NVIDIA REALLY needed to pull the cat out of the bag in the next round of its increasingly epic battle with ATI Technologies and from where we’re sitting we’d be more than surprised if the next round isn’t, now, a foregone conclusion.
US sources close to Nvidia have confirmed that their next generation GPU will feature a full sixteen pipelines – not as previously speculated an 8x2 arrangement - and this is reflected in the increased transistor count of circa 205-210 million, up from a previously speculated 175 million.
In very recent times ATI have been extremely confident in saying that their R420 - set to launch not long after, Nvidia show their hand – would, immaterial of architecture, thoroughly outgun the NV40.
Indeed today, Richard Huddy - ATI's European Developer Relations Manager maintained that their expectation was for ATi’s R420 to be, faster, on balance, across a suite of 10 common games than Nvidia NV40.
However we think that ATI's earlier confidence was based on internal intelligence that Nvidia’s NV40 feature set would be limited to an architecture built on 175 million transistors and that Nvidia would deliver, as anticipated, on the first day of CeBIT in March.
Nvidia's launch date for NV40 seems to have shifted backwards, but even a month or so is not going to give ATi enough time for a hardware response.
Knowing what we know now about NV40 having a full sixteen pipelines, we sensed that despite some fighting talk, and indeed some intelligent and rationalised arguments, ATi are now hoping, at best for a close fight…
NV40 0wnage of ATi R420 coming soon to a store near you?
We sure think so… µ