Bjorn3D heeft wat info over de Rendition V3K en V4K. Er zijn hier in de polder geloof ik nogal wat Stealth II gebruikers, die vast wel geïnteresseerd zijn in hoe de zaken daar bij Rendition lopen (nogal chaotisch, V3300 gecancelled enzo).
Voor wie het niet meer weet hier wat (erg veel) info van Bjorn:
I had the chance of chatting with Chris a bit more yesterday and asked him a few more follow-up questions from the chat I had with him a few days ago.
* How can Micron/Rendition say they won’t make any money on the V3k chip is they would release it?
As long as they fab’ed the chips I thought they at least would be able to get back some of the money by selling cards with them on even if they don’t make a profit. Chris though said that it’s not that easy. The first quantity of chips made is about 1000 chips. If they would go commercial with the chip they would have to make another production run with 100 000 chips. So by not going ahead with a commercial version of the chip they would save the money they have to invest for those 100 000 chips. Of course one might say that they still would get the money back when selling boards but I understand that it does involve some consideration before deciding to go forward and produce 100 000 more chips.
* One of my thoughts has been this: If the V3k and the V4k share parts of the core and any debugging and tweaking of the V3k benefits the development on the V4k, would this also apply after the chips has been fab’ed? In other words - would the v4k development benefit from continued debugging and tweaking of the real silicon? Chris said that the chips share some of the logic. This is the part they now are concentrating on debugging and tweaking in the "chip-simulator". This changes when you go silicon as they won’t even be made by the same fabrics. So according to Chris any continued debugging/tweaking of the silicon V3k won’t benefit the v4k (or at least not as I understood it). This brought me to my next question:
* With the specs that I’ve seen on the chip it sounds odd that they haven’t rushed it out yet and released it as it is very competitive to both the Voodoo2 and the TNT (including the 0.25 micron TNT).
Chris reminded me that as they don’t have the chips in silicon yet there is no way to guarantee it will match those target specs right away. The numbers that have been quoted are what they target the chip at. But as we all may remember it’s not always the target specs is reached right away. The V2200 came out with some serious bugs that made it drop it’s performance very much. It took a lot of debugging and tweaking to get it up to speed again. There is always a risk that this happens to the V3k to (although as far as I remember Rendition has been quite good on matching the announced specs - that’s why I am at least semi confident they eventually would be able to do it with the v3k to).
In connection with this Chris asked me this question:
If the v3k is fab’ed and it turns out it doesn’t perform up to the specs. How much time and manpower should they allocate for debugging and tweaking the chip when it at the same time means that the development of the v4k is delayed?
I guess this is the kind of decisions and questions the high-guys at Rendition/Micron must consider all the time. It’s easy for us to say to them what to do as we don’t have to take any responsibility for any consequences ….
Chris question though lead me to another thing I’ve been thinking of.
* Considering that Rendition/Micron now should be a fairly large company together it sounds a bit odd that they can’t continue develop the v4k and at the same time work on the v3k. It can’t be good that they have to choose what to concentrate on instead of being able to work on several larger projects at the same time. We should be able to get v3k boards out now while they still can keep the v4k development on track.
Chris said that this is one of the reasons they are hiring so many new people. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like they will be there during the v3k/v4k development. I think it’s imperative that they come there soon though as it can’t be good that you have to basically choose between 2 products like the V3k and the v4k when the natural thing would be to release both as they are chips from 2 different generations.
I also asked how long after a chip is fab’ed it would take to get a board out on the market (some extra debugging and tweaking included). He said he didn’t have enough knowledge to give a estimated time-frame as it depends on a lot of variables (including moon-phase, colour of shirt etc. ). Other people have said that it might take up to a few months though.
Finally - there’s a new article at TechWeb which says that a decision about the V3k will be made this week. Well, I asked Chris about it and he said that as far he had been told the decision of manufacturing the v3k’s had already been made. The decision that still is pending is if it will be a commercial product and this decision won’t be made until the chips come back from the factory. Chris also said that this would not happen this week. He would though check up if there had been any decision changes while he was away at Comdex..
In the end we still have no clue what will happen. I feel that the v3k is treated like the ugly duckling by Micron/Rendition. It still has no real place in their product portfolio other than a stepping stone to the v4k. Let’s hope the "ugly duckling" turns out to be a beautiful swan just as in the tale by H.C Andersen …
I thought I close up with some comments about Comdex. I expected a low key show (after being warned about it before the show) but this low-key? Ok, they showed some prototype SocketX stuff but where’s the announcement? Or what about a little press-statement? Did I miss them? And didn’t we expect at least a few announcements? Even though the "bomb-shell" stuff would come later? Sorry, this really doesn’t work! Ok, I can understand the confusion regarding the V3k. But what about the v4k? It’s the "Golden child" at Rendition/Micron right now. Both Nvidia and 3dfx announced products that should come out around the time frame we could expect a V4k (although the v4k probably will come end of Q2 start of Q3). Isn’t it time for the exec’s at Rendition/micron to have laid out the long term plans soon?
What I’m worried about is the fact that Rendition won’t be included in any 3D card overviews that will be made in January about the cards that are coming. If no one reads about you, you don’t exist. What I want to see real soon is a announcement where Rendition/Micron announces the v4kE for a Q2-Q3 release. It should include some of the features (I guess some of the FOW features might still apply) + a rough target fillrate and clockspeed. Market it as Rendition’s new revolutionary technology (embedded DRAM) etc. etc. As soon as the decision has been made for the V3k a press-release should be issued regarding the "imminent" release of boards using Rendition’s "third generation" 2D/3D chipset. Once again include features and fillrate and some other benchmarks. I’m no big marketing guy so I’m sure others ahve much better ideas but I feel something needs to be done … However I know Chris has ideas that he wants to get approved so it’s not all lost I guess.
Oh, I totally forgot to ask him about drivers and the FFVII patch. I'll see if I can catch him later with those questions.