November 8, 2006 1:32 PM PST

Nvidia rolls out speedy 3D graphics hardware

Related Stories

The dawn of Vista

January 26, 2007
SAN JOSE, Calif.--Nvidia unveiled its latest high-powered graphics technology Wednesday in front of a crowd of several hundred boisterious gamers here.

The new GeForce 8800 graphics cards (click here for CNET review) can allocate processing power as needed to create strikingly realistic 3D images. Several gaming PC companies, including Alienware and Velocity Micro, have announced plans to carry the 8800 graphics card in their systems.

Nvidia event

Nvidia's new graphics cards will help PCs deal with a wave of graphics-intensive applications arriving in 2007. Among those will be the Aero graphics technology in Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system, high-definition video and the DirectX10 application programming interface, said Jen-Hsun Huang, president and chief executive officer of Nvidia.

Computer graphics are currently created through a series of processing steps, explained Ujesh Desai, general manager of Nvidia's desktop GPU business. In a basic example, the chip draws the outline of an image (vertex shading), then fills in the color shading to finish off the image, a process known as pixel shading.

The problem with this approach is that some images have complex shapes but relatively simple coloring, yet the number of transistors dedicated to either vertex shading or pixel shading is fixed. In this example, the transistors dedicated to pixel shading have to sit idle while waiting for the vertex shader to finish its task.

Nvidia's unified shader architecture allows the graphics processor to use some of the idle transistors that were previously dedicated to pixel shading to help with the vertex shading. It works the other way, too, so that if an image is relatively simple but colorful, the vertex shading transistors can switch over to pixel shading. This should dramatically improve the overall graphics performance of PCs with the GeForce 8800 cards, Desai said.

The GeForce 8800 GTX and 8800 GTS are the first graphics cards to use the new technology, and they are available immediately, Desai said. The GTX costs $599, while the GTS costs $449 and offers slightly less performance.

See more CNET content tagged:
transistor, NVidia, pixel, video card, Nvidia GeForce


Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Of course Alienware will jump on this band wagon, like they do
with any new technology, but the question; is will they be able to

I preordered an Alienware mALX system back in June and they
failed to deliver it by the end of September having given an
estimated despatch date of December. Looking at the Alienware
site today, their estimated despatch date is now January the 8th.
This is fine, but when customer services keep telling you that
"the cases are due in any day now" and then fail to call you back,
this is a pretty bad show!

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>

I cancelled my order and bought a MAC instead.

So, great new gfx card ahoy, but don't expect to see it in an
Alienware any time soon!
Posted by Christopher Brind (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Who needs a powerful GPU in a Mac anyway if you can't play any games?
Posted by Ryo Hazuki (378 comments )
Link Flag
What you went from a gaming machine to a overhyped crap!
Why the hell would you buy a freakn Macintosh after wanting a gaming machine. You won't be able to play any games with that mac except a few from years ago! Unless you got an intel mac, even then though you would have to dual boot with boot camp. Is osx worth having to reboot to play a game, or use a windows app? I for one think the hype with osx is horrible, you have to use apples expensive drm ridden proprietary apps, because you don't have much choice at all. A Mac is fine if all you do is surf the net, but for a "do it all" computer a windows machine is the way to go. Especially if you build it yourself, and semi-futureproof it with components that you can keep when you upgrade! Yeah thats another thing you can't do with a mac. you pay $2000+ for one and in 2 years you have to throw that away and pay another 2 grand. No thank you, I upgrade my windows machine every 2 years for around 300-600 depending on whats out, I just got a core2duo 2.66ghz, 1gb ddr2ram, a geforce7900gs, and a new psu for $550. Keeping my old slick black X-dreamer case, drives and peripherals. Well have fun not playing games on the mac.
Posted by World69star (4 comments )
Link Flag
If you had the time...
If you had all that time to wait for them to deliver it to you, just build it yourself. The problem with Alienware is they are now too big for their own good. Sure they have been strong innovators in a market they nearly created for themselves but they are now too main stream to continue being the leading edge gaming system company they were seeking to be.

For the money, build it yourself from the system specs you see from Alienware. You'll save enough money to upgrade it next y ear to the latest and greatest.
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
Link Flag

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot



RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.