Thursday, October 1, 2009

Nvidia introduces next-generation graphics chip: ‘Fermi’

Nvidia Fermi graphics card Jen-Hsun Huang
Image Source:
Nvidia chief executive Jen-Hsun Huang holds up one of the first
graphics cards based on the new Fermi chipset

While the new ATI Radeon HD5850 is winning accolades all over the Internet for its great performance, Nvidia isn’t one to be left far behind. At its GPU Technology Conference in San Jose, California, the company announced yesterday that it has created a next-generation graphics chipset, which it is code-naming ‘Fermi’.
Fermi has more than 3 billion transistors and has 512 parallel processors, or more than twice the number from last year’s chip, said Jen-Hsun Huang, chief executive of Nvidia. The 3 billion transistors are a significant leap over the ATI 5850’s 2.15 billion transistors!
Here are some of the salient features of the new technology:
  • C++, complementing existing support for C, Fortran, Java, Python, OpenCL and DirectCompute.
  • ECC, a critical requirement for datacenters and supercomputing centers deploying GPUs on a large scale
  • 512 CUDA Cores featuring the new IEEE 754-2008 floating-point standard, surpassing even the most advanced CPUs
  • 8x the peak double precision arithmetic performance over NVIDIA’s last generation GPU. Double precision is critical for high-performance computing (HPC) applications such as linear algebra, numerical simulation, and quantum chemistry
  • NVIDIA Parallel DataCache – the world’s first true cache hierarchy in a GPU that speeds up algorithms such as physics solvers, raytracing, and sparse matrix multiplication where data addresses are not known beforehand
  • NVIDIA GigaThread Engine with support for concurrent kernel execution, where different kernels of the same application context can execute on the GPU at the same time (eg: PhysX fluid and rigid body solvers)
  • Nexus – the world’s first fully integrated heterogeneous computing application development environment within Microsoft Visual Studio

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