Posted by: theovalich | January 14, 2009

Nvidia prepares GeForce Tree-Hugging Edition

What happens if you sell cars, and the new model is coming at the time when your stock is full of old models? Well, what will happen is that you will put a nice sticker on it, advertise same standard features as “new ones”, “only in this special edition”, offer discounts and so on. You will also put a nice spin on what’s in the news and there you go. In the world of IT, we had the same thing happening over and over again. Nobody is immune to this basic car strategy, that being AMD with its renaming of Radeon X1K parts into “HD 2000″ (for low end and notebook parts”… etc.

Here comes Nvidia. The company is manufacturing GeForce 9600 chips in 55nm process, and the problem is that competing Radeon 4600 series is well, selling like hotcakes. The answer: GeForce 9600GT Green Edition (seriously, why the heck is this product not named 9600GE or just 9600 Green… who comes with these names, daamit?).

Anyways, 9600GT Tree Hugging edition is nothing else but lowering the voltage by 0.1V while keeping the same clock.  In that way, Nvidia could even brand GeForce GTX260 and 285 and call them Green… but of course, if there wasn’t for all that clockspeed raising to get the performance lead over Radeon 4870. Still, GeForce GTX285 is a nice power saver… if you can call 200W eating card a power saving one.

Funky part is, nobody is reporting about materials used in production of graphics cards. AMD, Intel and Nvidia can say whatever they want, but massive majority of their chips is produced using Lead and other hazardous materials. Certain CPU manufacturer may have announced lead-free production, but it is only in selective lines and yeah, in order to build a computer with their lead free component, you need to buy two or three more chips from them that contain lead. And other “nicely-named” elements. IT industry is not green, sans the color of substrate used on 99.9% of flip-chip packages (FC).

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  1. Did Charlie Demerjian write this ? :)

  2. […] IT industry is not green, sans the color of substrate used on 99.9% of flip-chip packages (FC). source Lowering the voltage by 0.1V is enough to make a Green Edition card?!!??! Nvidia’s naming schemes […]

  3. LOL… nope, it was me. Whoever rebrands without merit (IMO, their renaming to G, GT, GTX is a good thing) will get ripped.

    To call a GPU green… well, I have an issue with that. Especially if it does not offer mass savings… this time around, nV deserves the wrap.

  4. 0.1V undervolting and they cal it “green”??? at the same frequency… I wonder who came out with that idea at NVidia labs…

    It would be much better that the card had the ability to undervolt and underclock accordingly to the GPU work in real time, without the use of third party software… that would be “greenish”, at least…

  5. Well, dynamic clock is used by both nV and ATI… their target clocks (identified by Rivatuner, GPU-Z and other utilities) are ref. clocks for specific parts of the gpu, but both nV and ATI feature aggressive power saving techniques… for instance, GT200 has over 30 different “dynamic” power parts of the chip. ATI chopped the GPU in 28 parts on the 3800 series, I forgot what was the figure on RV770…

  6. Yes, Theo, but I meant something more drastic… selling a video card as “green” or “treehugging” (jesus, who came out with that?!?!) just because it has a mere reduction of 0,1V is a joke… IMHO… I’d be curious to see the actual power reduction.

    I installed in my GF’s and mine laptops Crystal CpuID, and since both laptops have AMD mobile processors, underclocking and undervolting on the fly is working on both systems like a charm.

    I measured power reduction on my laptop (17″ display, ATI X700 radeon mobility video card, 40GB HD, AMD Turion 64 ML-32 1,8GHz: in idle, with Crystal CpuID, it consumes 40W, and the CPU is underclocked to 796MHz @ 0.875V, while under stress (Orthos + video playback at full screen mode – 1680×1050 resolution) power consumption goes up to 75W with 1,8GHz @ 1,45V.

    The software works fairly better than proprietary AMD power saving system, and I can even set an intermediate step in between min and max settings.

    We are talking about a whole system, here, but does the dynamic clock you referr to allow this is such a friendly way?

  7. […] Nvidia prepares GeForce Tree-Hugging Edition […]

  8. The issue is also not just the meager .1v savings but the fact the almost ALL GPUs use lead in their makeup.
    As lead heats it exudes a harmful chemical that is actually toxic to most forms of life.
    Unless nV has removed all lead there is no way in h#$77 it can be green.
    This is just feel good spin like Apple’s recent “Greenest Laptop Ever”

  9. To say the truth, I believe that lead is present almost everywhere in PCs… but that’s only the final ring of the pollution chain: think about how much a PC part manufacturer pollutes to let you have your latest gaming card.

    The problem is not in the card itself, but on who designs it: if they do not change their mentality of “high profit / low manufacturing cost” we will not improve the production chain, thus bringing to the market products that are polluting our world even before they are out of the factory.

    The voltage reduction, then, seems just like if the manufacturer says: “hey, look we are doing something for the planet!” As you said, Sean, just a marketing hype, in the end…

  10. Well, if you deploy your part to do something for greater good, that might be forgiven.

    That’s why PC manufacturers should deploy real green policies, instead of acting that they’re green. Rather stay shut and keep your head low than advertise something that will – actually, turn attention on you.

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