Chicago (IL) - Nvidia so far declined to provide any information to if and when it will consider supporting the DirectX 10.1 API in its GPUs, a technology that’s already integrated into AMD’s Radeon cards for some time now. Roadmap information we stumbled across today offers a bit more clarity and suggests that the company’s next-generation desktop and notebook chips will support DirectX 10.1.
DirectX 10.1 has been a confusing story for most of us, with no clear indication on which graphics card you should buy to be able to get access to the best feature set. ATI Radeon cards as well as S3 have been supporting DirectX 10.1 for a while now, but Nvidia remains silent about its future API plans - leaving the gaming market and its customers in uncertainty.
A presentation slide we received, but unfortunately cannot share with you in order to protect our source, clearly states that Nvidia will offer DirectX 10.1 support with its next-generation notebook GPUs that are scheduled for a spring 2009 release. DirectX 10.1 is also likely to be offered in the next desktop GPU generation, which should debut either late in Q4 2008 or Q1 2009, with a possible ramp throughout Q1 and Q2 of 2009.
So, what does that mean? Well, it depends on your view.
What we know for sure is that with Nvidia’s decision to support DX10.1, the rest of t he industry will be embracing this API.
On the very high end, it may mean that you should think twice about spending $500 or more on a DX10.0 card. DX10.1 cards may be the better value proposition, if you want to run the latest games and don’t want to buy another $500 card six months from now. Nvidia’s new GPU generation, we hear, will also be 1.5 to 2 times faster than the current technology.
This decision may also have some implications for AMD. Realistically, AMD has a six-month advantage over Nvidia in terms of API support right now and also appears to have competitive hardware in place as well. If AMD plays this game smart, it should be able to regain market share, as the 4800 series may be the more attractive technology for computer graphics at this time - at least for those of us with a limited budget.
On a side note, Nvidia will be switching to GDDR5 memory, most likely within 2008. As GDDR5 chips are more available we expect first Nvidia GDDR5 cards to hit the market in Q4.