Introduction, NVIDIA, ATI, AMD

Comdex 2003 Summary

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Comdex 2003 was by far the smallest I have ever seen it. Not a good sign for a convention that has been decreasing in attendance since the late 1990s. Everyone is murmuring that this may in fact be the last time we come to Vegas for Comdex and instead we’ll see the January Consumer Electronic Show expand to pick up what is left of the Comdex Expo. Sniff.

That didn’t stop us from meeting with several vendors while we were out here – we just spent our time at other areas outside the convention center such as the Venetian and Four Seasons.


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The first event we witnessed at COMDEX was the official launch of NVIDIA’s new GeForce FX Go 5700 mobile GPU. Based upon the new NV36 architecture produced by IBM, this GPU represents a significant improvement in performance over the previous generation GeForce FX Go 5600 series. In addition to sharing some preliminary performance benchmarks which outlined the progression of the new architecture, representatives from both EPIC and Electronic Arts were on hand to endorse the product. Here, the audience was shown game play footage from upcoming titles such as Unreal Tournament 2004 and Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault. In each case, the game was run on a mobile platform which was using the new GeForce FX Go 5700. Although the hardware being used was still somewhat unpolished, the card appeared to have no trouble running maximum quality settings at acceptable frame-rates. It will be interesting to see how the final product performs when we begin seeing laptops with this GPU early next year.

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In addition to the mobile product launch, NVIDIA was showcasing the rest of its product lines ranging from graphics cards to motherboard chipsets. Of particular interest was a dual-processor workstation/server board from Iwill featuring the new nForce3 Pro 250 chipset. Although we have seen several nForce3 boards targeting the professional user, the new DK8N represents one of the first boards to support dual-processors. Speaking of nForce3 chipsets, we also came across a few examples of laptops which are utilizing the new nForce3 Go150. Looking at the wall illustrating all NVIDIA’s mobile design wins, it should be interesting to see how the industry accepts this new mobile chipset.


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ATI was at the convention center to showcase its latest products ranging from the Radeon Mobility 9600 to the flagship Radeon 9800XT. Although the company had no major news to share that we can speak of at this time, they did give us the opportunity to use the latest version of their MultiMedia Center 8.8. Despite being strictly limited to ATI hardware at this time, the newest version of this software suite packs robust functionality including EAZYSHARE networking support. Whether a system is physically or wirelessly connected to the network, a signal can be shared through multiple systems with no signal degradation or loss in functionality.


AMD’s booth was located at the Las Vegas Hilton, just a walk through a skywalk from the convention center. There was not a large amount of new product or information for them to share with us, but they did have the usual suspects – walls of motherboards servers, systems and notebooks based on the AMD64 processors.

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Here is the wall full of Athlon 64 754-pin motherboards AMD was showcasing. Nearly all the manufacturers are represented here.

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Here we see the newly release 2.2 GHz Opterons being showcased in the 848 and 248 forms. The prior is in a 4-way server solution from Newisys and the latter in a 2P workstation from Boxx Technologies.

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Here we have two Athlon 64 notebooks – the first form Voodoo and the second an Alienware system.

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This system was supposedly running on a 90nm Opteron, though we weren’t allowed to open it up to take a look.

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Finally, here is a picture of a European specialty – the Ferrari made Athlon XP notebook.

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