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NVIDIA Confirms Fermi Card was a Mock-up, but Demos were Real

Category: Video Cards
Posted: 03:55PM

After NVIDIA announced its new "Fermi" architecture this week, with CEO Jen-Hsun Huang holding up an example card during his keynote presentation, some began to wonder about the authenticity of that display model. Charlie Demerjian at SemiAccurate posted an article on Thursday, which used pictures from PC Watch to highlight suspicions that the card show on stage couldn't possibly have been a working Fermi board. A number of things about it just didn't look right, with components that obviously didn't line up with the PCB traces and the PCB itself being apparently cut down. NVIDIA have now confirmed that the card shown on stage was indeed a mock up model, though it also stresses that the demos shown during the conference claimed to be running on Fermi hardware were in fact doing just that. Apparently the real boards weren't in the kind of state that it wanted to be showing off, so we will have to wait for product shots once the designs have been finalised.

The question a number of people have therefore been asking is whether showing a mock up on stage without making it explicitly clear was a deliberately misleading move. We all know that in the GPU market, neither of the big two companies are above taking pots shots at the other to try and gain an advantage (even in purely marketing terms). From one perspective, mock ups of products certainly aren't unusual in presentations and NVIDIA would obviously like to give everyone present something representative of a final product to take a look at. On the other hand, the presentation of the card may have given the impression (intended or not) that development of the product was further along than it actually is. With the latest AMD GPUs already out there in the market, giving consumers a reason to hang on before making a purchase is desirable. I'll let you decide for yourselves on what NIVIDIA's intentions were, but either way, the GPU industry continues to be as exciting (or infuriating, depending on your outlook) as ever.

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Comp Dude2 on October 4, 2009 01:14AM
Wow........ chances of the demos being real as well ... 0%, if they had the card, then it takes 10 seconds to pull it out and wave it about. Who wants to see a 'mock up' because unless you look very closely most cards are physically very similar, long pcb with large heatsink, there isnt really anything to look at. Fail for the green team.
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Think about it on October 4, 2009 12:59PM
If you bothered to watch a video of the demo, then you would already know that the performance was greatly increased when compared to current generation nVidia GPUs. Therefor the demo was obviously real. As you already mentioned, "most cards are physically very similar, long pcb with large heatsink, there isnt really anything to look at." So why does it matter if a mockup was shown on stage? The answer is simple; it doesn't.
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Tahoe Wizard on October 4, 2009 05:06PM
Ethics always matter. In and of itself, this slight-of-hand matters little. But, one wonders where nVidia draws the line between fiction and fact. We know they tell little white lies. In question is whether they tell big dark ones.
Comp Dude2 on October 4, 2009 11:54PM
Video? all i could see on google was some water supposedly rendered on a GT300 but it could have been done on anything. And give Tahoe a cookie, going back to my original post, if they had the card.....then why not show it? Obviously they didn't have the card, so chose to lie instead.
Guest comment
Think about it on October 5, 2009 10:57AM
The live webcast. They also showed the n-body simulation using double precision floating point, which was far better than current GPUs. There could be a million reasons why he wasn't holding up a real card. Maybe the engineering samples didn't have a good paint job, maybe it was his lucky presentation card, maybe all the real cards were being used for something more useful. You can't draw any useful conclusions from that. I'm sorry I'm not a conspiracy theorist like you.

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