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Sharky Extreme : December 15, 2004

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Written by: Joan "Mango" Wood : April 16th 1999

As a follow up to Sharky Extreme's inference in the "Creative Shines a light on that Mud" interview that Ultra TNT2 products may suffer from the same delays as the Voodoo3 3500 product, Steve Mosher, Vice President of the Graphics Business Unit at Creative Labs has given us an earful. Regarding the 'theoretical' delivery schedule of TNT2 vs. Ultra TNT2 as compared to the Voodoo3 3500 lagging behind the Voodoo3 2000 & 3000, he had this to say:

"It is not entirely accurate to assume that Ultra products will be delayed behind regular TNT2 products. Let me explain in an overly simplified way, how the process works.

The factors that influence this decision are too numerous to catalogue, but let me give you a few sample scenarios. The first thing that can delay the faster parts is the completion of the screening program. For example, you could be testing parts at 143MHz for a couple of weeks or more before you put a 183 MHz test into place. In this case, you have a decision, do you start to ship the slower parts while you wait for the test program to be put in place for the faster parts, or do you hold shipment on the slower parts until you start to receive the faster parts. In most cases, since revenue is a good thing, you start to ship as soon as possible. But, this is by no means a hard and fast rule. On the other hand, you could also put the speed binning program into place very early, this would allow you to get fast parts at the same time you got the slower parts.

Another factor that can delay the faster part to market is the yield and build plan. If the fast part is low yielding, then you MAY not have enough to ship, so you MAY have to wait until you have a sufficient quantity. Its not only the yield that influences this, but the total number of chips built. If the yield of fast parts is 10%, and you build a total of 100K parts, then you yield 10K fast parts. 10K parts may not be enough parts to justify a launch. Different companies will respond to this situation in different ways. Some will wait until they have enough; some will ship what they have. So it's a combination of the absolute number of chips built, the yield of fast parts, and the product launch philosophy. For example, if you had a 10% yield, but were building a Million chips, that would yield 100K fast parts. Some companies would consider 100K parts enough to justify a launch.

So, I think you jumped to a conclusion that may not be true for all manufacturers. Some could ship the Ultra first, some could ship them at the same time as regular TNT2, and some could ship them later.

Clear as Mud I hope".

Steve Mosher
Vice President, Graphics Business Unit
Creative Labs, Inc.

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