Yesterday, I posted an update at the bottom of this page of our GeForce 6600 GT review about the possibility that the NV43 GPU doesn't have a "full" eight pipelines in the traditional sense of that term based on some work Dave at Beyond3D did on the subject. Today, NVIDIA has confirmed to us that the NV43 can write only four color pixels per clock and has a fragment crossbar. The NV43 does appear to have eight pixel shader/texture units, so its not an "8 x 1" design or a "4 x 1" design. It's more of a hybrid, but the fragment crossbar ensures all four of the chip's ROPs are well utilized. I think it's a smart design.
This development suggests caution when speaking about the number of "pipelines" in a new graphics chip. I'll be updating our review shortly.
What is the real-world impact of this architectural reality? Not much, fortunately, as our benchmarks have shown.
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