Welcome Flyby. We look forward to your contributions to our madness.
On the M11, it appears, at least so far, despite it being the logical next step, 256 MB VRAM is wishful thinking. Actually, considering what else is going on in the industry, its really not that surprising. Big changes afoot, AGP is a dead end with its successor being PCI Express or alternatively, Hypertransport. So why would ATI put a lot of effort into a new model that will be obsolesced so totally in such a short time. And its not just the bus system, there's BTX as the basic format for Mother Boards as well. Changes in memory, drives, even 64 bit architecture replacing 32 bit. Its a bloody revolution.
That's not to say ATI couldn't or wouldn't bump the M11 up to 256 MB. If they think they can squeeze a round of graphics processor money out of the using public (think obsessive gamers who will spend any amount to have the latest and greatest, even if for only a few months). While I am sure there's a lot that would jump on it without a moment's hesitation, the bigger question is if getting them to buy an M11 based on AGP would slow their enthusiasm for an M12 based on PCI Express in a few months. For the totally obsessed, they could probably squeeze in a couple of processors, but for vast majority, no way and ATI is not going to spoil the appetite for the new tech, too much to risk.