Smaller, more affordable GPUs based on Nvidia's Fermi architecture might come out sooner than you think. According to DigiTimes, which got tipped off by sources at graphics card makers, Nvidia is planning a series of launches this spring and summer, culminating with the release of a $100 DirectX 11 graphics card in August.
DigiTimes says the GF104 will arrive first in early June inside of a GeForce GTX 460 priced at $299. That's an interesting prediction, because prior reports have talked of GTX 460 cards based on the same GF100 GPU as Nvidia's current DX11 offerings—just with a few bits and pieces disabled. A new, smaller GPU would presumably give Nvidia more room to cut prices, though.
Further down the lineup, DigiTimes says Nvidia will release a GF106 GPU in a $180 graphics card in July, followed by a GF108 chip powering a $100 product the month after that. The report doesn't say much more, so you'll have to use your imagination to fill in details like specs, performance, and power consumption. One thing seems evident: any upcoming DirectX 11 graphics card priced at $180 would have to be at least a little quicker than AMD's $160-ish Radeon HD 5770.
Then again, AMD might not be too far off from releasing yet another generation of DX11 products, either. The company's Radeon HD 5850 came out all the way back in September of 2009, and the 5770 and 5750 followed in October. That was about 15 months after rolling out the Radeon HD 4870 and 4850 in mid-2008.