Nvidia officially denies sub 20 percent Fermi yields

Drew Henry talks Fermi and more

THE OFFICIAL WORD has finally made its way out from Nvidia in the shape of an interview with Drew Henry, the general manager for the MCP business unit at Nvidia. There are some very interesting comments in the interview and among other things he claims that Nvidia is happy with the Fermi yields.

Digitimes has a rather extensive review covering a wide range of subjects, but the first two questions and the answers are really the most interesting ones. The first question relates to the missing shaders, i.e., no 512 shader GPUs, and although Drew Henry isn’t willing to discuss any specifics, he does go on record saying that “[Nvidia has] a chance to launch a graphics chip with 512 cores in the future.” This doesn’t really say much, but at least it indicates that Nvidia is working on getting out some new products that should hopefully perform better than the GTX480.

Drew Henry continues to say that “TSMC’s yields for its 40nm process has met our expectations and market rumors about the yields being lower than 20 percent are completely untrue. We currently have everything under control.” Take that whichever way you want, but considering that Newegg doesn’t have a single GTX480 in stock, we very much doubt that everything is under control. In fact, we can’t find any GTX480 cards listed anywhere near the MSRP for sale. The best deal we could find online was an EVGA card on sale for the insane price of $700. Most other GTX480 cards are listed with a one to two month shipping time.

Moving on, the second questions is about how Nvidia intends to improve the power consumption and heat output by its Fermi GPU and what the schedule is for the rest of the GTX400 series. To this question Drew Henry replies that he thinks the “15-20W higher” power consumption of the GTX480 and GTX470 compared to the GTX285 isn’t a big deal, especially as it’s targeting performance users. He goes on to say that “to pay a little higher electricity bill in exchange for 10 percent more in performance, I believe consumers will think this is a worthwhile trade.” We’re not quite sure what to say to this, but it’s been proven time and time again that the GTX480 is by far the most power hungry graphics card ever created.

As to when we’ll see additional GeForce 400 series cards, well, there wasn’t a definitive answer; although Drew Henry did say that “the GeForce 400 series graphics cards will gradually be launched in the next few months to satisfy different markets”. The GTX460 Computex launch rumour might not be completely wrong after all. Whether we’ll see other 400 series cards is an entirely different matter though, but hopefully Nvidia will manage to announce more than a single “new” card at Computex.S|A

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