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3. Nvidia Admits Showing Dummy Fermi Card at GTC, Claims First Graphics Cards on Track for Q4 2009

While Nvidia pretended that DirectX 11 was not important, it knew perfectly that it was. Tech-savvy consumers want to buy next-generation hardware that is going to perform perfectly today. As a result, less than a week after ATI/AMD began selling the Radeon HD 5800-series graphics cards, Nvidia unveiled some details about its DX11-capable GPU family code-named Fermi and even demonstrated a graphics card allegedly powered by the new processor. Days after the demonstration it had to admit: the card was just a dummy, not even an engineering sample. 

Nvidia dummy card not powered by Fermi-GF100 graphics processor. Image by PC Watch

It was a bad thing to show a fake graphics card to the public and then admit it a couple of days after. However, as it transpired later, it was even worse to promise to release the first Fermi-based graphics cards by the end of 2009. The promise was made in late September and a little more than a month later the company’s chief executive officer said that the company would only begin production of Fermi-based chips in the February – April, 2010, timeframe.

Nvidia dummy card not powered by Fermi-GF100 graphics processor. Image by PC Watch

“Next year it is going to be an interesting first quarter because, in fact, we will need more wafers than ever in Q1. The reason for that is because – and I mean more 40nm wafers than ever in Q1 – we are […] fully ramping Fermi for three different product lines: GeForce, Quadro and Tesla,” said Jen-Hsun Huang, chief executive officer of Nvidia, in a conference call with financial analysts.

Nvidia GeForce graphics card powered by Fermi-GF100 graphics processor. Image by Nvidia

Nvidia’s first quarter of fiscal year 2011 begins on the 26th of January and ends on the 26th of April, 2010.

Nvidia GF100 also known as NV60, G300, GT300 die shot

The current state of the next-generation GeForce GF100 chip (also known as NV60, G300, GT300, etc.) is not completely clear. There are reports that Nvidia wanted badly to demonstrate its next-generation GeForce at the Consumer Electronics Show in early January, there are also reports that Nvidia will only be able to ship the GF100 in March of 2010, in the meantime Nvidia cuts-down specifications of its next-generation Tesla computing cards for HPC markets that cost $2500 and upwards. Still, officially, Nvidia demos GeForce “Fermi” rendering a DirectX 11 benchmark, operating in SLI multi-GPU mode and claims that it is happy with performance of its next-gen product.

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