Cards with 40nm graphics processors may end up on store shelves within a few months. As EE Times reports, TSMC—the Taiwanese foundry that makes most GPUs and chipsets sold by AMD and Nvidia—has kicked off volume production at the 40nm half-node. Several of TSMC's customers have already inked deals to use the new process technology, including AMD, Nvidia, Broadcom, Marvell, and a few others.
So, when will 40nm GPUs come out? That's tough to say, but AMD's 55nm Radeon HD 3800 graphics cards came out roughly 7.5 months after TSMC announced the "readiness" of its 55nm process last year. Extrapolating from that, you can probably expect AMD and Nvidia to launch their first 40nm products in the first half of next year.
EE Times also notes that foundries are facing difficult times because of the current economic climate. TSMC in particular foresees a lack of growth across the industry this year, although the firm does expect to do better than its competitors. According to EE Times, TSMC might have beaten other foundries to the punch on 40nm volume production, and it's already working on 32nm and 28nm processes.