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Web-site 3DCenter.de disclosed some brief information about forthcoming graphics processors from NVIDIA Corporation. This seems to be one the first more or less reliable set of data about the next-generation of graphics technology set to come this Spring.

Even though unofficial facts may not be totally exact, they allow us to understand the main idea of GPUs that we are going to see in the near future.

Based on the report from the German web-site we can outline the following information about NVIDIA’s NV40:

  • Produced using 0.13 micron technology at TSMC or IBM;
  • Employs 175 million of transistors;
  • Core-clock: 500 to 600MHz;
  • DDR, GDDR2, GDDR3 memory controller;
  • 8 rendering pipelines with 2 TMUs  per each and ability to work in 16 Z/Stencil per clock mode;
  • Pixel and Vertex Shaders 3.0;
  • DirectX 9.0 and OpenGL support;
  • Improved FSAA patterns;
  • Improved anisotropic filtering patterns, added 16x anisotropic filtering mode;
  • AGP 8x;

The new NV40 products will reportedly be sold under GeForce FX 6xxx brand-names and will be formally announced in March 2004, maybe at GDC or CeBIT shows. Actual graphics cards are expected to make it on store shelves by April or May, the article suggests.

The general trend outlined by the report is tangibly reworked and improved architecture. The main issue of the currently available GeForce FX products – relatively low Pixel Shader performance – will be definitely addressed by the NV40, which has two times more efficient Pixel Shader pipelines. Additionally, Santa Clara, California-based firm will continue to optimize and tweak certain other blocks of its processors to make the whole graphics processing unit more suitable for next-generation games. In-line with common tendencies of the last couple of years it is possible to expect some speed-for-quality tradeoffs, though, this will hardly affect image quality seriously enough, if implemented properly.

What the analysts from 3DCenter.de are tight-lipped about are additional performance or quality improving technologies that have been added to every new GPUs throughout history. It is commonly expected that the upcoming families of graphics chips will have new memory-bandwidth saving technologies, support for programmable curved surfaces and a lot of other improvements of this kind.

Besides NV40 and its code-named NV41 brother equipped with AGP 8x-to-PCI Express x16 bridge, NVIDIA plans to launch NV39, NV37 and NV19 products that are basically GeForce FX 5700, GeForce FX 5200 and GeForce4 MX respectively paired with the same AGP 8x-to-PCI Express x16 bridge to be able to work with modern PEG x16 mainboards due out in Q2 2004. Later this year NVIDIA is also set to release its NV45 and NV43 GPUs for high-end and performance-mainstream markets as well as low-cost NV42 chip for cost-effective segments.

The information is totally unofficial and NVIDIA’s spokespersons would not confirm or deny it.

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