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Nvidia Corp., a leading designer of graphics and media processors, may be preparing five more flavours of its GeForce 8800-series hardware for the launch, the company’s recently leaked drivers reveal.

Nvidia ForceWare version 96.64 drivers, which have not been released officially, claim that Nvidia is at least thinking about introducing five new versions of the GeForce 8800 graphics processing units, claims web-site. The list of new GeForce 8800 incarnations include G80-200, G80-400, G80-600, G80-850 and G80-875 products, but so far no information about such devices is available.

Nvidia’s currently available GeForce 8800 GTX and 8800 GTS graphics processors are produced using 90nm low-k process technology and contain 681 million of transistors, which is an unprecedented number for graphics chips. The GeForce 8800 graphics processing units (GPUs) feature so-called unified shader architecture, where an array of up to 128 arithmetic logic units – which Nvidia calls as stream processors – can be assigned for either vertex, geometry or pixel shaders.

The top-of-the-range GeForce 8800 GTX graphics card comes with 575MHz GPU clock-speed, 128 stream processors (SPs) at 1350MHz frequency, 32 texture mapping units (TMUs), 24 raster operation units (ROPs), 384-bit memory bus and 768MB GDDR3 memory onboard, while the GeForce 8800 GTS sports 500MHz clock-speed, 96 SPs at 1200MHz, 24 TMUs, 20 ROPs, 320-bit memory bus and 640MB of GDDR3 memory onboard.

Current GeForce 8800-series products showcase that Nvidia has flexibility to disable parts of the G80 chip, cutting down the amount of stream processors, texture mapping units, raster operation units and even reducing width of memory bus interface. Such flexibility allows Nvidia to disable corrupted parts of the chip when they do not work properly and still selling the graphics processor that contains 681 million transistor and is pretty expensive to manufacture. Given that Nvidia disables blocks that contain 32 SPs, 8 TMUs, 4 ROPs and a 64-bit memory controller, Nvidia may theoretically create up to 6 versions of the G80 only by disabling parts of the chip and not reducing or increasing clock-speeds. It is highly likely, however, that Nvidia will play with switching off various G80 blocks and frequencies as well to create new GeForce 8 flavours.

Nvidia’s chief executive recently confirmed plans to release nine more G8x graphics processors.

Nvidia officials did not comment on the news-story.


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