Without any doubt, Kepler represents the biggest shift in the way of thinking in the past six years. This new architecture focuses on efficiency like no other architecture from NVIDIA. In a way, Kepler represents NVIDA's "Core architecture" which shifted Intel towards more power efficient and higher performing designs.
This is the first time that a high-end part consumes significantly less power than its predecessor and actually removes the obligatory 8+6-pin power connector for a more modest 6+6 one. The "Performance per Watt" and "Instructions Per Clock" mantras are visible in every part of the design and where GTX 680 stopped, GT 640M continued. Seeing a discrete GPU inside an Ultrabook is rare enough, but seeing that GPU running Battlefield 3 in native resolution with all the details turned on is something we haven't witnessed on high-end notebooks, yet alone on a product which weighs as much as two past-gen GTX 580 cards.
According to Pat Moorhead, former Corporate VP and Corporate Fellow at AMD and a President and Principal Analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, NVIDIA has a true winner on their hands:"Having NVIDIA’s new high performance graphics inside Ultrabooks is good for the entire ecosystem of consumers, channel partners, OEMs, ODMs, game ISVs and of course, NVIDIA:
- Consumers get between 2-10X the gaming performance plus all the other Ultrabook attributes.
- Channel partners, OEMs, and ODMs can now offer a much more differentiated and profitable line of Ultrabooks.
- Game ISVs and their distribution partners can now participate more fully in the Ultrabook ecosystem."
Even though the products punch above expectations, we're still worried what happened to GPGPU computing and how come NVIDIA is seriously lagging behind AMD now. According to company representatives, GPGPU functionality will be only known in mid-May, in time for the GPU Technology Conference which takes place in San Jose, CA.
Overall, NVIDIA executed probably the best architecture launches to date - this is the first time the company launched not one, but two GPUs at the same time and have hardware availability from day one (ok, Acer had availability in stores eight days ahead). We look forward to see how partners will take the two launched and two upcoming GPUs and compete in the market against Intel's Ivy Bridge and AMD's Fusion on the low-end, and AMD's Southern Islands-based GPUs on mainstream, performance and high-end levels.
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