ATI Technologies is expected to enter volume production of its R420 graphics chip core as early as the end of the first quarter, according to local industry sources. The R420 will be fabricated at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) using a low-k process technology. The graphics chip core is expected to boast 160 million transistors and support an AGP 8x bus and GDDR3 memory architecture. The product name is currently unknown.
Nvidia is expected to launch its comparable product (the NV40) around the same time. Not much is known about the NV40, except that it will also support the AGP 8x bus and be made using a 0.13-micron process. The two graphics chip giants both chose to use the more mature 0.13-micron manufacturing processes for their high-end products. Local card makers explained that this may be due to concerns about performance stability and production costs. ATI is said to be using a 0.11-micron process for production of its mainstream RV370 graphics chip.
News source: DigiTimes