Nvidia claims Fermi yields are fine

Despite the minimal stock of GeForce GTX 480 cards at retailers, Nvidia insists that yields of the 40nm chips from TSMC have met expectations, and that UK stock of Fermi cards will be in plentiful supply next week.

Speaking to Digitimes, Nvidia’s general manager of GeForce products, Drew Henry, claimed that “TSMC's yields for its 40nm process has (sic) met our expectations.” He also added that “market rumours about the yields being lower than 20% are completely untrue. We currently have everything under control.”

The statement follows a report from Street Insider earlier this month, which revealed that US investment banking firm Needham & Company had apparently lost faith in the supply of Nvidia’s latest GPU architecture.

An analyst from the firm was reported as saying: “We are downgrading Nvidia to a Hold.” They explained that the decision came “after a series of channel checks indicating that Fermi is not ramping well and there could be further product delays. Based on our findings, Nvidia has very limited supply of Fermi desktop/notebook parts and yields remain poor at around 20-30%.”

While the precise yield of 40nm chips at TSMC isn’t known, there has certainly been a shortage of GTX 480 cards in the UK. Back when Nvidia launched the GTX 470 and 480, Nvidia said it was “confident that during April that there will be enough cards” to satisfy demand.

However, while you can pick up a few GeForce GTX 470 cards from UK retailers such as Overclockers, GTX 480 cards are still in very short supply. According to Nvidia, the stock problems should ease up next week. A spokesperson for the company explained to THINQ that stock coming into EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) had been held up by the recent volcanic ash cloud, which held up flights for several days this month.

Now that the ash has cleared, we’re assured that shipments of Fermi cards will start trickling into UK shops now and next week. This even includes GeForce GTX 480s, with a couple of Zotac GTX 480s expected to arrive at Novatech later today.

It remains to be seen whether TSMC really can supply enough chips to satisfy demand for Fermi cards, but we should have a much better idea if there is indeed a plentiful supply of cards in retailers next week. If you want to snag yourself a GeForce GTX 480 in the UK, then keep an eye on the usual retailers next week.

It's worth noting (Ed. writes), that when Henry said TSMC's yields for its 40nm process had met Nvidia's expectations, the firm would have known yields would be low.