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A web-site has posted pictures of a chip with “NV43” mark on it, possibly indicating that NVIDIA’s long-awaited performance-mainstream graphics processor has been implemented in silicon. The wire said the chip had been obtained from a Chinese graphics cards maker.

According to some sources, the NV43 will be a performance-mainstream part offered by NVIDIA Corporation in its lineup to be unveiled this Fall. The graphics processing unit is likely to contain 8 or 12 pixel pipelines and offer slightly lower performance compared to today’s GeForce 6800 GPU.

The NV43 graphics processor will presumably support the same feature-set compared to higher-end GeForce 6800, 6800 GT and 6800 Ultra products, but due to lower transistor count have higher flexibility in terms of pricing. At this point it is not clear how many versions of the NV43 will be available. Nowadays Santa Clara, California-based NVIDIA tends to make three flavours of each of its GPUs to better correspond to needs of various customers.

It is not clear where NVIDIA makes its NV43 graphics processing unit: at TSMC using 0.11 micron fabrication process, or at IBM, using its 0.13 micron process technology.

NVIDIA’s reps did not comment on the report.

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