This was something I posted about a couple of months ago but had to remove. Loki/R390/R420 - all the same thing; essentially a very, very fast R3x0-generation part with a few hardware additions to support more advanced shaders and optimise for stencil-based rendering. The original R400 project was canned and the tech carried forward into R500.
x-bit are always pretty lame as far as this kind of report goes. They invariably just re-hash things that have been made public already on B3D forums or The Inq.
I think that "2x" estimate might actually be a little conservative in some cases. An 8x1 architecture clocked at ~600MHz is not out of the question, IMHO. It could well be an 8x2/16x1 configuration of some kind, although these reports of 110-150 million transistors doesn't really support that idea. Their mindset when it comes to the design of Loki certainly seems to be extremely performance-oriented.
nVidia are targetting 550-600MHz core for the NV40 (a "true" 8-piper), paired with 700-800MHz (that's 1.4-1.6GHz DDR) memory so expect similar performance leaps from them too.
x-bit are wrong on the process details - it's a 0.13u part, not 0.15u. I believe they're re-using some physical elements from RV350.
It could be 200% but ATI better get better drivers. Maybe they have fixed everything now. If so, then cool. But otherwise performance wouldn't matter if the drivers were not that great. Nvidias drivers are still excellent and installing a nvidia card usually doesn't have hastles after. But on second thought, the radeon 9800 does look more attractive than the Nvidia ONLY because the price is 200 dollars less. But when the 5900 Ultra is down to around 300, then cool .
So what is the 390? Is it a cut-down version of the R350 core?
If they doubled the textures per unit, then they could say 2x as powerfull. This would only be for the fill rate of dual textureed pixels and does not repressent as much in the real world.
I still want a middle of the road card sometime this year to replace my Geforce4 Ti4200. This card is getting pretty old, but it still sells good in the mid-ranged market. The Radeon 9500Pro, 9600 Pro and GeForceFX 5600 are in the pricerange that I am looking at, but the performance is not that much better than my GeForce4. I want a good jump like when I went from my Geforce2GTS to GeForce4 Ti4200.