It's taken nVidia a while but it has finally released the second chip in the Fermi family that aims to conquer the so called "performance mainstream" market. Should ATI be worried?
Following a series of delays, the Fermi 100 was released and was received with the jaded enthusiasm of an audience that had already seen AMD/ATI bring a similar product to the market, long ago. The new chip, the GF104, aims to satisfy the mainstream gamer's need for almost high-end graphics. This is a market segment that brings a substantial proportion of the graphics card industry's revenue in and it makes sense that nVidia would want to produce a competitive product as ATI/AMD has already saturated the market with its chips.
Any worthy follower of graphics fashion should know, by now, the ins and outs of the Fermi Tessellation, ray-tracing, Order-Independent transparency and fluid simulations but CUDA or not, the new chip faces an uphill struggle against the enthroned AMD-ATI cards.
The new chip will power the GTX-460 series of nVidia cards and will feature versions carrying 1GB or 768 MB of GDDR5 memory. The remaining numbers say 336 stream processors, 56 texture units, 24 or 32 (depending on the memory version you select) render back ends (does that mean what I think it does?) and 7 polymorph engines for tessellation. The numbers most gamers will care about are the $229 (1GB) and $199 (768 MB) price tags they will carry. However, be warned you gamers of meager means, the new cards will, more than likely, require you to upgrade your power supply. nVidia is doing its bit for the environment and you will need a rig that can support two 6-pin PCIe power connectors as they will use up to 160W.
Are you brave enough? If so the 768MB version is already out while the 1GB version is expected July 26th, Happy Gaming.