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Graphics Hardware

Nvidia Fakes Fermi Boards At GPU Tech Conference 212

Posted by Soulskill
from the red-handed dept.
fragMasterFlash writes with this excerpt from SemiAccurate: 'In a really pathetic display, Nvidia actually faked the introduction of its latest video card, because it simply doesn't have boards to show. Why? Because it didn't get enough parts to properly bring them up, much less make demo boards. ... Notice that the three screws that hold the end plate on are, well, generic wood screws. Large flat -head Phillips screws. Home Depot-grade screws that don't even sit flush. If a card is real, you hold it on with the bolts on either side of the DVI connector. Go look at any GPU you have; do you see wood screws that don't mount flush or DVI flanking bolts? ... If you look at the back of the fake Fermi, [from this PC Watch picture], you can see that the expected DVI connector wires are not there, just solder-filled holes. No stubs, no tool marks from where they would be cut out. Basically, the DVI port isn't connected to anything with solder, so they had to use screws on the plate."
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Nvidia Fakes Fermi Boards At GPU Tech Conference

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  • Who cares... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bentov (993323)
    A company faked a product...won't be the first time, won't be the last time.
    • Re:Who cares... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Saturday October 03, 2009 @08:28AM (#29625847) Journal

      Exactly. What is the point of this "news" anyway? Lots of times companies build something that looks kinda like the product but isn't it. This was same with Wii on E3 too before it was released. It wasn't the actual Wii at all.

      The purpose is to show off their new products that are coming. Sure, they could you just have a paper that lists the features. But as people are physically there, they might like to see something too. If it's not fully build yet, they have to make up a prototype to show. It doesn't really change anything with the product - when it gets out, reviewers will tell if it sucks then.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by MogNuts (97512)

        The second I saw NVidia articles I knew that this was just a PR thing just so that people don't forget about them after ATI's launch. I knew their product wasn't finished and they had to show *something* in development, but c'mon, you have to admit this is pretty funny. I mean--wooden screws and boards!

        I didn't know it would be *this* bad, LOL.

        • by Bigjeff5 (1143585) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @11:39AM (#29627317)

          I mean--wooden screws and boards!

          They are wood screws, not wooden screws. Wooden screws are made of wood, wood screws are made to screw into wood, and are made of steel.

          The boards themselves look legit - except for the odd screws and lack of an actual DVI connection to the board.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by CarpetShark (865376)

        Exactly. What is the point of this "news" anyway?

        What are you, stupid? The question you should be asking is, what's the point of showing a fake product, if not to deceive? There isn't one. If it was intended as an artist's interpretation of a future product, they could have just said so. Clearly this is part of a false advertising campaign to promote their product, and make it seem like they're ahead of rivals when in fact they still have plenty of work to do.

        • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

          by sopssa (1498795) *

          Because products in development are never like the final versions. That is because they are in development. But people in these conferences like to see something physical, so its better to make up something that looks like the final product along with telling about the features.

          If the upcoming product shown in these conferences would be the final version, why aren't they selling it already?

          • But people in these conferences like to see something physical

            Of course they do, but why do you think that is? Because they're just dumb punters who like physical objects, even if they're fakes? Or because they actually care about seeing the REAL stage of production, the effort going in, the technical hurdles, seeing the real product before it hits the shelves, etc.? You don't lie to people just because you know they want to hear it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          It's completely normal, and there is no deception.

          Do you think Nvidia suddenly lost the ability to bring a product to market?

          That they'll never produce another product?

          Stop trolling

    • Re:Who cares... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 03, 2009 @10:13AM (#29626573)

      The original CD player comes to mind. They demoed it as a small elegant device on the desk, hardly bigger than the actual CD. Under the table, hidden by the tablecloth, were the hulking electronics. But they knew that miniaturisation of the electronics would be just a matter of time and they wanted to show what the system could be.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 03, 2009 @08:28AM (#29625849)

    This is actually a lot more common than you might think. Lots of tech shows (whether it's cell phones, computer parts, etc) bring "fake" models in. Sometimes it's just the production case with weights in. Sometimes, when a device needs to be outputting video, what you see is just a movie being played as opposed to its actual output.

    Recently, netbook manufacturers have been caught doing it. During shows, you can see some brand new, thin and light netbook with a sign as "display model only". When show-goers pick it up, they see empty holes where USB, power, and ethernet connections should be. All that's there is a LCD, a keyboard, and a plastic shell.

  • by micksam7 (1026240) * on Saturday October 03, 2009 @08:28AM (#29625855)

    Little update found on this article: http://www.fudzilla.com/content/view/15798/34/ [fudzilla.com]

  • by Dolphinzilla (199489) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @08:29AM (#29625859) Journal

    Having built many a prototype board in my day I can tell you I have utilized all manner of odds and ends including not only wood screws but wood as well - I don't think it means the card is a fake, it may be an engineering prototype or a software development board or whatever. I personally don't see anything in the photos that screams to me "FAKE" !

    • by Raxxon (6291) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @08:33AM (#29625873)

      Exactly my thoughts. And according to a fudzilla article linked above, this basically what happened. The actual "product" is an engineering build and not something they want a PR guy waving around so they gave him a mock-up of it.

      Personally, I don't give a damn what their hype machine has to say about anything. When they get silicon in production and I can "reasonably" expect to get it physically in-hand, then I'll start paying attention... Served me well for "waiting" on Duke Nukem Forever. :p

    • And yet, you still make excuses for them? [fudzilla.com] Any other company would get slaughtered in the press for such an obvious stunt...
      • by ceoyoyo (59147)

        So what? They gave the PR drone a fake one to wave around and used the real one to do the demo.

        If they faked the demo, now that's a problem. But they didn't.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by darien (180561)

          Just on a point of information, the "PR drone" was actually Jen-Hsun Huang, company president and CEO. If the card he was waving around was a mockup, he surely knew about it.

          Not that I see that it matters. Huang openly admitted they're at least "a few months" away from production, and it was strongly implied at the press conference that GeForce models would come before Quadro and Tesla (lots of airy talk about high-end customers running to different cycles). It was a cute spot that this was, most likely, no

    • Totally faked. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hattig (47930) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @08:40AM (#29625921) Journal

      The end of the motherboard was roughly dremmelled off to match the fan enclosure (that is surely the designed fan enclosure for the card). The power connectors were glued on, and didn't match the solder pads for said connectors (indeed one was mostly sawed off).

      Prototype? No. This card can't work.
      Blatant fake presented as a working board? Yes.
      Back-pedalling and claiming it is a mock up after the fact? Yes.

      • Re:Totally faked. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by celeb8 (682138) <celeb8@gmail. c o m> on Saturday October 03, 2009 @09:26AM (#29626163)
        The point is that noone could really make themselves care that they showed a mock-up rather than the real product. When they hook it to a monitor and claim that they're showing it in action, THEN I'll give a rat's ass about the hardware in their silly little hands. THEN maybe you'll see outrage if they use a fake. This is, as described above, a non-issue. All this ado over nothing makes me wonder if ATI doesn't have an astroturfing campaign going on or something. (disclosure: I use ATI cards, mostly)
        • by Lehk228 (705449)
          NVidia just kicked a hornet's nest the other day by not allowing their cards to run as a physics accelerator unless another of theirs was used as the display adapter. That is my guess as to why people are getting worked up over this.
          • by Pyrion (525584) *

            I would also expect people to have long-enough memories to remember when nvidia was blaming OEMs and users for what amounted to nvidia's single defining royal fuckup - anyone remember Bumpgate?

      • by m.ducharme (1082683) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @09:29AM (#29626185)

        Ferocious nerds with no life? Check.

    • I have done likewise, and I agree.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Hurricane78 (562437)

      Well, as TFS (yeah, that's right, you didn't even read that!) states, the DVI connector is not actually connected! So it can't actually display anything. Which by definition means, it's no a working graphics card. Which is another way of saying that it's FAKE. :)

    • Ya well (Score:5, Informative)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @09:45AM (#29626309)

      Notice the source. The site semi accurate is run by a guy, Charlie Demerjian, who was fired from The Inquirer for a number of reasons, including making shit up. In particular, this guy has it in for nVidia. I don't remember the details of why he has it in for them, I think they cut him out of the information loop because he leaked some info he wasn't supposed to. Regardless, he hates nVidia and does everything he can to make them look bad. In his case, that includes just straight out making shit up.

      So that's why he's making such a big deal of this being a fake. He wants it to be fake because, well I dunno, I guess that is somehow a "win" in his mind.

      Personally I find it funny since companies do mockups for demonstrations all the time. Wouldn't at all surprise me if the card he was holding was such a mockup.

      At any rate as with most things in life, you want to check sources, and on the Internet that is doubly true. Some people have an agenda to push and will... modify, to put it mildly, the truth to suit their needs. I though we'd all be well aware of that after all the political BS of recent years :P.

      • Re:Ya well (Score:5, Informative)

        by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @11:21AM (#29627173)

        Charlie Demerjian, who was fired from The Inquirer for a number of reasons, including making shit up.

        Like what? That's a hell of a big accusation just to take on faith.

        I think they cut him out of the information loop because he leaked some info he wasn't supposed to.

        Unlikely. Because the Inq never signs NDAs. That's their official policy and has been since Mike Magee founded it. [theinquirer.net]

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Sycraft-fu (314770)

          Just because it wasn't NDA'd doesn't mean he was supposed to reveal it. There is a little thing called "honor" and some people in the world still have it and assume others do as well. For example some time ago I was e-mailing back and forth with a guy from SVSound. He decided to let me know about a new upcoming product that wasn't public information yet (their surround speakers, which were announced on their news page a month ago). He asked me to please not go posting it on forums at that time, until they a

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by makomk (752139)

          It's entirely bullshit, from what I can tell. He was sacked at the same time as a whole bunch of the Inquirer's writing staff, most likely for cost-cutting reasons rather than anything else.

      • by citizenr (871508)
        Did they claim it was _real working prototype"? Yes
        Was it a fake wooden mockup? Yes
        The rest is irrelevant.
      • You know, I had noticed a very anti-nVidia bias from the Inquirer before and once I saw your post I realized I hadn't seen any of that sort of thing for a while. Good post. As a disinterested observer I'll confirm that The Inquirer definitely has (had?) it in for nVidia for some reason.

      • Charlie is known for being divulging information about the NVIDIA graphics chip manufacturing defect [arstechnica.com] that affected Dell, HP, Apple and others. NVIDIA kept claiming there was no defect until the hardware manufacturers put them in their place. Like someone else said here, The Inquirer did not sign NDAs, so NVIDIA did not cut him from anything.
      • by Ecuador (740021)

        I always found ATI cards work better for me (HTPC setups - I am not a gamer), however even I am not a "fanboi", so I can easily see Charlie's strong bias. It is not that he makes up facts, as far as I have seen, he bases his articles on information that turns out to be true or mostly true. However, he blows things way out of proportion, and his sarcastic style of writing is most definitely not proper for journalistic use.

        In this case, he does have a good point. Go to http://www.nvidia.com/object/fermi_arch [nvidia.com]

      • Agreed.

        As soon as I saw 'Fudzilla' and 'nVidia' in the same sentence, I knew it was going to be a bucket of accusations. From the moment nVidia released the GTX295, I've noticed their articles always have a tag about nVidia being shitty or deceptive in some manner.

        At first, I thought he was an ATI fanboy, but from other comments I've seen, I don't think he cares all that much about hardware performance as attempting to stick it to companies he doesn't exactly care for.

        That said, I read his site daily since

      • Re:Ya well (Score:5, Funny)

        by jpmorgan (517966) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @01:43PM (#29628339) Homepage
        Getting fired from The Inquirer for playing fast and loose with the truth is like getting kicked out Atilla's horde for being a little TOO good at raping and pillaging. Kind of impressive, in a disturbing way.
    • They look more like the screws used to mount hard disks/CD drives.

  • faker (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 03, 2009 @08:33AM (#29625871)

    Those do not look like wood screws to me. not even close. They appear way too small and they dont appear to be counter sunk. Go to lowes and see if you can find any wood screws that match. They do remind me of the ones used to mount motherboards or for mounting 5 1/4 and 3 1/2 drives. And my geforce 7800 gtx has those stand offs with both dvi connectors. I didnt realize that was novel.

    • Re:faker (Score:5, Informative)

      by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @09:53AM (#29626379)

      I have to agree. I don't see wood screws. What I do see is wide head machine screws holding the backplate to the assembly. Maybe it's because I work in a shop that only manufacture electronics for a specific mission, but I didn't see anything out of the ordinary. Much less anything worthy of the hyperbole and sensationalism coming from this article...

      I do think that some assembly parts may not fit well or are meant for a different product which could explain the bad fit and finish. Anyway seems like a non-story to me..

      • Yeah, I never saw wood screws with a rounded head on them like that. Not to mention chrom dipped. I mean, if you were going to go to the trouble of chrome dipping some wood screws you sanded down to look like machine screws, you really have to be diabolical in all the wrong ways.

      • Look more closely, at the PCB, the other end of it.

        If you don't notice any of it, then I pity your boss. IT HAS BEEN CUT OFF! They sawed of the end of a PCB straight through stickers and electronics and you don't see anything wrong?

        Mind you, I think what we got here is just a mock-up. That is extremely common. You produce the working prototype that works but is ugly and a mockup that doesn't work but is pretty.

        But saying you can't see any goofs in this mock-up means you are either blind or haven't the sl

      • "As you can see from the picture above of my Radeon HD5870 sitting on my HD4890, the end plate is more than capable of being held on without wood screws."

        Anyone care to explain what the heck we're looking at in this picture? I see what looks like a poor video capture of a couple of video cards, but I can't make out anything relevant.

        Maybe this guy has a point, but it's damn hard to see what he's talking about from the pictures. The only one that I agree looks bogus is the one where the board is cut flush

    • Re:faker (Score:4, Informative)

      by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki.gmail@com> on Saturday October 03, 2009 @11:09AM (#29627041) Homepage

      That was my thought. These look like self-tapping machine screws, w/30-45 offset at the head for pulling sheet metal into a offset groove for panel mounting(read: need a impact screwdriver to use properly or bevel punch). You can get chrome woodscrews, they're rare as anything(defeats the purpose of hiding them in case a plug fallout when putting wood furniture together), much easier to find sheet metal screws, or self-tapping metal of the same type.

      I call FUD on the article.

    • I believe DVI needs those flanking standoffs as part of the spec.
      Every VGA port I've seen has them too.

      No idea what they're complaining about there.

      The screws holding the backplate on, I'm pretty sure they're the ones nvidia uses to hold the x-bracket on the back of their cards on with. They don't look like wood screws to me.

  • by Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @08:39AM (#29625905)

    You'd think a company like Nvidia would be a bit more careful given their CEO's penchant for bold claims and harping on any perceived gaffe by competitors.

    I suspect this "announcement" was very rushed after AMD's recent announcement of their new DirectX 11 part that seems to outperform anything Nvidia has out at the moment and at a lower price point. Combine that with Intel's snub on producing chipsets for new/relevant PC platforms and one can imagine that Nvidia was anxious to appear competitive. Nvidia is in for a VERY tough slog.

    • This is just NVIDIA FUD so people will not buy a competitor's product and wait for their own product instead.
    • Well, it's not like nvidia just found out ATI was about to release a DX11 card. They are both sticking to long-standing roadmaps and there's not really anything to be surprised about.

      I don't think anyone is in a panic. Nvidia's GT200 line is still viable and there's no reason to rush out and upgrade until there are at least two manufacturers selling DX11 cards. Hell, there's no reason to buy DX11 support prior to DX11 actually being supported by anything. I recall rushing out to buy a DX9 card to get it ear

      • by Pyrion (525584) *

        In reality, they'll end up making more money off whatever big whitebox maker picks their low-end business class cards for their cheap desktops than their cutting edge products.

        Which is why I'll be very surprised, and unpleasantly so, if nVidia comes out ahead of any situation better than filing for bankruptcy protection, seeing as they burned many of the bridges they had with OEMs and their suppliers back during the whole bumpgate scandal with TSMC, Dell and HP. Especially with a cheap competitor like ATI

  • So the biggest complaint FTFA is the improvised/hobbiest/hurried/hasty assembly from Nvidia to make it for conference presentation? I'd say in the end it's still the card, it got demo'd and who cares. It'd be a different story if it was shipped out to the public consumer market that way, otherwise I wouldn't have a problem using it as long as it performed. Duct-tape Engineering at it's finest and it got Nvidia through their conference. I applaud. All that oppose, go cash your /. geek card in at the scr
  • Sobering (Score:2, Interesting)

    by HNS-I (1119771)
    This type of reporting is, in my opinion, one of the best things that have come out of the communication acceleration we have gone through. While many people here are already aware of these practices there many that aren't yet. This is the best weapon we have against the consumer manipulation that has been going on since WWII. I'm not saying that NVIDIA is a bad company, everyone does this, all we need is awareness about it.
  • by Stiletto (12066) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @08:50AM (#29625975)

    Anyone in the embedded systems biz who's ever gone to a trade show probably knows the "brick in the box" technique.

    1. You fab a slick looking enclosure for your "new product".
    2. You put a brick in the box.
    3. You show the box with wires coming out of it, and a PC behind the curtain displayinging the actual app.

    That way, you have something to show/promise/sell YEARS before an actual product is ready, and can blame the engineers for being slow to finish and test that "last 10%".

  • by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @08:53AM (#29625997)

    The author is apparently not that familiar with screws. "Not being countersunk" has little to do with what type of screw something is. Neither does being a "wood screw" have much to do with bing flush with a surface. It has to do with the screw being "pan-head", and whether the surface has been drilled to allow the screw to fit into it. (That's the 'counter-sunk' part.)

    To see if it's a "wood screw", a "machine screw", or a "sheet metal screw", you'd have to see the threads and especially the tip. Wood screws have broadly gapped threads, and a sharp tip, and generally a bit of a taper along their length to the point, designed to gouge themselves into the wood as you screw in but without splitting the wood. Sheet metal screws have closer spaced threads, a sharp tip, and much less taper or none: they're used to screw into soft metal like aluminum and gouge their way in, but you generally have to pre-drill a hole for them. Machine screws have closely spaced threads, no taper, no sharp tip, and require the hole to be pre-threaded to work.

    Counter-sinking takes time and a bit of skill to get just right without overdrilling and making the case weak. Merely tapping, or pre-threading is quicker: I can easily believe that a prototype would not be countersunk.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 03, 2009 @09:16AM (#29626089)

      Shocker, a Slashdot author unfamiliar with screwing.

    • You are correct. It's gratifying to see people that know something about hardware around here. I agree, those look like machine screws that have a place in the screw kits for working on computers. Either stainless or more likely, plated. I don't recall seeing a head for wood screw that looks like that.

    • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Saturday October 03, 2009 @10:05AM (#29626493) Homepage

      OK. He got the screws wrong. Big deal. Try reading the article.

      Some of the things NVidia did on their "working board" include: covering the SLI connector, not having the DVI connector wires go through vias, place the PCI-E power connectors wrong from where the board shows they should be, cut off the end of the board with a saw right though where there was more stuff, have half the vents on the back of the card completely blocked...

      This isn't just "they used the wrong screws", this is "total fake that couldn't possibly work". Saying it was a working board was a total lie.

      • by forkazoo (138186)

        This isn't just "they used the wrong screws", this is "total fake that couldn't possibly work". Saying it was a working board was a total lie.

        Meh, they didn't say that was a working board. They said the demo ran off a working board. No real value in playing show and tell with the real engineering samples, as they probably look less like a real card at this point than the mockup does.

      • The reason he bothered to correct the summary so well was because the summary spent so much time screaming "OMG WOOD SCREWZ!!!"

        Also, you are correct: claiming that what was pictured is a working board would be a total lie. As such, the article's author really shouldn't be stating that nvidia claimed that item was a working board, since they had another term for it: "mockup."

        In short, the author has an axe to grind with nvidia, and is looking for anything he can to make them look bad. In this case, making sh

      • by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @12:13PM (#29627619)

        Little things matter. When designing hardware, when building software, getting those little details right helps prevent errors and failures later on. The ranting about the wood screws dominated the original post: failing to correct that would help make anyone else who repeated the rant look like, well, like someone who shouldn't be trusted with a screwdriver.

        Getting those details right can help your credibility quite a lot when you fill out a bug report, a blog, or even a letter to family.

  • The screws just look like the screws you need use for hard drives. Wood screws are normally galvanized or black in color. As for the underside connection points, who knows how things are held together on the inside...or they faked it. Pics of the inside or its not a fake I say.
  • by richardkelleher (1184251) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @11:39AM (#29627331) Homepage
    I'm sorry, but this screws in the end plate are not wood screws. I work with wood on a regular basis and spent over a decade as a manufacturing engineer in electronics manufacturing. These screws are common assembly screws in electronics, not furniture. It is also common to leave off components on proto, demo or even production PCAs. Many circuits are designed to be partially populated using a single board with various levels of features. As far as "First Silicon" is concerned, if a chip is working to spec, there is no reason not to use it. While this may not be a production board (I have no way of knowing), it could be a working prototype. I'm beginning to think the writer is a bit of a drama queen.
  • by colonslashslash (762464) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @12:10PM (#29627599) Homepage
    From TFS:

    Top 5 Articles

    1. Nvidia GT300 yields are under 2%
    2. Nvidia fakes Fermi boards at GPU Technology Conference
    3. Apple keyboard firmware hack demonstrated
    4. Miracles happen, GT300 tapes out!
    5. Apple to Nvidia: Don't let the door hit your *ss on the way out

    Oh, and there's AMD/ATI adverts all over it. Who gives a fuck about nVidia using a mock up, companies do this all the time at tech shows. It's a non-issue! What is the issue is why an article from a site that is so obviously geared around slagging off nVidia was posted here.

    (and no, I'm not new here.)

    • by Khyber (864651)

      Actually nVidia is just a lying company.

      First off, they claim their "Universal driver architecture." This means if you have at least a GeForceFX card or higher, one set of drivers will work.

      This is not the case. I had to modify the .INF to get the 8600 recognized under XP.

      Then they pull the "If there's any other card in your system acting as display, no PhysX for you!" despite original claims.

      Now it's this.

      NVIDIA is just a lying sack of shit company and there's a good potential for an anti-trust suit agains

    • by Pyrion (525584) *

      There are adverts all over it? Where?

      Oh, you mean to tell me you don't use ABP and NoScript? Shame on you.

  • by wiredlogic (135348) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @02:07PM (#29628537)

    What's up with all the decorative crap that goes into video card housings these days? It would be nice to be able to get high end hardware that isn't burdened with fluff designed to appeal to the minimally sapient crowd.

  • They look like some of the flattop panheads that I've got around here. The tops of these screws are like pancakes, flat top and bottom with slightly rounded sides. They look exactly like that. I've got some in both 6-32 and 3mm.

    • They look like some of the flattop panheads that I've got around here. The tops of these screws are like pancakes, flat top and bottom with slightly rounded sides. They look exactly like that. I've got some in both 6-32 and 3mm.

      Rather more tellingly, they look like the screws that are holding my motherboard to my case.

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