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AMD reacts to Kepler news, 7000 series prepped and priced

It's been nVidia's plan of record to push Kepler through to the market before Xmas 2011.AMD has been a little more flexible/less clear. Until now. KitGuru spies in Taiwan are hearing that TSMC is cranking the gears of war, for both sides. Let battle commence!

Anyone who's worked in the PC market, knows that Q4 is a tough time to transition to a new technology. But needs must and, right now, AMD and nVidia need to push out more graphic card sales.

The UK market for graphic cards has dropped almost 50% in just under 10 years. There have been 2 distinct pressures at work here.

First, there is longevity of each generation. Game development has slowed to a halt around the console specs. Game developers look at Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3, see that the sale into the PC market is ‘similar', while the console unit shipments tell a very different story. Superior PC graphics and online capabilities die next to the ease of use on the XBox 360 etc. With the money in console sales, developers are loath to move the goal posts too far away from the under-the-TV frag boxes.

Second, we have the on-going march of integrated graphics. From a ‘poor excuse' when the present generation of consoles launched, integrated solutions like Fusion are now able to hold their own against low-end graphic cards.

After analysing the available sources, we can confirm that the Radeon 7000 will have at least 64MB of memory for graphics, come in a brightly coloured box and have the ability to support multiple screens. Even DVI. It all adds up to a bit of a monster.

Why is Christmas such a bad time for a roll out for the channel?  Well, it's a question of inventory. While the new processes ramp up to produce the ‘AMD 7000' or ‘nVidia 600', the channel can only order the 6000 and 500 in any kind of bulk. So the question becomes, ‘What should you order' to ensure you have something ready for your customers armed with Xmas dollars from aunt Mary?

Tough call.

For added fun, we're now hearing that the AMD 7000 series is much closer to being ready to launch than the market thought.

It's not likely to be as much of a revolution as nVidia's Kepler chip, but – then again – having a hunk of new technology didn't really help the GTX480 when it first hit the market. The key question is, ‘Can it be made in volume and sold at a profit?'

28nm is a relatively new TSMC process for nVidia and AMD, so yields won't be so high. The increased performance and features will attract attention and it's the busiest time of year. Taking all that into account, here's where we guess the pricing will land.

KitGuru says: AMD's spinners seem to have done a good job of telling the market that there's nothing ready, but at the same time nVidia's insistence that Kepler will launch in December seems to have Rory Read's crew on its toes. They were ready for a January launch, but can be pulled in. One driving force for AMD's move could be the fact that the special edition Asus ROG Mars II card is the fastest card in the world, and it's nVidia powered. Maybe AMD just wants the crown back?

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