Good stuff coming at WinHEC

Over the course of last week and this past weekend, we've learned a raft of new hardware is coming in late April. In this case, "late April" probably means during the WinHEC show the week of April 24th. Just in case you're looking to buy a video card or CPU in the next couple of weeks, I'll fill you in on how it will be obsoleted before May.

As is the case nowadays, most of the action is in the graphics market. The Register is reporting that ATI will unveil its Rage 6 on April 24th. We already know from ATI themselves about their Charisma Engine and Pixel Tapestry architecture. However, given those names, I have some doubt the chip and its associated cards will be part of the "Rage" line. This post at VE mentions ATI has registered a bunch domain names around the name "Radeon." ATI Radeon 256 MAXX anyone?

Meanwhile, NVIDIA is known to be announcing a new chip at WinHEC (see the Register article again) on April 25th. This chip is widely expected to be the NV15 (and possibly the mobile NV11, as well). The NV15 will probably be dubbed the GeForce 2. With rumored improvements in multitexturing and other speed tweaks, including a .18u feature size with a clock as high as 200MHz, the NV15 should make the current GeForce cards look slow. (Not to mention everything else.) Both fill rates and T&L performance should be up significantly in the NV15. I'm not sure on this one, but I wouldn't be shocked to see NV15-based cards in stores by mid-May.

Other graphics players are rumored to be announcing new products in April, including semi-newcomer STMicro, as we reported earlier. I'd expect STMicro to attempt to make a splash at WinHEC, as well—among others??

On the CPU front, the rumor mill at Ace's and this ZDNet article paint a pretty clear picture of what's in store from AMD: the Spitfire, AMD's Celeron killer with a 200MHz bus and 128K of L2 cache, will probably debut at WinHEC, with the 256K L2 Thunderbird following on in May. Both chips are based on the Athlon core, and at least one of the two will be made in AMD's Dresden fab with .18u copper interconnects. I'd expect the Spitfire chips to be faster clock-for-clock in most cases than AMD's current Athlons with 512K of off-chip L2—and much more overclockable. And they will no doubt spank the Celeron II processors running on stock 66MHz buses.

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