More on NVIDIA
On Monday morning, NVIDIA released more information about its GeForce FX, formerly referred to as NV30. Most of the hardware details were covered in Brandon’s GeForce FX preview, however, NVIDIA did give a few details about the expected performance of the card, albeit very preliminary. NVIDIA didn’t provide specifications of the test systems used or core/memory frequencies of the GeForce FX used for testing.
Nevertheless, NVIDIA claimed that in Quake III, running a resolution of 2048x1536 (QXGA), the GeForce FX is capable of 173.1 frames per second versus 93.9 for the GeForce4 Ti 4600. The Unreal Tournament 2003 Asbestos benchmark (4x anti-aliasing, 8x anisotropic filtering, 1280x1024) exposed an even greater performance discrepancy between the two cards. GeForce4 delivers 39.3 frames per second, while the GeForce FX reportedly manages 108.4. More than likely, the fully programmable pipeline is offering NVIDIA the opportunity to polish its anti-aliasing algorithms and anisotropic filtering performance. NVIDIA didn’t go into any detail about its planning methods for anti-aliasing, claiming that information is still confidential. Although Doom III is still a ways off, early benchmark numbers from NVIDIA show the GeForce FX at 49.8 frames per second compared to 20.9 for the GeForce4 at 1280x1024. NVIDIA also released early ProCDRS numbers for the NV30GL, the professional version of the GeForce FX.
Compared to past product launches (and even competing product launches), there weren’t many demos showcasing the new capabilities of GeForce FX. Hopefully, as the demo team logs more time with the card, we’ll see more of GeForce FX’s features in action. On paper, NVIDIA’s latest looks interesting. NV30’s core consists of 125 million transistors, is manufactured on a .13-micron process, and is slated to operate at 500MHz – not bad for such a complex graphics processor. However, its success will depend on a few factors. First, NVIDIA needs to have the card on store shelves by February, as estimated. NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang wouldn’t comment on the initial price of GeForce FX, but it clearly won’t be cheap.
Finally, it will be interesting to see what ATI is up to come February. Word on the street is that ATI’s follow-up to RADEON 9700 PRO (codenamed R350) has taped out recently and will be marketed under the name RADEON 9900. We’ve heard conflicting reports on its manufacturing process, we naturally assumed it would be a 0.13-micron part, but we’ve also been informed by another source that the design is 0.15-micron.
In any case, R350 will certainly boast higher clock speeds and performance, so GeForce FX could be in for quite a battle if it slips any further.