Nvidia set to up GeForce FX 5600 speeds

Got to grips with 0.13 micron

Nvidia is preparing to boost the performance of its GeForce FX 5600 graphics chip, the company told The Register yesterday.

The GeForce FX 5600 Ultra core currently clocks at 350MHz, the same as its memory clock frequency. However, both speeds will soon be raised to 400MHz, in the form of the GeForce FX 5600 Ultra, the company said.

The current Ultra has a memory bandwidth of 11.2GBps. With the memory clock increase, that figure will rise to 12.8GBps. Upping the core clock to 400MHz, should boost the part's fill rate from 1.4 billion texels per second to 1.6 billion.

The increase has come as a result of Nvidia's improved understanding of the 0.13 micron process, said European marketing chief Alain Tiquet. "It took us a long time to get it right," he admitted.

It was the lack of such understanding that produced the long delay on the GeForce FX 5800 chip. Due to ship in September 2002, the part wasn't announced until November 2002 and then didn't ship until February 2003, just ahead of the GeForce FX 5600 launch. The arrival this week of the 0.13 micron GeForce FX 5900 marks the end of the 5800.

The GeForce FX 5600 Ultra supports up to 256MB of DDR SDRAM across a 128-bit memory bus. It can process four pixels per clock. What happens to the current 5600 Ultra remains to be seen - likely it will become the vanilla GeForce FX 5600 chip, rounding out the 5600 family.

Tiquet suggested that Nvidia's growing ability to work with 0.13 micron designs will quickly see further 5600 clock speed increases and improvements to the chips' yields. That holds out the potential for future boosts to the 5900 family too, particularly with ATI preparing to launch the successor to the Radeon 9800 Pro later this year. ®