nVidia G84 / G86 and 8800 Ultra and Radeon X2900XTX (R600)
The big news for sometime at CeBIT was set to be the launch of AMD's highly anticipated Radeon X2900XTX graphics card based on the now famous codenamed R600 core.
There have been a lot of stories reported recently as to why the R600 has been delayed ranging from DDR-4 memory production and supply issues to AMD changing direction and waiting extra time to release a full top-to-bottom range of graphics cards based on the R600 program.
Whether or not any of this is true or not is unknown but we think it's probably a mixture of both but based on our discussions with Taiwanese companies, we think more of the reason has to do with production issues. Nevertheless, it seems like AMD and ATI are finally starting to get things under control. Most of the major graphics cards partners will have R600 demo systems on display at CeBIT but from what we heard, AMD is supplying ready-built systems and partners are not allow to modify the system in anyway. Quite sensitive don't you think considering AMD is claiming it is a product that will be ready in "just a few weeks". We actually think you'll start to see R600 cards sometime in May and probably toward the end of the month.
While there is pricing and specifications floating around and even pictures of the monstrous card which is said to measure 12" wide for the OEM version and 9" wide for the retail version, we're not going to republish that information as we cannot verify its accuracy. What might be interesting to note is that nVidia are planning on releasing a faster version of the 8800GTX called GeForce 8800 Ultra that is still based on the G80 core (information discovered in a beta Vista ForceWare driver).
From our talks so far, we've heard nVidia have this card ready and will launch it either just before or just after AMD finally launch the Radeon X2900XTX as a spoiler for their big event. It's very unclear about what will be different about the 8800 Ultra (mouths are closed) but we would no doubt see higher clock speeds and possibly the move to faster GDDR-4 memory operating at around 2200MHz - 2400MHz DDR but it's all speculation at this point in time.
nVidia are not just concentrating on high-end, though. They are about to end production of a whole range of GeForce 7 series graphics cards including the 7950GT, 7900GS, 7600GT and 7600GS. On around April 18th, you will be able to buy a full range of new mainstream cards from nVidia called GeForce G84 8600GTS (replace 7950GT and 7900GS) with estimated pricing of $225 USD), G84 8600GT (replace 7600GT with estimated pricing of $165 USD) and G86 8500GT (replace 7600GS with estimated pricing of $90 USD).
The GeForce 8600GTS will ship with either 256MB or 512MB DDR-3 along with HDCP, Dual Link DVI and HDTV and it's even said to have hardware DX10 support but we cannot confirm that yet so don't get too excited just yet. The 8600GT will be a cut down and cheaper version of the GTS with either 128MB or 256MB DDR-3 also with HDCP, Dual Link DVI and HDTV but probably lacking hardware DX10 support. Specifications on the GeForce 8500GT cannot be confirmed as yet. As we saw above, there will also be a new low-end GeForce 8400GS release at some stage but we're not sure when but it will probably be after G84 and G86.
As you can see, there's lots happening in the world of graphics cards from both AMD and nVidia - just release them already and stop waiting for each other to make a move!
Finishing up Part 1
That's the end of our Part 1 CeBIT 2007 coverage from Taiwan - we'll bring you more exciting cover tomorrow, so stay tuned!