A12 is the stepping of silicon that means that the chip is ready for production and we are told that cards could be available much closer then planned, just depending on the marketing department saying yes.
The ATI Radeon 9800XT is still in the channel and ATI doesn't want to kill its sales numbers as there are quite a few of these cards remaining to be sold.
This information might get Nvidia concerned since its samples are just out but Nvidia won't start production before April as we reported before.
ATI partners have all the time they need to tweak this card design to make it up and running but ATI doesn't want to show us any cards before or during CeBIT.
We expect that ATI will launch very soon after CeBIT as we already learned that the Halls of Mirrors - otherwise known as the NDA rooms -- will be full of ATI cards, with, quite possibly, the R420 among them.
Some serious strategic games are involved we suspect and ATI sure has changed many things from its summer time agenda and timelines "on the fly", so to speak. µ
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