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nVidia GTX580 launch next week – real or paper?

Each generation of graphic card delivers more than the last. Frame rates are faster, colours clearer and everything is just a little more cinematographic than it was before. But what constitutes a hard launch? Do you need to have product in the market? If so, how much? KitGuru investigates.

At launch, AMD offered the Radeon HD 6850 at just £133 inc vat. That was for early birds who ordered the XFX version from Scan. Less than an hour later, not to be out done, eBuyer had the Sapphire version at £132. At some point that morning, there was no stock left and you could not find a 6850 for less than about £155. But they were still in the market, albeit more expensively.

So how many cards does nVidia or AMD need to produce to be called a real launch?

Hands up if you prefer your launch nice and hard

The world breaks into EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa – sometime with India), APAC (Asia Pacific) and America (USA with Canada and LAR (Latin American Region)).

Each of these 3 regions will have big markets and small ones. For Europe, we are talking about territories like UK, France, Germany, Nordics etc.

Those countries each have active resellers – the major stores that you see most in the news and on Google etc. Here in the UK, we’re talking about companies like Dabs, eBuyer, Overclockers, Scan and YOYOTech.

To be considered a real or ‘hard’ launch, a manufacturer needs to have some stock in each of the major resellers. For example, in the UK, that might mean 5 cards dropped into each of these 5 resellers. That’s 25 cards for the UK. Another 25 for 4-6 other territories in EMEA, 100 for America and the same for APAC.

If nVidia can put around 350 cards into the market in time for the launch of the GTX580 next week, then KitGuru believes it would have done enough to call it a real launch.

Naturally, you’d expect a strong follow-up of deliveries in the weeks immediately after the launch, but a lot of that will be dictated by how many issues TSMC experiences in making the full, 512 stream processor Fermi.

These new cards will offer 384 less cores than a Quadro Plex 7000, but it will be significantly cheaper.

KitGuru says: We will be revealing more GTX580 secrets shortly. But, for now, we reckon the new card will just scrape past KitGuru’s requirement for a hard launch.

Comment below on whether you think we’re measuring this correctly.

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