Looking at Nvidia's 'NV30' Hardware
9:48 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story
Two new articles have been recently posted which look at the upcoming hardware offering from 3D chip maker Nvidia, codenamed "NV30." Considered competition with ATI's recent Radeon 9700 offering, the NV30 promises more speed and features than ever before, all while using a smaller 0.13-micron process. While many specifics about the new cards are still under NDA contracts, one thing that has been public is the fact that because the company's use of cutting-edge technology, the product is feeling some lag in getting to market.
A new article at Anandtech considers whether it's valid to call the NV30 "late" and what the chipset may offer over the current hardware if it becomes available in time for the all-important holiday season. Here's a clip with more:
Based on NVIDIA's original launch schedule for NV30, the GPU was allotted between 3 and 4 months for qualification before final production silicon would be ready. This is an important figure to keep in mind because based on these estimates it will be 90 - 120 days from NV30's tape-out until final silicon can ship to retail shelves. For a more technical look at the NV30 hardware itself, VoodooExtreme has posted a preview of the "CineFX" architecture which is based on the NV30 core. It shows how cards are now branching away from simply pushing pixels faster to being more flexible CPUs unto themselves. With many more vertex and pixel processors as well as higher precision floating point numbers, this next generation of hardware promises to be more flexible for developers than ever.
NVIDIA's revised schedule for NV30's release called for the GPU to be shipping to retailers in November, with availability shortly thereafter. With the chip having taped-out last week, being in stores in November will definitely be a best case scenario for the chip. So although NV30 was delayed once already, it is possible for NVIDIA to deliver the chip on-time according to their revised schedule by the end of this year.
One interesting point to remember is that no Nvidia aftermarket retail cards have yet appeared on the Mac. Since Nvidia just makes the chipsets, it's up to other companies to make the video cards themselves, and currently all development of drivers is worked out between Nvidia and Apple for their OEM cards. Unless this trend changes with the NV30, Mac gamers will continue to look towards ATI for aftermarket solutions for their video cards.
Nvidia CineFX Preview at VoodooExtreme
Anandtech: NV30- Where are you?
NVIDIA (add to watch list)
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