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In a bid to increase pressure on arch-rival ATI, a division of Advanced Micro Devices, Nvidia Corp. reportedly prepares a more affordable version of its GeForce 8800 graphics card. The novelty, on the other hand, will attack not only ATI Radeon offerings, but also Nvidia’s GeForce 7900-series graphics cards.

The cheaper GeForce 8800 GTS will come with 320MB of memory, half of the fully-fledged GeForce 8800 GTS, which comes with 640MB of GDDR3. Nonetheless, all the other distinctive features of the product, such as 320-bit memory bus, 500MHz clock-speed, 96 stream processors at 1200MHz , 24 texture mapping units and 20 raster operation units will remain in the place, thus, only an insignificant drop in performance should be expected. The boards are projected to be unveiled in mid-February, 2007.

Pricing of the GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB is expected to be in $299 - $349 price-range, according to a report from VR-Zone web-site, here Nvidia currently sells its GeForce 7900 GTX and GeForce 7950 GT graphics boards, while ATI/AMD is offering Radeon X1950 XT 256MB and similar products. Introduction of a relatively affordable DirectX 10-compatible graphics product will indisputably mean lower sales for ATI, nevertheless, it will lower demand towards Nvidia’s DirectX 9-compliant offerings too, which may leave the company and its partners with a bunch of outdated graphics, which will have to be sold at lower price-points.

Nvidia has a long tradition of offering three or more graphics cards based on the flagship GPU: it offered three versions of Riva TNT2, three flavours of graphics cards based on the GeForce 2, 3 and 4 Titanium graphics chips as well as four or more graphics cards incarnations based on the GeForce 6800-series and GeForce 7900-series graphics processing units.

Officials for Nvidia did not comment on the news-story.

Currently Nvidia’s add-in-card partners sell GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB (575MHz clock-speed, 128 stream processors at 1350MHz , 32 texture mapping units, 24 raster operation units, 384-bit memory bus) and GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB (500MHz clock-speed, 96 stream processors at 1200MHz , 24 texture mapping units, 20 raster operation units, 320-bit memory bus) graphics cards at $599 and $449 recommended price-points respectively.

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