It's been a long time coming, but today Nvidia’s next-gen graphics chip family, the NV30, gets its first official public airing. And a new moniker: step forward the Nvidia GeForce FX, a name intended to convey a "new age of cinematic visual effects for the desktop".
The GeForce FX renders graphics up to four times faster than the Ti 4600, hitherto Nvidia’s top-performing chip, and it is said to be approx. 25-50 per cent faster than the ATI Radeon 9700, current graphics performance leader. Systems incorporating the FX 5800 and 5800 Ultra, the first GeForce FX chips, should be out in January. At retail level, the chips will cost approx. $400 and $500.
So what's new? First up, a faster processor: 500MHz v. 325MHz in used in the TI4600. Next, there’s more memory bandwidth 1GHz DDRII DRAM (600MHz DDR1); new anti-aliasing technology, dubbed Intellisample, designed to double the efficiency of memory reads and writes; and AGP 8X bandwidth (double that of AGP 4X). Built using 0.13micron production technology, the GeForce FX also handles eight pixels per clock cycle, against 4 for its immediate predecessor, by definition doubling the theoretical fill rate.
Nvidia also has a story to tell games developers with the GeForce FX with what it calls the the Nvidia CineFX engine. This delivers "stunning visual effects" rendered in real time and fully compatible with Open GL, Direct X 9.0 Pixel Shader 2.0 and Direct X 9.- Vertex Shader 2.0. and 128-bit floating-point color per pixel coupled with much improved shader programming give developers the flexibility to create the "highest quality graphics". That's what Nvidia says. We'll wait for the reviews (as opposed to previews), which are we, guess, lining up for launch date. ®