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NVIDIA’s soon-to-be-released GeForce FX 5500 graphics processor may become a good kicker in the entry-level market, some industrial sources claim. The chip may hit the market as early as this month and may become a very strong competitor for the RADEON 9600 SE visual processing unit from ATI Technologies.

From technology stand-point, the GeForce FX 5500 will be a sort of the GeForce FX 5700 graphics processor, but with a bit reduced clock-speeds and some other limitations in performance, GZeasy.com web-site notes. The GeForce FX 5700 has four rendering pipelines and three geometry processors, as well as a bit revamped architecture compared to the predecessor – the GeForce FX 5600 – that is being phased out.

Chinese web-site HardSpell.com published some performance estimations of the GeForce FX 5500 from NVIDIA Corporation. The firm believes that the GeForce FX 5500 may be from 10% to two times faster than the RADEON 9600 SE, though, such estimations are not really thorough.

Graphics cards based on the GeForce FX 5500 GPU are likely be equipped with 128MB of DDR memory at 400MHz. Memory access should be 128-bit, giving a good performance improvement over other entry-level solutions, such as RADEON 9600 SE, that have 64-bit wide memory bus. The chip itself is likely to work at 250MHz, however, both GPU and memory specifications are subject to change, furthermore, actual graphics cards makers may modify specs to suit demands of their customers.

NVIDIA is currently concentrated on delivering affordable DirectX 9.0 compliant graphics chips, as in entry-level and mainstream segments there is practically no competition for such products from ATI Technologies, who is more than successful in the high-end.

Representatives for NVIDIA do not comment on unannounced products.

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