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Nvidia confirms PCI Express support

Didn't say with what chips, so we will

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Nvidia has confirmed that it will support the PCI Express next-generation expansion bus at some point in the future.

That's not entirely surprising, and was always on the cards - even if roadmaps listing Nvidia's PCI Express-enabled chips hadn't leaked out of the company.

The confirmation comes from Nvidia's VP of hardware engineering, Gopal Solanki, in a statement put out by Denali, which produces chip designs automation software. Nvidia is using Denali's PCI Express tools to add support for the new bus to its "next-generation GPUs".

Which are, precisely? By the end of the year, Nvidia should have announced products based on its NV36X and NV40 chips, which have been developed to operate in both AGP 8x boards and PCI Express products. During H1 2004, it will offer the PCI-Express only high-end NV45, mid-range NV41 and mainstream NV42 and NV43. Roughly speaking, they will, respectively, be next year's answer to the current GeForce FX 5900, 5600 and 5200 parts.

Denali's software provides chip developers with a way of testing their designs for PCI Express compatibility and interoperability before committing the chip architecture to silicon.

The NV40 is believed to contain around 150 million transistors, so it's crucial Nvidia gets it right before producing chips. Particularly if it wants to avoid another debacle like the development of the GeForce FX 5800 (gone but not forgotten). NV40 is expected to go into production shortly, almost certainly at IBM's East Fishkill 300mm wafer production facility.

Incidentally, the NV43 is roadmapped to ship ahead of the NV42. The NV43 a 130nm part, whereas the lower-numbered chip will be fabbed using a 110nm process. In all other respects, the two chips are believed to be one and the same. ®

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