updated 05:15 pm EST, Thu February 25, 2010
NVIDIA Fermi cards only for loyal firms initially
NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 470 and 480 will only be available in short supply and at very high prices, a leak from within the graphics field claims. Although the company has promised a launch on March 26th at PAX East, boards based on the new architecture will reportedly only be available through the companies most loyal to NVIDIA and don't sell any ATI-branded graphics. The sources allege that "second-tier" third parties that sell both brands will have to wait until sometime in April.
Two better-known brands, PNY and XFX, are said by DigiTimes to be taking pre-orders for the cards and suggest that NVIDIA may price its cards well above AMD's offerings. The GTX 470 may now cost as much as $500 while the GTX 480 flagship may cost $680, or well above the $599 maximum that AMD charges for a dual chip Radeon HD 5970.
The release schedule and pricing would not only rule out the technology finding its way into mainstream hardware in the near future but would also give AMD little reason to engage in a price war, as nearly all its current lineup wouldn't compete directly even if the GeForce technology is faster. NVIDIA has championed the Fermi architecture as much more powerful for general-purpose tasks like OpenCL and CUDA, but its very complex design has triggered multiple delays where AMD has shipped its simpler but still fast ATI Radeon HD 5800 series months in advance.