updated 10:40 am EDT, Fri October 30, 2009
NVIDIA Fermi details escape
A pair of leaks have revealed NVIDIA's Fermi hardware should both be a dramatic visual upgrade and have a quick release of mobile parts. A post today on a Chinese forum shows samples of the graphics chipset that include 3D rendered faces with both extremely high detail as well as particularly complex visual effects, such as natural-looking facial hair or skin glare. One also shows the level of detail possible with relatively fast raytraced lighting.
The acceleration will come both through the sheer number of advanced cores, topping out at 512 cores for the fastest models, as well as an architecture that increasingly favors professional modeling courtesy of its general-purpose architecture. NVIDIA is set to launch the cards as the GeForce 300 series and may have the first cards out by the end of the year.
Simultaneously, a second set of forum users have noted that NVIDIA itself has accidentally but briefly confirmed its readiness to launch notebook versions of Fermi in the near future. While not necessarily reflective of the entire lineup, the initial chipsets seen in a driver page appear to be aimed at the mid-to-low end. The GeForce GTS 360M appears to be the lone performance chip while the GT 335M and GT 330M will be two closely related mainstream models. The GeForce 310M and 305M together are likely to be the very low end aimed at systems that need just slightly more than integrated graphics.
It's not evident how soon any of the 300M parts will ship, though this will partly depend on notebook designers integrating the line into computers.