Nvidia is said to have decided to handle all the design and production of new GeForce FX (NV30) graphics cards to ensure product stability and quality. According to industry sources, Nvidia will only release the more simplified NV31 and NV34 chips to card makers for product design.
Requiring a twelve-layer PCB due to the complexity of its higher frequency design, Nvidia's top-end GeForce FX card is expected to hit the market after the Chinese New Year in late February. Instead of allowing graphics card manufacturers to design and produce their own products, Nvidia is said to have decided to place orders at certain EMS (electronics manufacturing service) companies itself and then sell the finished products to card makers to better control the quality.
Nvidia's NV31 and NV34 chips, however, will be released to downstream manufacturers for developing supporting cards. The NV31 and NV34-based graphics cards will be introduced in March and April, respectively, industry sources said.
Besides the impact on current products, the upcoming launch of three products is expected to trigger a change in the supply chain in the graphics card industry. In the past, graphics cards have generally needed four-to-six-layer PCBs. However, Nvidia's NV31 and NV34-based products now require eight-to-ten-layer boards, which are more likely to be available at first-tier PCB makers, such as Compeq Manufacturing, World Wiser Electronics, Gold Circuit Electronics and Nanya PCB. For second-tier graphics card companies, how to negotiate with these major manufacturers for future PCB supply will be a crucial issue for their operations in the high-end graphics card market.
News source: DigiTimes