WE REVEALED last week that the Nvidia NV40 chip had taped out. And now we know ATI's R420 has not only taped out but is a step ahead of the competition. While ATI's R420 taped out about the same time as Nvidia's chip in December, it is ready to ship some samples of the chip to its manufacturers. We believe Nvidia will not send such samples to its manufacturers until the end of February.
This means that ATI could have a one month lead in development, with the whole supply chain preparing to make printed circuit boards using the R420. While ATI's most recent silicon isn't as fast as the A2 silicon that comes later, it is apparently good enough to finish designing the graphics chip into boards.
Both ATI and Nvidia are expected to launch the chips at this year's CeBIT show, while they will both just have a few working cards. The cards using the new graphics technology is likely to become available in shops in April/May. It's simply too early to say what chip frequencies these new introductions will have. But one thing is already clear. ATI and Nvidia will be fighting hammer and tongs over technologies which are spookily similar in specification and functions.
News source: The Inq