This month we’ll see the introduction of a new graphics architecture from Nvidia, an architecture that’ll power a whole new generation of Nvidia graphics cards. Last week we’ve been briefed about Nvidia latest in a cozy hotel in San Jose, California and from what we’ve seen this is the most exciting product from Nvidia since the launch of the first Geforce a few years ago. Without going into the details too much, because we’re bound by an nda, we’ve been impressed by Nvidia’s presentation and the comments from the game developers that were present.
For example we’ve had a long discussion with Mark Rein from Epic, the developer of the Unreal and Unreal Tournament games, and talked to him about shaders, anti-aliasing, performance, etc. and basically what he’d like to see in future graphics cards. Mark was genuinely enthusiastic about Nvidia’s new architecture, and not just because they’ve got a deal with Nvidia. Especially the shader 3.0 compatibility allows him to program more efficiently, faster and with higher fidelity than was possible with shader 2.0 or 2.0b. We could catch a glimpse of what he meant from the new Unreal 3.0 engine demos he showed during the presentation, which were nothing short of breathtaking.
During the briefing Nvidia did not shy away from getting down to detail about the NV40' features, of which some reminded us of 3dfx’ Rampage, a design which never made it to the market and to which Nvidia now owns the rights. But honestly the NV40 architecture is every bit as revolutionary as Geforce was, we'll have to give Nvidia credit for that. On paper it looks like a card that'll give 3D gaming performance and image quality a big boost, vastly improve video playback and bring cinematic computing yet another step closer. However, the cards based on this new architecture will, again, carry the Geforce brand. Whether Nvoodoo or a new name would’ve sounded a lot better than yet another flavor of Geforce we’ll leave up to you to decide, as the Geforce brand has had quite a track record to date.