updated 02:00 pm EST, Thu February 22, 2001
NVIDIA has officially announced the GeForce3 graphics card, which will be available first on the Mac, featuring the first fully programmable GPU; the company's nfiniteFX Pixel Shader processor and Vertex Shader processor that give developers the ability to program a virtually infinite number of special effects and custom looks. In addition, the card supports the first high-resolution antialiasing (HRAA) GPU for high-resolution, high-quality, high-performance multisampling capabilities. Finally, the GeForce3's advanced transform and lighting features allow game developers to inject personality into environments and characters...
NVIDIA's nfiniteFX Engine
The GeForce3 GPU's nfiniteFX engine gives developers the ability to program a virtually infinite number of special effects and custom looks. Instead of every developer choosing from the same hard-coded palette of capabilities and ending up with a generic look and feel, application developers can specify personalized combinations of graphics operations and create an unlimited list of their own effects. Two architectural advancements enable the nfiniteFX engine's programmability and its multitude of effects: Vertex Shaders and Pixel Shaders.
Injecting Personality and Ambiance via Vertex and Pixel Shading Operations
Vertex Shaders inject personality into characters and environments. Motion invades the entire scene, not just the focal points. The vertex processing capabilities allow characters to move and show facial emotion, materials to stretch, and the scene to come alive. By customizing the skinning and motion, developers can create an appropriate personality, intensifying the impact of the visualization or animation.
Pixel Shaders create ambiance with materials and surfaces that mimic reality. Amazingly realistic material effects replace the artificial, computerized look with high-impact organic surfaces. Characters now have facial hair and blemishes, golf balls have dimples, a red chair gains a subtle leather look, and wood exhibits texture and grain. By altering the lighting and surface effects, artists are able to manipulate colors, textures, or shapes and generate complex, realistic scenes.
High Performance, High Resolution, High Quality
The Lightspeed Memory Architecture(TM) brings power to the GeForce3, delivering earth-shattering performance and fluid motion even for the most complex scenes. NVIDIA's new Quincunx antialiasing (AA) mode, generates high performance samples at nearly four-times the rate of the GeForce2 Ultra, while excellent visual quality.
Rendering at high resolutions with high frame rates becomes the standard with GeForce3, as its advances in pixel rendering and memory efficiency break down the boundaries of frame buffer bandwidth and enable high-resolution antialiasing (HRAA) for the first time ever on the PC.
Sophisticated Processing Technology
The GeForce3 is the world's most advanced GPU with more than 57 million transistors and the ability to perform more than 800 billion operations per second and 76 billion floating point operations per second (FLOPS). The GeForce3 GPU achieves an astounding 3.2 billion antialiased samples per second fill rate -- more than four times the performance of the award-winning GeForce2 Ultra and more than seven times the processing power of any competitive consumer graphics product. As do all of the GeForce family products, GeForce3 drives the most extreme resolutions and color depths of up to 2048x1536x32.
Another key feature of GeForce3 is its high-definition video processor (HDVP) that enables a variety of crystal-clear HDTV solutions when combined with a mainstream CPU and a low-cost DTV receiver. The HDVP allows mainstream high-performance processors to support all 18 Advanced Television Standards Committee (ATSC) formats with a simple, cost-effective DTV receiver card.