November will be a big month for nVidia, they will unveil their newest product, codenamed NV30 at the Comdex show and will once again claim the fastest graphics chip throne.
According to many analysts however, this new chip may be too little too late.
The main problem for nVidia is that the exact same chip was expected to debut several months ago, unfortunately for them the move from 180 and 150 nanometre manufacturing to 130 caused a myriad of mass-production problems for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. (TSMC), which manufactures Nvidia's chips.
It's being manufactured on the newest process TSMC has to offer, and that process was not ready to go into high volume until just recently, said a Mercury Research analyst. To Nvidia's credit, they probably took the time to do some design tweaks, but it has definitely meant delays
Basically, they missed the cycle, Hans Mosesmann, a Prudential Securities analyst, said of Nvidia. Really (the NV30) is a fall product that's now been pushed out for all intents and purposes to the spring.
All experts agree, if there ever was a time for the hardcore gamer to switch to ATI this is it. The RADEON 9700 offers the fastest, currently available, graphics processing and also supports, the as yet unreleased, DirectX 9. The competition does not yet have a release date.
Once the NV30 does hit the stores, it will be 25 to 50 per cent faster than the RADEON 9700, experts say, that is not enough.
The NV30 is a great product, Mosesmann said. It's going to be better, but not good enough...It's going to have to be twice as fast as the 9700 for people to look at it and think about switching.
As the holiday season, the most prolific in hardware sales, approaches, nVidia will most likely only offer a few thoudand pieces of its new chips while the main bulk of the product is expected to be available in January 2003. While all this will be happening however, ATI will not be sitting idly by. ATI have already begun making their move into the mainstream market, responsible for the overwhelming majority of revenue, by releasing the RADEON 9500, a stripped down version of the 9700 which will be available for under USD 200.
We've got a horse race again, said the same Mercury Research analyst.