Charting the upcoming changes in the CPU and GPU worlds can be a daunting task, the tech world is a fast-paced industry and thus rumors on upcoming products from AMD, ATI, Intel, and NVIDIA combined can change on a weekly, if not sometimes daily basis. Therefore what we wanted to do with this article is give a quick summation of what these four companies are up to so that you, the end user, could be kept abreast of whatís coming so you can plan your CPU and GPU upgrades accordingly. But first, a few caveatsÖ
First of all, in order to keep things simple, weíre going to stick with what we widely regard to be true and accurate when it comes to rumors. That means we may not always go into specifics, but instead provide an overview of what to expect, and when to expect it. AMD, ATI, Intel, and NVIDIA like to keep as much information about their upcoming products out of the public eye as much as possible so as not to give away their plans to the competition.
AMD and Intel have to provide a little more information to their partners than ATI/NVIDIA, simply because their partners need to know whatís coming in advance so they can ensure that their products are compatible with the upcoming parts. For example, for Intelís upcoming quad-core Kentsfield launch, motherboard makers needed to know what kind of power Intel was shooting for in terms of voltage/power consumption, so they could provide the proper voltage regulators and other power circuitry needed as well as being able to ensure that their boards were ready for the task thermally.
Determining these figures isnít exactly rocket science, as Intel and motherboard manufacturers discovered during the latter stages of the Pentium 4 era with Prescott and other CPUs: these newer chips required increasing amounts of power and dissipated more and more heat and thus Intel and their partners went through a spate of new chipsets and motherboards to support them. But Intel and AMD do their best with their guesstimates in order to ensure that the transition process is as seamless as possible.
From what weíve been told by manufacturers, NVIDIA is at the complete opposite end of the spectrum, it hasnít been unheard of for NVIDIA to brief their board partners in detail just days before the press is briefed under NDA. NVIDIA can get away with this because their board production is often farmed out to Flextronics, who will frequently manufacture the first-generation high-end and midrange graphics cards for all of NVIDIAís board partners. All the board partner then has to do is take the card and slap it in a box and itís out the door.
Weíre also not going to be looking ahead too far in the future. The next 12 months should suffice for this article. Letís start with the CPU manufacturers first, beginning alphabetically with AMD.