After NVIDIA announced its new "Fermi" architecture this week, with CEO Jen-Hsun Huang holding up an example card during his keynote presentation, some began to wonder about the authenticity of that display model. Charlie Demerjian at SemiAccurate posted an article on Thursday, which used pictures from PC Watch to highlight suspicions that the card show on stage couldn't possibly have been a working Fermi board. A number of things about it just didn't look right, with components that obviously didn't line up with the PCB traces and the PCB itself being apparently cut down. NVIDIA have now confirmed that the card shown on stage was indeed a mock up model, though it also stresses that the demos shown during the conference claimed to be running on Fermi hardware were in fact doing just that. Apparently the real boards weren't in the kind of state that it wanted to be showing off, so we will have to wait for product shots once the designs have been finalised.
The question a number of people have therefore been asking is whether showing a mock up on stage without making it explicitly clear was a deliberately misleading move. We all know that in the GPU market, neither of the big two companies are above taking pots shots at the other to try and gain an advantage (even in purely marketing terms). From one perspective, mock ups of products certainly aren't unusual in presentations and NVIDIA would obviously like to give everyone present something representative of a final product to take a look at. On the other hand, the presentation of the card may have given the impression (intended or not) that development of the product was further along than it actually is. With the latest AMD GPUs already out there in the market, giving consumers a reason to hang on before making a purchase is desirable. I'll let you decide for yourselves on what NIVIDIA's intentions were, but either way, the GPU industry continues to be as exciting (or infuriating, depending on your outlook) as ever.