THE INQUIRER has received several tips recently regarding ATI's R350 and RV350.If new graphics chips from ATI have indeed taped out already, they could hit the market right about the same time as NVIDIA's GeForce FX, making for a bloody battle for the graphics performance crown. Though details on just what ATI has changed with the R350 are scarce, sticking with a 0.15-micron process should at least decrease the potential of production difficulties and delays.
The first reiterates that ATI's R350 is being built on a 0.15 micron process. ATI's RV350 mainstream part is however being built on a 0.13 micron process.
What is new is that both the R350 and the RV350 have already taped out with their production partner TSMC, which did not do quite as good a job with their friend Nvidia.
Normally, I'd question the wisdom of sticking with a 0.15-micron manufacturing process, but the GeForce FX's Dustbuster makes me think twice. If a loud and bulky cooling mechanism is required to cool 0.13-micron chips at high clock speeds, ATI may be better off with current 0.15-micron technology.