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Graphics card maker CP Technology expects graphics cards for PCI Express x16 slot to account for 20% to 25% of the company’s annual output, a Smith Barney analyst believes.

Kirk Yang, an analyst for Smith Barney stationed in Hong Kong, quoted by DigiTimes, said that CP Technology is expected to ship 800 thousand to 1 million PCI Express x16 graphics cards this year. CP Technology is expected to ship 4 million of graphics cards this year in total.

Volume commercial shipments of PCI Express x16 graphics cards by CP Technology is likely to begin in the second half of the year. Sales of advanced graphics cards for PCI Express lanes are likely to bolster average selling prices of CP’s graphics cards from current $60 - $70 per unit, the analyst believes.

CP Technology makes graphics cards based on VPUs from ATI Technologies. According to ATI’s plans, the company has R423, R480, RV380, RV381/RV370 and RV410 VPUs with PEG x16 support this year. Arch-rival NVIDIA is also planning to ship top-to-bottom family of graphics products compliant with PCI Express x16 bus.

While the number of PCI Express-supporting chips from ATI as well as the ratio between PEG x16 cards and AGP graphics cards for CP Technology seems to be  impressive, the actual share of PCI Express graphics in the market will not be really huge this year and will hardly achieve 25% share among all graphics cards sold by all manufacturers.

The majority of PCs entry-level and mainstream computers shipped will still either have AGP, or integrated graphics. Only high-end, performance-mainstream and some mainstream PCs will be supplied with PCI Express x16 graphics cards installed. However, this year chipset makers will create infrastructure for PEG x16 graphics cards, while GPU makers will create PEG x16 chips, making rapid PCI Express x16 ramp in 2005 possible.

The proportion of PCI Express graphics cards is likely to climb to 80% in 2005, the Smith Barney analyst is reported to have said. It is not exactly clear whether he meant proportion fro the industry in general, or for CP Technology in particular.

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