We continue our journey to the future of graphics cards and 3D technologies with more information about the upcoming graphics processors from ATI Technologies and NVIDIA. Additional details about the code-named R420 product appeared and we are going to share them with you.
Sources with knowledge of the matter revealed that the graphics chip known under the code-name R420 and developed under project-name Loki will be two times faster than the original RADEON 9800 PRO. As we revealed earlier, it will incorporate 110 to 150 million of transistors (see this news-story) and will support Pixel and Vertex Shaders 3.0. I expect the part to feature 8 rendering pipelines with 2 texture modules per each or 16 pipelines with 1 texture module per pipe. Its architecture will have much in common with the original R300 and R350/R360.
Talking about manufacturing technology used for the R420, our sources said that the graphics processor will be made using mature TSMC’s 0.15 micron fabrication process which seems to be enough for modern VPUs.
Currently it is unknown when the Loki R420 to be heaven-sent to the Earth, but in general it is expected to arrive in late 2003 or early 2004. We even can see some samples of R420 graphics cards this Fall, but definitely not massive commercial availability of such products since ATI Technologies needs a timeframe to sell its R360 code-named product.