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AMD and NVIDIA lock horns over graphics supremacy

by Parm Mann on 2 November 2009, 11:21

Tags: AMD (NYSE:AMD), ATi Technologies (NYSE:AMD), NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qauoy

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At the tail end of last week, AMD's senior manager of developer relations, Richard Huddy, told HEXUS that he believes NVIDIA is "somewhat abandoning the gaming market."

Such a sweeping statement isn't likely to go unnoticed by the green team over in Santa Clara, California, and NVIDIA's senior technical marketing manager of EMEA, Lars Weinand, has responded to AMD's remark in our very own HEXUS.community forums.

Here's what Lars had to say:

Hi,

it's an interresting opinion from Mr. Huddy but it's definately not true that NVIDIA is abandoning the gaming market. What Mr. Huddy describes is what is commonly known as "growth". We are on the route to GPU computing since the introduction of our CUDA architecture with GeForce 8000 series. Our leadership in GPU computing allows us to adress additional markets. GeForce 8800GTX was a very popular and successful gaming card and so are our current generation GPUs. Our next generation solution will follow in that tradion: for games with full DirectX 11, 3DVision and PhysX Support as well as GPU computing with support for OpenCL, Direct Compute, Cuda C, Cuda C++ and more. We also fully support all new technologies, like GPU support for Bullet Physics engine. Bullet is running on CUDA for over a year and is using many open source GPU algorithms from our CUDA and OpenCL SDKs.

Technologies like 3D Vision and PhysX are unique features and technologies made by gamers for gamers and we're not intending to change this. Our Devtech team is working closely with game develeopers all over the world, to ensure best support and compatibility of our GPUs for the latest games. If you're interrested to hear more on how NVIDIA works with game delvelopers, please feel free to watch the latest comments from Tony Tamasi on this topic.
blogs.nvidia.com/nTersect

There is no reason to belive NVIDIA would abandon gamers. People working at NVIDIA are gamers.

Lars Weinand (NVIDIA)


Never missing a beat, AMD's Huddy fired back in a little over 24 hours, further suggesting that NVIDIA is "moving its focus away from gaming", before concluding that "GPU leadership is presently AMD's".

Here's Huddy's retort, in full:

Hi Lars,

Nice to hear something positive about DirectX 11 from NVIDIA for once!

Let me respond to those sections in turn.

(1) The positive mention of DX11 is a rarity in recent communications from NVIDIA - except perhaps in their messaging that 'DirectX 11 doesn't matter'. For example I don't remember Jensen or others mentioning tessellation (they biggest of the new hardware features) from the stage at GTC. In fact if reports are to be trusted only one game was shown on stage during the whole conference - hardly what I would call treating gaming as a priority!

(2) The tech of PhysX has still yet to gain any significant traction. I note from the most recent NPD sales figures that "Batman AA" figures at 96th place in the PC charts and yet that seems to be NVIDIA's ' showcase' for PhysX. I suspect gaming physics will be better adopted when as an industry we move away from the divisive proprietary standards that Lars advocates so heavily. [I note that you mentioned CUDA no fewer than five times - more than any other technology that you chose to mention!]

(3) There's every reason to believe that NVIDIA is moving its focus away from gaming. I'll list just a few:

  • Not making it a priority at GTC is the obvious one.
  • Arguing against the relevance of DX11 is another.
  • Arguing, as NVIDIA did, that AMD working with Codemasters to add DX11 to DiRT2 is harming gamers is another.
  • NVIDIA's behaviour in locking something as trivial as antialiasing to its own hardware (in Batman Arkham Asylum) shows that NVIDIA cares much more about money then gamers.
  • AMD is already working with games developers on over 20 forthcoming games which feature DX11 tech. NVIDIA has been nowhere to be seen! And we're doing that while offering the world's best support for DirectX 9, 10 and 10.1 games too!
  • NVIDIA is late to deliver DirectX 11 hardware to market.

If you don't agree with my fourth bullet point above then I'd guess you'd probably argue that AMD should lock DX11 functionality to its own hardware, yes? Something we haven't done!

You talk about your purported "leadership in GPU computing" but today that's simply an empty claim.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Whose is the world's fastest available gaming GPU?
  2. Which is the first and only company selling DirectX 11 GPUs?
  3. Which company sells the GPU with the highest compute power?

I think if you look at the facts you'll have to concede that GPU leadership is presently AMD's - because the answer to every one of these questions is simply "AMD".

Richard Huddy [Graphics Developer Relations, AMD]

The debate is raging, and the beauty of the HEXUS.community forums is that the everyday gamer can take part and voice his/her opinion.

Want to have your say or respond to the comments made by representatives of both AMD and NVIDIA? Head on over to the HEXUS.community forums.

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