What's up with GeForce FX Ultra?

— 12:00 AM on February 11, 2003

Is NVIDIA's first attempt at cinematic rendering going straight to video? I'm getting confused about what exactly is happening with the GeForce FX Ultra 5800. I'll share with you what I know, and you can try to figure it out yourself.

The first bit of info will especially interest those of you who pre-ordered GeForce FX Ultra cards. BFG Tech sent out a statement that reads like so:

Due to heavy allocation of the FX 5800 Ultra chips, as of Sunday, February 9th the Asylum GeForce FX 5800 Ultra is no longer available for preorder at Best Buy. We will fulfill the preorders once the Ultras are available for shipping, which is expected to be March 9 or sooner.

Consumers who have ordered the Asylum GeForce FX 5800 Ultra from Best Buy stores should check Best Buy.com for updates on when the cards are available for pick up at the store from which they were ordered. Consumers who have ordered online from Best Buy.com will get the card shipped to them when it is available.

Moving forward, BFG Tech will be bringing Asylum GeForce FX 5800 (non-ultra) to retail shelves. This card has a 400MHz core clock and 800MHz DDR2 memory. It does not feature the FX Flow cooling system, but does have a high-profile fansink that requires the PCI slot adjacent to the AGP slot to be available. The Asylum GeForce FX 5800 offers 8 pixels per clock, 160 Million vertices per second, 25.6GB memory bandwidth (with compression) and 3.2 billion pixels per second fill rate. The card is fully DX9 compliant with Vertex Shader 2.0+ and Pixel Shader 2.0+, CineFX Engine, Intellisample Technology, and 128-bit studio-precision color.

We expect to have this product shipping in March at a retail price of $329.99

So apparently even this top-tier card manufacturer's allocation of GeForce FX Ultra 5800 chips is rather limited. This fact jibes with some of the rumors that have been floating around the web about a limited production run of GeForce FX Ultra chips. I can see why NVIDIA might want to keep the number of dustbuster cards limited.

But then NVIDIA drops this statement into my inbox unprovoked:

Over the last week - there have been a number of rumors on the web in reference to the status of NVIDIA GeForce FX GPUs. As you know the company does not comment on rumors and/or speculation. Like every new product from NVIDIA - the demand is far greater than the limited supply we will have.

NVIDIA's GeForce FX Ultra 5800 and the GeForce FX 5800 are still targeted to be in retail in late February.

Just so you know, NVIDIA has no comment, but uhm... supply is limited.

So will the GeForce FX Ultra 5800 be limited to a small production run? Has the product been effectively cancelled, with the exception of pre-ordered cards, because of the negative reaction to the dustbuster? (It both sucks and blows!) Are yields at TSMC not quite what was hoped? Or is supply of Ultra cards just limited because of raging, crazy-mad demand for the product? We really don't know, and apparently, NVIDIA wants it that way.

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