We told you weeks ago that NVIDIA and some of its add-in-board partners would be showcasing graphics cards on the yet-to-be-announced NV36 and NV38 graphics processors at Computex Taipei 2003. Today an Italian hardware web-site published a massive picture set of actual NV38 and NV36 reference graphics cards. As we see, NVIDIA is ready to launch its new GPUs, however, the launch date is yet to be determined, I believe.
According to information by GPU:RW, the NV38, also known as the GeForce FX 5950 Ultra, will be clocked at the same speed as the old GeForce FX 5800 Ultra – 500/1000MHz. There is no information whether NVIDIA will utilize DDR-II or DDR memory, but it depends on the cost: cheaper is definitely better.
In order to cool down the new GeForce FX GPU with improved performance, NVIDIA plans to utilize another FlowFX-like cooling system. The company may brand it as FlowFX II. From what we see in the picture, we can assume that the new solution will have a substantial difference compared to its predecessor: the next-generation FlowFX will not exhaust hot air outside the PC case, but will suck in some cold air from the outside. In case the chip will be as hot as the NV30, the solution promises to be a bit quieter than the original FlowFX since the fan is bigger than the one used by the NV30 and its speed may be slower. From the other hand, in case the NV38 is hotter than the NV30, the new FlowFX will generate even more noise than the famous GeForce FX 5800. Moreover, there are concerns about dust from the outside that may block up the fins of the heatsink.
The NV36 solution is definitely less monumental than the GeForce FX 5950 Ultra aka NV38, but it still utilizes a complex PCB. There were rumours about 256-bit memory bus on the NV36, but we cannot see neither confirmations nor denials to this piece of information in the pictures. NVIDIA may be still considering all the pros and cons of either 256-bit bus or extremely fast memory chips to provide high peak memory bandwidth for NV36-based graphics cards. The former decision would allow NVIDIA to use relatively low-cost DRAMs on the NV36 right after the announcement, even though PCB with 256-bit memory bus costs more than PCB needed for 128-bit bus and PCB prices do not decrease much throughout a year. The latter decision would allow the company to build graphics cards using cheaper PCBs with hope that memory costs will reduce within the life-time of such graphics cards.
Please note than the information herein was not commented by NVIDIA officials. Also be sure to check out loads more pictures of both NV36 and NV38 reference graphics cards from NVIDIA at Hardware Upgrade over here.