MAKER OF GRAPHICS CARDS Nvidia has finally launched its long awaited refresh of its Geforce range based on the Fermi architecture.
Despite being somewhat underpowered, the GTX480 will reclaim the crown as the world's fastest GPU, claims the Green Goblin.
The GTX480 and GTX470 finally add DirectX11 support, as well as tessellation, better stereoscopic 3D, improved SLI scaling, interactive ray tracing and physics processing as well as up to 32x anti-aliasing.
The 10.5-inch GTX480 reference card packs 480 shader cores running at 1401MHz into a 700MHz processor with 1536MB GDDR5 memory clocked at 1848MHz. It needs six-pin and eight-pin power connectors to pull the necessary 275W and supports 3-way SLI.
Meanwhile its 9.5-inch younger brother the GTX470 sports 448 shader cores running at 1215MHz in a 607MHz processor and 1280MB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 1674MHz. It needs two six-pin connectors for the 215W of power that it draws.
Despite clearly taking some major strides forward the entire presentation smacked of not-so-subtle desperation.
Comparisons to rival ATI where all done against a Radeon 5870, rather than the, admittedly dual-core, 5970, and even those comparisons with its own previous generation were done against a GTX285 and all were graphs normalised, but starting from 0.6 or 0.8 to visually inflate the performance increases.
Similarly, when it came to talking up tessellation, the company opted for comparing models from the newest Pirates of the Caribbean movie to a model of a character from Far Cry 2, that top end cutting edge video game launched just 18 months ago. The Nvidia spokesperson went on to comment on how the character in the game was wearing a hat because rendering hair realistically is so difficult, quite blithely skimming over the fact that the character in the second image was also wearing a headpiece.
That said, thanks to the addition of tessellation, Nvidia reckons that we'll see vastly improved effects for complex things like water and hair as well as better depth of field and similar environmental elements when combined with DirectX11.
The two Fermi chips also support Nvidia's 3D Vision, which basically combines stereoscopic 3D with multimonitor support, allowing for 3D over a trio of monitors providing a total resolution of 5670x1080, provided you have at least two such cards in your PC.
There is no doubt that Nvidia has upped its game considerably with this launch, but whether these GPUs are all they're cracked up to be or, more importantly to most consumers, whether they are worth the price tag remains to be seen.
Nvidia's partners' latest Geforce cards will be in the hands of reviewers and the rest of the world very soon, so it won't be long until we see if they back up Nvidia's claims that it has indeed taken back the fastest GPU crown.
The Nvidia Geforce GTX480 and GTX470 graphics cards will retail for about £429 and £299 respectively in the UK and around $499 and $349 or €479 and €349 in the US and Europe. µ