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The Return of the Ultra

It seems nVidia is indeed planning to counter the impending R600 launch sometime in the near future. VR-Zone noticed the following entry in inf file of the latest nVidia drivers:

NVIDIA_G80.DEV_0194.1 = "NVIDIA GeForce 8800 Ultra"

Judging from the fact that it says G80 and not G81, I'm betting the Ultra will be a minor speed bump on the core, but will probably use GDDR4 memory and get a boost in speed there as well. 

That R600 launch delay news may have been premature.

So apparently we are supposed to see the flagship R600 (X2900 XTX) on shelves in only 14 days (March 30th). TweakTown is the one bringing us this wondrous and joyous news. Make sure to throw your smelly shoes at them if March 30th comes and goes with no R600 launch.

Nvidia is apparently going to bury us in new video cards on April 17th.

There are reports out there suggesting that Nvidia will be launching about 6 new 8000 series video cards on April 17th. Apparently some of these video cards (or maybe all 6) will be hard launched on that day. NGOHQ.com tells us that the 8300 GS, 8400 GS, 8500 GT, 8600 GT, 8600 GTS and the 8800 Ultra will all be "released" on the same day. They go on to spread hope to the AGP faithful by saying that Nvidia will be launching AGP versions of the 7900 GS and and 7950 GT soon as well.

X-bit labs also has a few things to say on this subject. 

VR-Zone Scores R600 Pictures & Benchmarks

VR-Zone managed to get not only pictures of ATi's next flagship, but a couple of benchmark figures as well. The R600 XTX managed to score 9700 in 3DMark06 at 1600x1200 while the GeForce 8800 GTX only managed around 9500 or so. The core clock is reportedly 800MHz.

There is almost certainly more performance to be gained from driver optimizations for the new card and clock speeds could always change. And, obviously, one DX9 benchmark is not the best indicator of performance. However, beating the 8800 GTX by a mere 2% doesn't seem too promising, especially with nVidia's partners overclocking 8800 GTX's as much as 10% from the reference card. I'm thinking that the impending 8800 Ultra will be giving R600 some stiff competition this Spring.


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