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Nvidia bets on budget chip

The graphics chip leader hopes to convert more graphics professionals with a new low-end processor for workstations.

Gaming
Graphics chip leader Nvidia introduced a new graphics processor Wednesday aimed at the budget end of the workstation market.

The Quadro FX 500 is the latest entry in Nvidia's line of FX processors, which got off to a shaky start after repeated delays and production glitches hit the initial desktop versions of the graphics chip.

The Quadro line is intended for workstations, which are high-performance PCs used for demanding tasks such as animation, video editing and architectural drafting. Nvidia introduced the Quadro FX line earlier this year with the Quadro FX 2000 and 1000. These high-end and midrange products supported a number of recent innovations, including faster memory chips based on the emerging DDR-II standard.

Graphics boards fitted with the Quadro FX 2000 sell for around $1,400 to $1,600, with the 1000 version going for $900 to $1,000. The new 500 will push the price of such boards down to around $400, a level that should allow a wider range of graphics professionals to take advantage of Nvidia technology such as Cg, a set of graphics programming tools introduced last year.

"With the introduction of Nvidia Quadro FX 500, we're able to offer our customers a fully scalable range of workstation graphics solutions," Jeff Brown, director of workstation product management at Nvidia, said in a statement.

The Santa Clara, Calif., graphics chip maker competes mainly against ATI Technologies, which has tried to capitalize on its rival's troubles with the FX line of processors by introducing speedy new desktop chips and related products for specialty markets such as workstations.

Company executives have said Nvidia has solved its production issues, however, and they expect it to regain the speed lead from ATI with its new GeForce FX 5900 desktop chip.

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