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Radeon 9800XT, Nvidia 5950 likely to offer no great improvements

Copper bottom graphics war continues
Mon Sep 29 2003, 11:46
BOTH NVIDIA and ATI are prepping their fall / winter product refreshes, but fans of either company expecting to see dramatic improvements are going to be disappointed with what's rolling out of the factories. On the ATI side, the 9800XT is ready to go, but early information indicates that the clockspeeds on this part are only barely higher than on the 9800 Pro. The 9800P is currently a 380/350 part, as compared to the 9800XT, which will clock at a blazing 415/365.

Don't everybody run for Circuit City at once.

Given the tiny jump the 9800P is taking you might think it's time for Nvidia to make up some ground, but Nvidia seems to be having significant problems of its own. Anyone around last Christmas remembers the problems Nvidia had cooling the GeForce FX 5800 Ultra, a card that gave us the first Dustbuster PCB ever built. 5900 Ultra seemed to solve this problem, but in retrospect "delayed' might be a better description. Although we don't know clockspeeds on the 5950 Ultra yet, this part will apparently use a CPU-style heatsink complete with mounting bracket and latching mechanism.

At least you people running for the 9800XT don't have to worry about hitting any Nvidia GF FX 5950 fans. After the disaster of FX Flow most people didn't think Nvidia could come up with a worse cooling idea, but hanging a copper heatsink and retention bracket off the GPU might qualify. We can add another item to the laundry list of problems collecting around the FX architecture—the damn thing is obviously impossible to cool at higher speeds. One hopes that whatever else the NV40 is, it's cooler. If it isn't, Nvidia is going to have to design a separate form factor for video, since it's probably not possible to hang all that much more weight off a single AGP slot. µ


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