THE TIME for GeForce 8800GT is drawing near. The card will launch at the end of October, just in time for all those lovely games of November.
The GPU itself has 128 "super-scalar shader units" inside, and there have not been many changes over improving the efficiency of the design. The 8800GT will come to market with 112 units, disabling 16 units in order to get the yields as high as possible (similar to Cell CPU and its six or seven SPE out of eight ones actually manufactured in silicon). This will probably continue with future appearances of lower models, like "8800GS" (with an equal or lesser number of shader units).
This is identical to original G80, which had 128 units, and those chips that did not make the cut came to market as 8800GTS, 320 or 640MB. Now, Nvidia is getting ready to minimise the remaining G80 inventory with re-launch of 8800GTS 640MB, sporting 112 units - equal to upcoming 8800GT.
The chip itself is a 17x17mm die (289mm2), manufactured in both TSMC and UMC, with UMC order ranging between 850.000 and a million chips, depending on yield in hand. Nvidia is hoping to sell anywhere between two and three million chips ASAP, which is a hefty number for this part. Then again, with UT3 and Crysis, a new cycle will begin - so there is plenty of market interest.
Depending on partner, Nvidia is pricing G92 chip at around the $100 mark. This means partners will have a margin in the form of lowly single-digit number. The first 20,000 or so boards are reserved for a magical $199 mark, for which you will be able to buy a G92 combined with 256MB of GDDR3 memory (most likely Hynix el'cheapola GDDR3 chip, known from 8800GTS 320MB and ATI Radeon HD2900XT). For a few dollars more, (ok, around 50) 512MB GDDR4 will be your pick.
Nvidia is not officially supporting a third SKU, the 1GB card - but we learned that there is more than one partner in the chase to get the card with 1GB. These premium SKUs will probably go for between $299 and $349. This higher price will be reflected in performance, which is bound to exceed expectations.
You might ponder the question of performance, and it is a good one. As far as we have heard, there will be SKUs on the market with 256, 512 and 1024 MB of video memory, 256MB one will be locked by the lack of physical memory, 512MB will prove sufficient if you don't go overboard with resolution, 1GB will buy you peace of mind.
Of course, we're talking about performance in upcoming titles. 512MB will be a golden middle, but if you see a 8800GT with 1GB of memory, be ready to jump on it. [You sure about all this Theo? News Ed.] µ
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