The canaries are singing that 12 pipelines, 475MHz/950MHz card with 96 bit precision and PS 2.0 shader only will end up faster then 16 pipelines, 400MHz /1100MHz cards with 128 bit precision and PS 3.0 shader model.
ATI knew for some time it would lose out feature wise, but stays committed to bring the faster technology, without some of the extra features.
The R400 card - now renamed to R500 - has support for all these nice features but got postponed but that is the chip with 128 bit precision and PS 3.0 support from ATI. Until that chip dawns, later this year at the earliest, ATI stays PS 2.0 and 96 bit precise only.
But Nvidia seems to be keeping some of its powder dry too. We hear about some faster NV40 chips that Nvidia is saving for later. µ
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