NVIDIA PULLED ANOTHER PR coup at its editors day recently, showing what a cuddly happy group it really is. People were so bursting with joy that they had to share the info, so here it is.
Let's start out by saying that Nvidia pulled in the G92 launch day about two weeks and in doing so, compressed the time people had with parts before the Oct 29 launch date. Because of this, it's said to have invited only sites that had two people working on graphics to the event, so one could be bored to tears by the marketing slides while the other ran the benchmarks.
Having sat through these presentations before, all I can say is that two thirds of the way through, if you are not paying attention to what is being said, you are simply wondering if biting your tongue off or licking the PSU would be the least painful way to end it all.
The G92 deck is 25 slides long, and it is entitled GeForce Update October 2007. It is pretty dull even without a droning voice on the other side of the phone. What is even more amazing is that it was economical with the facts in several places, I wonder which site is going to parrot that stuff back. Here are the slides, by number, in play-by-play format.
1) The title page, as we said earlier, it is entitled GeForce Update October 2007. The big green watermark across it says "NVIDIA Confidential Embargo day is Oct 29 9PM". It is famous for changing the embargos at the last minute to prove people wrong, or just to play games, so take this a bit tenuously.
2) This slide is called "Agenda", after all, it is never without one. There are four bullet points, they are "Getting Ready for the Holiday Season", " Introduction to 8800GT", "SLI", and "Purevideo HD". Each is a section of the presentation.
3) This one claims "17 New and Released DX10 Games for 2007 Are You Ready?", and shows boxes for Fury, A Russian PT boat game, FPS creator, Universe at War, Hellgate London, Crysis, World in Conflict, Lost Planet, Eve, Gears of War, LOTR Online, UT III, Flight Simulator X, Assasin's Creed, Bioshock, Company of Heroes and the Opposing Fronts expansion.
This should be a list of games, all sponsored by Nvidia, that you should take the benchmarks for very lightly. Nvidia doesn't play fair, so when it owns a game, expect it to not be a fair benchmark.
4) "The Way It's Meant to Be Played Program" is the next one, and they talk about the programme itself, but don't mention any of the under stuff behind the Wizard's Curtain that you don't see. They put it into five categories, Consultation/Advice, Content Creation, Debug/Optimization, Feedback/Alpha test, Beta test/Enhancements. It sounds quite lovely.
5) This one is called "Next Gen Gaming Effects (NGGE): Depth of Field". It is featured in Lost Planet, COD4, Crysis, Hellgate: London and Huxley. There is a blurry mech pic with 'Enables in-game "focus" effects, giving sharper focus to objects at certain distances. Be still my beating heart.
6) "NGGE: Volumetric smoke and fog", as seen in COD4, CoH:OF and Hellgate. There is a guy with a flamethrower scorching things, cute little demon things. Awww.
7) "NGGE: Soft Particles" as seen in Bioshock (DRM and all), COD4, CoH:OF, Crysis, Hellgate, Huxley, Lost Planet, and World in conflict. I prefer my particles hard. There is a Bioshock screen grab.
8) "NGGE: Motion Blur" as seen in Crysis, COD4, CoH:OF, Hellgate and Lost Planet. This one has a blurry Crysis shot. Looks like Nvidia caught up with 3Dfx the better part of a decade later.
9) "NGGE: High Dynamic Range (HDR) lighting with 16x full-screen Anti-aliasing". This one can be seen in World in Conflict, COD4, Crysis and lost planet. The World in Conflict screen shot here is the first one that doesn't look completely awful.
As a side note on slides 5-9, all the wonderful next gen effects it is showing, with the exception of HDR, look like crap. Really, if this is the best the 'next-gen' graphics can do, you are almost better off getting a copy of Rogue and playing it on a CGA monitor. Whoever picked these shots needs a good working over with a large Cod or other North Atlantic fish.
10) We finally get to the parts, and it is called " Introducing the GeForce 8800GT The New Standard In Price/Performance". It will hold that title for all of two weeks, but more on that later. The bullet points are Best in class performance for this holiday's hottest games, single slot thermal solution, DirectX 10, PCI Express 2.0, Dual Link HDCP and Pure Video HD. All but the first are dead on, but the first is only true until the RV670 launches. Then things change a lot, and the downhill slide starts. Watch what happens in Q1, there won't be many more best in class slides.
11) This one is a table called GeForce 8800GT, and it says Embargo: Oct 29th as well. There is a 10 * 2 table, and it lists: Stream Processors - 112, Core Clock - 600+ MHz (Defined by board partners, GeForce 8800GT can run on a broad range of clock speed start of 600MHz core and 900MHz memory.) Shader Clock - 1500+ MHz (Defined by board partners, 2.5x or more than core clock.), Memory Clock - ~900+ MHz (same caveat as Core Clock), Memory - 512MB GDDR3, Power Connector - 6-pin, Length - 9 inches, Board Power - 110W, Thermal - Single Slot Fansink (NVIDIA reference design. Some board partners may do dual slots cooling solutions.), Outputs - 2x DL-DVI HDTV-Out. There is nothing here that we haven't told you in the past, but it is nice to see NV confirming our specs.
12) This one is going to be a little tough to talk you through, is is the GeForce 8800GT vs. Radeon HD 2900 XT. It is at 16x12, 4xAA and 16x AF. They picked this because of the AA bug in ATI parts makes NV seem disproportionately good, had it put a range of rezes and AA/AF modes in, you wouldn't have seen anywhere near the disparity.
That said, the 8800GT wins by between 20 and 100 per cent in 10 games, from Far Cry to HL2 to World in Conflict. It is a strange mix of titles, and it strongly looks like it cherry-picked winners at the most unfavorable settings for ATI.
In any case, it was run on a 'quad core 3GHz CPU', 2GB or RAM, WinVista (Aka MeII), and used Cat 7.10 drivers. No word if it used better Nvidia drivers than usual, the slide doesn't list what version it used.
13) This one is a header for the SLI section, and has a poxy looking kid in headphones staring at an SLI logo.
14) "Release 163.69 Brings Vista Performance to the Same Level as XP Performance", and to back up the claim, they have a graph titled " WinXP vs. WinVista SLI Performance". The graphs show that two of the games have MeII ahead, two have XP ahead, and in general, at 25*16 Rez with 4x/16x settings, you will probably get a slide show. The point is that the drivers now suck less than they used to, or that is the claim.
15) "Next generation games have arrived, Our driver supported SLI at each game's launch!". "1.5x single GPU performance". They list the scaling of the games with SLI, Bioshock - 1.4x, CoH -1.5x, World in Conflict - 1.25x, Lost Planet 1.8x, Quake Wars 1.7x, and Call of Juarez 1.5x.
Call me overly skeptical, but wasn't the recent SLI screed something around 2x, not 1.525x average? See slide 14 for more brainwashing.
16) This is the slide for video, with "Essential for the Ultimate HD Move Experience on a PC". It has the Purevideo HD, Blu-Ray and HD-DVD logos on it.
17) "Drive Prices Are Coming Down", and it lists the BenQ BR1000 Blu-Ray at $199 and the MS External USB HD DVD at $179. No mention of crushing DRM or how the IT industry sold you out to pacify Hollywood. Bad Nvidia, no cookie.
18) "Revolutionary New Video Processor Architecture", aka something ATI has had for six months. The bottom says "VP architecture offloads 100% of the CABAC and H.264 video decoding from CPU to provide "full spec" playback of Blu-Ray and HD-DVD movies".
There are two boxes, one has 3D Engine (Shaders), Display Processor and VP1, and it is the GeForce 7 Series GPU. The Geforce 8800GT has VP2 instead of VP1 and BSP engine and AES128 engine added on.
19) The one is called "The Benefit - Unprecedented Performance", and it has a chart comparing the 7900GT to the 8800GT and a Core 2 Number Numeral E6400 thrown in for good measure. Decoding HD content, the 8800GT hovers around 20 per cent CPU use, the 7900GT in the low 60s for 3 of the 4, and the E6400 at 80-90%. The graph itself it titled "H.264 Decode: Core 2 Duo E6400 vs. GeForce 7900GT vs. GeForce 8800GT". Note the H.264 very carefully. The bottom has "Lower CPU utilization provides reduced power consumption, and less system noise."
I am going to call bullshit on slides 18 and 19. Nvidia is trying to make it sound like its video decoding works, but it doesn't. It is being really careful to omit VC1, the protocol that the overwhelming majority of HD disks use right now. It also clearly omits any reference to ATI parts in this section so far, but it has them because it uses them earlier and later.
Basically, the reason here is that it can't do the critical step in the decode under VC1. It can do it under H.264 and AVC, but not the one that anyone cares about. Because of this, the HD decode of 8-series NV parts is absolutely horrible if you are using VC1, and most disks do.
NV picked the codecs and disks that don't use VC1 in a cynical attempt to pretend their decode isn't absolute crap. It is. ATI has the full decode in hardware, and the results show it. NV doesn't have it so it has to dodge the question and hope site owners are too dumb to test things. Sadly, it will probably snow most reviewers on this one.
Basically, look at the chart above, and look at the things NV uses to compare. It doesn't compare 8800GT to a GTX, GTS or 8600, no, they use a 7900. Curious, eh? No ATI comparison, or even a mention of VC1 codecs even thought it has the majority of titles on the market.
I wonder what Nvidia is afraid of? A masterful job of selectively quoting the truth there guys, you should be in politics or WMD hunting.
20) This one is called "GeForce 8800GT Feature Full-Screen Blu-Ray and HD DVD playback over Dual-Link HDCP at 2560 x 1600". It shows a screen with "Radeon 2900 XT Blu-Ray & HD DVD NOT (underlined) Possible @ 2560x1600" and another screen with GeForce 8800GT Blu-ray & HD DVD Playback @ 2560x1600".
This slide is just not true. Please note, I am not calling it a mistake, it has the cards, it tested the cards, it avoided tests that show its cards in a bad light. A 30 second test would show that this is a complete fabrication, and it has to know that it is. How do I know? Here is a screen shot of my 2900XT playing Serenity off HD-DVD at 2560x1600.
The above mess is my desk and testing rig. The middle monitor is a Dell 3007, one of the worst monitors on the face of the planet, avoid it at all costs. That said, the rig on the far right is an Intel QX6800, Badaxe2 mobo, 2x 2900XTs with Catalyst 7.10 drivers, a WD 150G Raptor and 2G of Corsair Dominator memory. It also has a generic DVD, a really nice OCZ/PC Power & Cooling 750 EPS12V Crossfire PSU and an XBox 360 HD-DVD player. The software is Cyberlink PowerDVD Ultra patched to the latest. As a pat on the back to all of the above vendors, I use them every day and can't say enough good things about these parts, Dell being the exception, avoid it.
That said, the Serenity HD-DVD plays at full 2560 * 1600 rez, Nvidia is not being fair when it says it can't be done. The two boxes are the task monitor and desktop settings just for your information. It plays just fine in full screen mode as well. If you are curious as to the settings, they look like this. Full resolution versions of the pics are available if you want them, just write me.
So there you go, NV had a reviewers day and snowed a room full of editors. Slide 20 says unequivocably that ATI can't do it, and that is not true.
21) Entitled "GeForce Summary" with two main bullet points, "Incredible Momentum" and "New GeForce 8800GT delivers unmatched price/performance for the holiday season". The first has "Games Leadership", " SLI" and "PureVideo HD" as sub-points, but don't let it confuse you, both are wrong.
As we have pointed out, the RV670 will be out and will match it for price performance, and according to all the leaked numbers I have seen, beat it on most counts. The first point will become clearer when sales numbers for Q4 and Q1 come out, the tide has shifted, and Nvidia is getting blown out of the water in the OEM space. Let the numbers come out and you will see how incredible its momentum is. If you want a real laugh, try and find a Montevina notebook with an Nvidian GPU.
22) "The Position of GeForce 8800GT" is the next one, and it goes into retail price in the first bullet. I have to redact this because I don't want to tip NV off to who showed me the slides, but it is a mid-ranged card priced as such. The second bullet is titled "Suggest use similar price range products in review", and has three subs, "NVIDIA 8800 GTS 320MB", "ATI HD 2900XT (ATI no real product at this price range right now)", and "RV670 (after launch)". Yawn.
23) Moving on, It has "Suggested review items", and list four. "3dmark 06" is the obvious choice, "All DirectX 10 games" with sub heads "PT Boats, Company of Heroes, Crysis, Hellgate, Lost Planet, World in Conflict, Bioshock, Call of Juarez*....", "New games released in this year" listing 10 more, and " Antialiasing (AA) and Anisotropic Filtering (AF) is needed for games in this segment" with a sub of "Always set AA to 4x and AF to 16x in games review".
The first one is fair, and the second and third are pretty fair, but neglecting DX9 which the majority, 98% or so according to the latest Steam survey, have is pretty stupid. The last one is pretty sleazy, AA is a known 2900 problem. It is not unfair to ask that it be tested, but the 'always' is pretty low on NV's part. I would suggest that you try it with AA and AF on and off, in all combinations, to test one company's strength against another's weakness exclusively is pretty one sided, don't you think?
The last bit is the footnote based on the Call of Juarez asterisk. In red, NV says "Note: Call of Juarez benchmark demo has tricks to reduce NVIDIA card's score. Must use real game on testing." I won't dignify that with a response.
24) "Overclocking" is the title here, and it simply says " The overclocking ability of GeForce 8800GT is related to the board clock settings and cooling solutions. We suggest media do the overclocking testing for boards those clock setting relatively lower." In the Queen's English, this means you will get better results if you try and overclock a board that isn't pre-overclocked. Well duh.
25) This one has no title, just a bullet point. It says " for more information please refer to GeForce 8800GT reviewer's guide." I don't have one, or any 8800 card of any kind, so I won't.
In the end, this slide deck is unfair. Nvidia seems to pull every sleazy cherry pick and bending of English possible and hope no one will notice. Slide 20 stands out as the supreme example of this. µ
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