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Nvidia next-gen chip ‘to launch 13 April’

NV40?

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Nvidia will unveil its next-generation graphics chip - almost certainly the long-awaited NV40 - on 13 April.

So claims a source close to the company cited by Extreme Tech's Mark Hachman.

Alas, the source proved unable to say much about the chip itself. Unconfirmed reports from a variety of websites suggest it will be a DirectX 9.0 part with 16 parallel pipelines running through enhanced pixel shaders.

The NV40 is not expected to support PCI Express directly but ship with an AGP-to-PCI Express bridge chip. One source Hachman spoke to said the chip's AGP bus will be boosted to an unofficial 16x spec. to match the needs of PCI Express. Certainly, Nvidia's first line of PCI Express parts - the GeForce PCX 5950, PCX 5750, PCX 5300 and PCX 4300 - are all AGP 8x chips that ship with a bridge part.

If the NV40 is launched next month, it marks the end of a long wait for the part, which was originally roadmapped for a late 2003 debut. When that was the case, Nvidia had a revised version, the NV45, on its roadmap for a Q2 2004 introduction.

The Nv45 was due to be Nvidia's first native PCI Express part, with the NV40 offered in both AGP 8x and PCI Express forms.

Recent speculation has centred on major design changes made by Nvidia to the NV40 core. Certainly, ATI is believed to have binned its next-generation R400 part in favour of a souped-up version of its R300 architecture, the R420. The R420 is believed to sport a native PCI Express interface and is expected to debut in the coming months. ®

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