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The world’s largest graphics processors supplier NVIDIA Corporation showcased prototypes of some of its PCI Express products at Consumer Electronics Show 2004 in Las Vegas, Nevada, according to the company’s executives.

NVIDIA is expected to bring multiply graphics processors and core-logic products featuring PCI Express technology. The list of GPUs includes code-named NV40, NV41, NV42, NV45 chips and some other, while the family of the firm’s PCI Express nForce products contains CK8-04, K8 3GIO silicones, etc.

Even though there quite some PCI Express products in NVIDIA’s roadmap for 2004, the initial graphics processors for PCI Express x16 (PEG x16), looks like the initial family of add-in-cards featuring the next-generation interconnection technology will use special PCI Express bridge to adopt currently developed GPUs.

“To create a sixteen lane PCI Express bridge chip that works without performance degradation is a huge technological advancement,” said Dan Vivoli, executive vice president of marketing at NVIDIA.

“The use of a PCI Express bridge chip gives NVIDIA a decisive competitive advantage in what is the most exciting graphics bus transition in recent history,” Vivoli added.

ATI Technologies, the arch-rival of NVIDIA, reportedly planned to roll-out its PCI Express bridge chip for its VPUs too, but, presumably cancelled its plans and decided to create graphics processors with native support of the PEG x16.

Even though native PEG x16 support may be more advanced from technology point of view and provide higher performance and bandwidth, NVIDIA’s approach may probably help the company to better control its inventory, as GPU lineup will be unified for AGP and PEG platforms. In contrast, ATI will have to stock two separate lines of its VPUs.

According to NVIDIA’s top-managers, in Q1 some of NV4x chips is planned to be in production. By Q2 many of NV4x are projected to be in production to bring the margins up. By Q3 “almost entire” family of NV4x would be ramping up in production, NVIDIA’s executives claimed. No indications whether “calendar” or “fiscal” quarters, though. NVIDIA anticipates “something like” 10 different versions of GPU products next year, the majority of which will be PCI Express, as understood from Jen-Hsun Huang, NVIDIA’s CEO.

According to NVIDIA, the company has been working with Intel Corporation on PCI Express validation.


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