NVIDIA is pushing out its new AGP 8X product line today, which includes products based on its GeForce4 Ti and GeForce4 MX graphics chips, and its nForce2 "platform processor." Here's the obligatory snip from the press release:
TAIPEI, TAIWAN AND SANTA CLARA, CA—SEPTEMBER 25, 2002—NVIDIA Corporation (Nasdaq: NVDA), the worldwide leader in visual processing solutions, today introduced the industry’s first and only comprehensive family of AGP 8X-based products. Based on Intel’s AGP 3.0 specification, NVIDIA now offers an extensive range of top-to-bottom graphics processing units (GPUs) and platform processors for next-generation digital media, gaming, and business PC platforms. NVIDIA’s AGP 8X product line-up, which includes the NVIDIA® GeForce™4 Ti 4200 with AGP 8X and the GeForce4 MX 440 with AGP 8X desktop GPUs, as well as the new nForce2 platform processors, forms the technology foundation for the world’s most advanced PCs.The full release explains just how wonderful AGP 8X is because it doubles the bandwidth of the AGP bus, but the only graphics cards mentioned are the GeForce4 Ti 4200 and GeForce4 MX 440, which makes me curious whether NVIDIA's other graphics products will receive the AGP 8X treatment.
It should be noted that AGP 8X compatibility appears to be the only change NVIDIA's current graphics lineup, which is still heavily based on the geriatries GeForce3 and GeForce2 designs. There's also no mention of the pricing of these AGP 8X graphics parts, which leads me to believe that they'll be no cheaper than NVIDIA's current AGP 4X line.
In my view, the GeForce4 MX needs pixel shaders far more than it needs AGP 8X, especially with ATI's Radeon 9000 and 9000 Pro providing complete DirectX 8.1 functionality at such a low price. Unless GeForce4 MX prices dropa lotI don't see why anyone would want to saddle themselves with a product with such limited compatibility, especially with a holiday crop of DirectX 8.1 games on the horizon.
AGP 8X does, however, make sense for the GeForce4 Ti 4200, which will likely remain the mid-range choice for gamers until ATI gets around to filling the gap between its low- and high-end offerings. And don't forget Trident's impending return to the desktop, which is looking to steal some of the GeForce4 Titanium's market share.
Finally, the press release specifically mentions the AGP 8X GeForce4 Ti 4200 128MB, which makes me wonder if a 64MB AGP 8X version will be offered at all. In light of our recent graphics memory comparison, which shows that 128MB cards have an advantage in recent and likely upcoming games, an AGP 8X GeForce4 Ti 4200 128MB would be a more forward-looking product, especially if its default memory clock speed were raised to 500MHz.
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