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nVidia prepares to launch new card – but which one?

If only the software producers could release triple-A titles as fast as nVidia and AMD are releasing new graphics cards – the world would certainly be a more entertaining place. Something has just arrived in the KitGuru sandbox, but there is not much detail attached. Here's what we have.

The single most shocking picture see inside the offices of KitGuru recently, came from our very own Labs. It was a simple snapshot of a benchmark. Why was it so shocking? Because it shows the AMD Radeon 6850, launched at the end of October 2010 – sitting at the bottom. As one of the fastest Radeon graphics cards ever made, the Radeon 6850 should, surely, have enjoyed slightly longer in the limelight?

Here's that picture.

It's quite scary how fast the top end of this chart is extending itself.

The truth is that the VAST majority of cards sold in 2011, will actually sit UNDERNEATH the 6850.

So, if you were nVidia uber-guru, Jen Hsun Huang, where would you like to stick your next production?

For ego, it would aim toward the top of this list – to try and reclaim the “World's fastest graphics card” mantle that AMD has held since November 2009.

But from a purely financial point of view, it makes much more sense to stick your next product into the thickest, deepest, juiciest honeypot. The one that sits between £80 and £150. The sub-$200 mark which is probably sub €150, (KitGuru always tries to work in pricing that you will actually pay, on the shelf, including sales tax).

Thinking back, while the 6800 Ultra and GT cards were very popular, it was the 6600 that stole the show and increased nVidia's market share. Affordability is crucial in the battle between the various hardware vendors. Focusing lower down the food chain can yield much better returns.

Having heard that a new card might launch soon into this midrange space, KitGuru set up the special telescope in Santa Clara.

OK, the financial grant was from SETI - but don't tell anyone we use it for spying!

We zoomed in on one of the open windows at nVidia's design centre and saw this unusual object in the top left hand corner of a very tired designer's work.

KitGuru's enhanced imaging system at work. Notice how 'cool technology' actually shows in colour.

So what is the image seen top left?

It must be technology – or our special telescope would not have shown it in colour.

Zooming in, the connectors at the rear appear to offer 2x traditional connectors (DVI/VGA) and an HDMI. Right at the very top, we think there's one connector for SLi.

Looking at the size of the card compared to the PCI connector, you'd have to guess that there's only room for 1GB of GDDR5.

KitGuru says: All very interesting, but what is this card, how fast will it be and how much will it cost? We'll keep the telescope trained and report back on anything else we see.

Comments below or in the KitGuru forum.

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