GeForce 3 with 128bit/256bit DDR memory interface

More thoughts on the GF3 from Dr. tnaw_xtennis.

There are speculations whether NVIDIA will incorporate a 256bit DDR memory
interface on the GeForce3 that will be released in a few days. Though there
has been potent evidence that GeForce3 will support 256bit DDR memory
interface, the most probable way is 128bit version of GeForce3 will come out
first and then there will be 256bit version a few months later, just as the
cases of GeForce256 SDR and GeForce256 DDR.

The speculation continues here.

After performing the Quadro 2 hack on his GF2 Ultra, Forge notices that the problem of “Ultra Roll” (rolling bars of interference which can occur when a GF2 Ultra displays low resolution/high refresh desktops) is gone. Anyone else care to comment?

Comments closed
    • TwoFer
    • 19 years ago

    Forge, how will that badboy take to my oc’d AGP bus? Still overclockable to any real extent?

    • Forge
    • 19 years ago

    Twofer – As soon as the Next Big Thing comes out, I have a GF2 Ultra that runs Ultra speeds, plus it’s a Quadro. Ought to have an slight edge on the stock card, what with memory bandwidth being up another 60Mhz. But anyway, like I was starting to say… As soon as the NBT hits streets, you can have my GF2U/Q2P for whatever Ultras are going for at that point. Since I’m thinking about waiting for NV25 anyway, you have time to save up a few pennies.

    • TwoFer
    • 19 years ago

    lenzenm, the present race is between SONICblue’s Diamond FireGL2 and Elsa’s GloriaIII, from CADalyst’s recent review — check
    §[<http://www.cadalyst.com/reviews/hardware/0201gcards/index.html<]§ Both those cards are around $1200 on the street (maybe a bill less for the Elsa card); the Diamond FireGL2 beats the GloriaIII by about 25% on their benchmark series, and by better than 35% in AutoCAD 2000 -- but the Gloria was running reference drivers, not the tuned set from Elsa... so it will no doubt catch up quite a bit when the real drivers release. But then, SONICblue's busy releasing new drivers, too. FWIW, the 3Dlabs Oxygen GVX420 (at $2500, more than twice the price) had about half the performance of the SONICblue card... hardly worth it, especially considering it takes up two slots. A year and a half ago, the race was between the Diamond FireGL1 and GloriaII: §[<http://www.cadalyst.com/reviews/hardware/0400gcards/index.html<]§ They were priced the same, a bit under $750, and traded performance ranking -- the Gloria was a bit better at CADalyst's benchmark series, but the FireGL whomped it pretty well in AutoCAD. Their competitor was the Intense 3D Wildcat 4110, topping the benches and falling between the other two cards in AutoCAD 2K. Of course, it then cost over two grand, too... Bottom line: I think I'd agree with you, and pick the Diamond FireGL2 right now; I don't think the GloriaIII will beat it even with final drivers, and I'm sure the Fire's output looks nicer -- all the GeForce variants have had a bad rep when it came to image quality, and the Quadro's aren't any different. (It appears to be the RF filtering that does this -- at least in part -- and I'd bet the resistor hack would help on this... but I dunno if it'd fix it all.) I'm still getting up the nerve to pay over a grand for a graphics card. So I keep thinking of modding a GeForce... half the price ain't bad! Forge -- it's interesting that the FireGL2 has a 256-bit rasterizer and DDR interface... makes me wonder what the GloriaIV might look like, if Nvidia goes with a wider bus.

    • Forge
    • 19 years ago

    lenzenm – Damnfino. *shrug*

    Twofer – There will be *three* product IDs out of NV in the next month or three, this is all I’m really sure of. It may be that we see GF3, Gloria 4, and Synergy 4. I really don’t care. I just want to see the 256bit card.

    • lenzenm
    • 19 years ago

    Why would I EVER want a Quaddro-X (unless I could mod a standard GeForce-X into one for 1/2 the price, of course). I’d much rather purchase the IBM/Diamond Fire GL-X, or 3DLabs Oxygen-X equivalent for the same price. I have utilized (not as extensively as I wanted, though) the best from all 3 vendors over the years, and while the Quaddro rocks as a game card, its merely average as a CAD renderer.
    TwoFer, you probally have more experience with the high-end stuff than I do…what’s your thoughts?

    • TwoFer
    • 19 years ago

    Forge (#13) — I suspect they’ll also do a “Quadro-ized” version of their “GF3 MX,” which will then become Elsa’s SynergyIV or whatever they’ll calling it.

    The Quadro3 (Gloriai[

    • TwoFer
    • 19 years ago

    Hey, Forge, it all depends on the individual architecture — you might even be right about NVIDIA’s…

    Maybe. 😉

    • Forge
    • 19 years ago

    I stand for my b!tchslapping, pour it on.

    I was wrong in my conclusions. Sorry.

    • Anonymous
    • 19 years ago

    Additional to Forge’s comment #3, I seem to recall the ET6000 accelerator from Tseng Labs used 6MB configurations – see

    §[<http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:www.hardwaregroup.com/pipermail/hardware/Week-of-Mon-20000410/034216.html+et6000+6mb&hl=en&lr=lang_en<]§ for a possible example. Or groove on down to §[<http://www.avault.com/hardware/getreview.asp?review=stbls128<]§ where there's a review of a 2.25MB card. Of course, the fact that Tseng Labs seem to have largely sunk without trace might speak volumes here, too...

    • Forge
    • 19 years ago

    P.S. – I think the 128bit 64Mb GeForce 3 we’re about to receive is the MX-type card. It ought to come down in price *fast* after the 256bit card hits shelves, and it’s performance is real close to GF2 ultra’s. I’ll bet we see three total cards in the next few months, as Nvidia left three ‘NVIDIA card’ entries active in the 0.9-6 linux drivers, and those’re supposed to remain in use for a month or two more, at least. I’d bet my paycheck we’ll see cards in this order:

    GeForce 3 – 128bit, rapidly falling to under 500$
    Quadro 3 – 128 or 256bit, probably the latter. Megabucks price tag.
    GeForce 3 Pro/Ultra/Plus – 256bit, 128mb, greatly increased speed. Probably ~600$, maybe ~700$.

    I bet NV isn’t announcing anything but GF3 and later Q3 in order to maximize sales. Who would’ve bought a 32Mb GF2 if they’d known a 64Mb GF2 Pro would cost the same amount a few months later, with much higher performance?

    • Forge
    • 19 years ago

    Well, I didn’t mean it be an indication of NV’s plans, it was just an idea on how NV could make 128Mb cards more affordable. I’d expect to see the 256bit cards packing ~128Mb of memory, running at around 200/400 DDR speed (800Mhz effective ram speed). Core ought to be between 200 and 300Mhz. We’ll have to wait and see.

    • TargetBoy
    • 19 years ago

    Forge, I thought part of the problem with the current series of chips was that they were too limited in memory bandwidth. With all of the new features, anti-aliasing, and such, why would they want to maintain the status quo in memory bandwidth, instead of increasing it to better support the features of the chip?

    If the pattern sticks, they would need to have a 128bit “MX” style release that is as fast as a GF2 GTS, like the GF2 MX was as fast as the GeForce SDR.

    • Forge
    • 19 years ago

    The thing is, though, if the new 128Mb card is 256bit, you could use ram half as fast and still get the same memoryy bandwidth.

    Assuming wildly, the GeForce 3 will run 200/460, the GeForce 3 512 (since the 128bit GF was GeForce 256…) could run 250/333. 333Mhz is roughly ~5Gb/s, 460Mhz was ~7.4Gb/s, 333Mhz 256bit would be almost 10Gb/s. That’s a big hop up in my book, and 256Bit at only 333Mhz shouldn’t be incredibly hard to find. If those extra pins are really for 256bit ram, that buys Nvidia a lot of time to get over their memory bandwidth dependancy.

    • TargetBoy
    • 19 years ago

    Forge, I agree that I have never heard of an NVIDIA card with an “odd” amount of RAM. Since I was making WAG anyhow, I didn’t want to just assume 128MB, since that is a helluva price premium, on top of a helluva expensive piece of hardware.

    NVIDIA is certainly raking in the bucks on these cards, but a significant portion of the price is the memory cost and doubling that memory cost would put the hypothetical 128MB video card close to $1000, or more, if they use Ultra timed memory.

    • Anonymous
    • 19 years ago

    “my old NumberNine Revolution3D had 12MB ”

    I’m not sure I would go around admitting that I owned that POS! LOL!

    • Forge
    • 19 years ago

    Hmm, interesting. Good thing I put my ‘I may be talking out my @$$’ disclaimers in there. 🙂

    As far as real facts, I know NV has discussed 64 and 128. I haven’t heard diddly about 96Mb cards in any context.

    • TwoFer
    • 19 years ago

    Ummmm, Forge? Dunno about NVIDIA cards, but my old NumberNine Revolution3D had 12MB — and they came with 4, 8, 12 and 16, all one bank.

    • Forge
    • 19 years ago

    Pure top of my head thought here, but…

    Target boy – I believe graphics cards are limited to doubling. This would make 1,2,4, 8,16,32,64,128, and 256Mb of video ram valid, but e.g. 48 and 96Mb invalid. I don’t have any hard evidence, but this is what appears to be true.

    P.S. 12Mb voodoo2’s don’t count, as they viewed their ram as one 8mb bank and one 4Mb bank.

    • Anonymous
    • 19 years ago

    I heard that there would be four 64 bit memory interfaces so that could use cheaper 64 bit ram and then add as many banks of it as nessecary to scale performance for different markets. This would be a pretty crafty move because it would mean one less piece of the core that would have to modded in a budget version of the card. Of course, it was a throughly unconfirmed rumor too.

    • TargetBoy
    • 19 years ago

    The other alternative is that the 128bit interface will be used for a Geforce3 MX and that the premium card will have 96 or 128MB of RAM instead of 64.

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