One of the most common rumors about the availability of GeForce GTX 480 series was that the problematic yield would only result in 9,000 boards available worldwide. Sadly for some, truth is completely different.
During the past few weeks, we tried to find out the launch volume of GeForce GTX 470 and GTX 480. Bear in mind that our conversations with nVidia's own partners didn't end well for the Graphzilla of Silicon Valley. In our talks with various company owners and high-level executives it was well, obvious that the situation is just not good for nVidia's ecosystem as a whole.
Getting back to the subject of nVidia's allocation and how come it has more than 2:1 ratio with Cypress GPU at launch, we learned that there is quite a good reason why nVidia's GeForce GTX 480 will come with 480 cores, as we first reported here. According to the sources at hand, nVidia was only able to produce a lowly board figure with 512 cores enabled [low 10s of thousands], thus there was a situation with potential shortage and a media and market backlash. The company acted upon the situation at hand and limited the number of cores, radically increasing the amount of functional GF100 dies. As a result, there should be more than 50,000 Fermi boards [this may not be the final figure, as we could not contact all AIC vendors and OEMs] available in the first 10 days of sales. According to our sources close to heart of the company, nVidia wants to overtake the number of Cypress GPUs [both Hemlock and Cypress, i.e. 5800 and 5900 Series] by the end of this summer. This does not include the mainstream parts of Evergreen family, to which AMD is steadily approaching the number of three million shipped dies [the three million mark should be hit very soon, if not hit already].
We also learned that nVidia shifted allocation of its 40nm wafers from lowly DirectX 10.1 parts into big-die Fermis - those numerous 40nm DX10.1 GPUs weren't only nVidia's plan to capture those 80% of Arrandale designs, but also to keep the highest possible allocation of 40nm process node for itself, and appropriately shifting the allocation from cheap DX10.1 GPUs to high-end Fermi dies. In any case, a clever strategy.
All in all, regardless of you being Green or Red, this will be a good two weeks for graphics. If you chose to acquire Red cards, there will be a series of "adjusted pricing" across the board, while Green cards will show their teeth and show themselves among numerous e-tailers and retailers.