges for us. Any slip in the
drive to release GeForce FX 5800 did not affect the release schedule for the
GeForce FX 5900. Since the GeForce FX 5900 maintained its schedule, the two
cards got pushed closer together in terms of timing.
What are some of the key new
features in this card?
The GeForce FX 5900 has a 256-bit bus, compared to the 128-bit bus on the
GeForce FX 5800.
The GeForce FX 5900 also has
256 MB of the world’s fastest DDR memory. The GeForce FX 5900 features CineFX
2.0 – a second generation of pixel and vertex shader technology which adds
double the floating point pixel shader power performance over our previous
product in this segment.
It introduces NVIDIA
Intellisample HCT, a second-generation caching and compression technology that
helps deliver blazing fast speeds at High Resolutions with Antialiasing. It also
contains UltraShadow, a shadow volume acceleration technology that accelerates
next generation games that use a unified lighting and shadow model.
How does this card stack up against the most
recent crop from ATi, the All-in-Wonder 9800 Pro?
The GeForce FX 5900 beats
the ATI Radeon 9800 Pro in almost every benchmark at every resolution. When the
eye-candy is turned up, the card really excels. Many reviews also think 5900
Ultra’s Anisotropic filtering is superior to that of the Radeon 9800 Pro. To
date, our AIC partners have not announced a Personal Cinema version based on the
GeForce FX 5900 chip.
One of the biggest problems
people had with the GeForce FX 5800 was the loud cooling system. How have you
addressed that issue?
The cooling solution for the GeForce FX 5800 was a risk that we took that simply
did not pay off. The cooling solution is completely different for GeForce FX
5900. Many reviews have commented that it is very, very quiet.
How will the card be in
terms of size? Will it still take up two AGP slots, as did the 5800?
The reference design from NVIDIA takes two slots and the length of the card is
within AGP specifications.
How much will it cost upon release?
We make chips so it is hard to estimate. Our AIC partners set the pricing for
their NVIDIA –based products. I have seen the GeForce FX 5900 Ultra with 256MB
for $499 and the GeForce FX 5900 for $399.
When is the card expected to ship?
It should be in stores in late June or early July.
Thanks a lot for your time, Steve.