AMD has been offering 55nm graphics processors since the Radeon HD 3800 series launch in November 2007, and Nvidia hopped on that bandwagon this summer with cards like the GeForce 9800 GTX+. What's next? The two companies probably have a few more 55nm GPUs in the pipeline, but Fudzilla reports that they'll both begin the switch to 40nm in the second quarter of next year.
Fudzilla says it doesn't know the code name of the Nvidia part, but it knows that GPU will use TSMC'S 40nm process technology and show up in late May or early June. AMD will supposedly introduce a 40nm RV870 graphics processor in that same time frame, which could put the two companies in an interesting position. As Fudzilla points out, a near-simultaneous launch would give neither party much time to respond to the competition and tweak their GPUs accordingly. That could leave either AMD or Nvidia with a clearly superior product, and Nvidia may have a rough time if it ends up facing another card like the Radeon HD 4870.
As you might remember, the 4870 pretty much forced Nvidia had to slash prices and launch a new-and-improved version of its GeForce GTX 260. AMD does have the process technology edge this time, though, so the two firms may end up on a more even playing field next year.