Nvidia is said to have decided to handle all the design and production of new GeForce FX (NV30) graphics cards to ensure product stability and quality. According to industry sources, Nvidia will only release the more simplified NV31 and NV34 chips to card makers for product design.With NVIDIA handling NV30 production, possibly through MSI, it's going to be much harder for third party board manufacturers to differentiate their products. The GeForce FX may, in fact, only be available in one PCB color.
Requiring a twelve-layer PCB due to the complexity of its higher frequency design, Nvidia’s top-end GeForce FX card is expected to hit the market after the Chinese New Year in late February. Instead of allowing graphics card manufacturers to design and produce their own products, Nvidia is said to have decided to place orders at certain EMS (electronics manufacturing service) companies itself and then sell the finished products to card makers to better control the quality.
At this point, it's unclear whether manufacturers will be able to buy cards from NVIDIA without the Dustbuster cooling system, or whether NVIDIA is selling a complete package. Ideally, NVIDIA will make it easy for manufacturers to add their own cooling solutions, which should allow for some product differentiation. We can only hope that someone comes up with something a little quieter to cool the GeForce FX.
Apart from different coolers, I wouldn't expect the various GeForce FX cards to differ in anything more than their software bundle. I suppose that will make choosing a card a little easier for consumers, but it sort of throws diversity out the window.