In the mood to pick up a mid-range nVIDIA card?  Well, don’t!  At least not until the 21st, when we see the debut of the 9600GT, and a drop in the price of the 8600GTS.  Unless the rumoured delays we heard about yesterday turn out to be true.  Wen it does arrive, a 64 pipe 500MHz GPU with 512MB of 2000MHz RAM for under $200 seems to be a challenge to AMD’s lower priced cards.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a high end solution, don’t hold your breath.  I doubt we will be seeing the 9800GX2 in the beginning of March, and I would expect limited quantities once it does arrive.

“Nvidia is planning to launch its first GeForce 9 series graphics chip, the GeForce 9600 GT (G94), for the mid-range market on February 21, according to sources at graphics card makers.

The 9600 GT adopts a 65nm process and is manufactured by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). The GPU sees an increase in processing units, 64, and memory bus width, 256-bit, over previous 8600 GTS cards, 32 and 128-bit. The GPU’s performance should see an increase of over 40% compared to the 8600 GTS, said the sources.

The new GPU also introduces Dual-Streaming Decode technology which allows two high-definition image decoding processes to be performed at the same time and provides picture in picture (PIP) functionality.

GeForce 9600 GT graphics cards will be priced at around US$169-189, with GeForce 8600 GTS pricing expected to be adjusted to the US$139-149 range, revealed the sources.

However, some graphics card makers are expected to delay their GeForce 9600 shipments by 2-3 weeks due the recent discovery of a bug in the initial 9600 chips relating to power supply. Although Nvidia has already corrected the issue, makers will still need time to rework on their designs.

In additional news, the sources updated that Nvidia’s new generation high-end GPU, the GeForce 9800 GX2 has been delayed to the end of February or the beginning of March from its original schedule of mid-February.

Nvidia declined the opportunity to respond saying it cannot comment on unannounced products.”

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