NVIDIA's first GeForce 300 series cards may provide it with an unambiguous lead over AMD if purportedly leaked benchmarks are accurate. The tests suggest that the fastest single-chip GeForce card, the GTX 380, would be faster than the dual-chip Radeon HD 5970. They go so far as to suggest that a slightly speed-reduced card, the GTX 360, will often come close and in one case exceed AMD's flagship card.
Both would be even faster than the much more conventional Radeon HD 5870. It's not clear where the advantages would stem from, though the Fermi architecture that will underpin most GeForce 300 chips promises lifelike 3D graphics. It centers on a 512-core design that's ostensibly to help general computing but which should also help in massively parallel graphics duties.
The recipient of the benchmarks, Guru3D, notes that it's hard to verify the authenticity of the benchmarks. However, it notes that the formatting is at least partly consistent with NVIDIA's pre-release benchmarks and that the performance isn't necessarily unrealistic.
NVIDIA is unofficially due to launch the GeForce 300 line in early 2010, possibly as early as CES.