Nvidia sets GF100 launch for March 26

Well, this is as official as it gets. Nvidia has put up an agenda page for its appearance at the Penny Arcade Expo (a.k.a. PAX East) in Boston, Massachusetts next month, and it turns out the company will host a special, "must see" presentation on March 26 at 6:00 PM local time. The teaser paragraph doesn't leave much to the imagination:

Come see NVIDIA unveil the next generation of PC gaming. Want to see what's hot and what's next? If you're even vaguely a fan of PC games and miss this special event, you'll likely be spending the next few months kicking yourself. Line up early as seating is limited. ‘Nuff said.

Nvidia has promised to introduce its next-gen GF100 graphics processor in the first quarter, and this looks to be the launch venue. As if the teaser weren't clear enough, the company goes on to say attendees will get to try its "highly-anticipated, next-generation GPU" at the company's booth in Exhibit Hall D, and some folks "may even be able to buy one before anyone else."

The GF100, Nvidia's first DirectX 11 GPU, will power upcoming GeForce GTX 480 and GeForce GTX 470 graphics cards. Those products should go up against AMD's current Radeon HD 5000-series graphics products—presumably higher-end ones, since evidence suggests the GF100 will be a top-of-the-line chip. Next quarter, Nvidia also plans to take the GF100's Fermi architecture into Tesla products geared for GPU computing tasks.

In a somewhat unfortunate twist, however, Nvidia has chosen to hype its attendance at PAX East using the exact same tagline that foretold the arrival of the NV30 GPU in late 2002:

Top: the PAX East teaser image. Bottom: the NV30 teaser image. Source: Nvidia.

The NV30 and the infamous, Dustbuster-toting GeForce FX 5800 Ultra that carried it both turned out to be disappointments. Certain media pundits have compared the GF100 to the NV30 due to the delays surrounding both products and, according to some particularly alarmist reports, the GF100's lackluster performance and excessive power consumption. Let's hope the GF100 winds up having a better launch.

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