It's almost been four months since NVIDIA released their GeForce2 GTS graphics chipset. Based on a second generation transform and lighting engine and running at faster clock speeds than the GeForce256, the performance of the GeForce2 GTS continues to dominate the consumer based 3D graphics market.
NVIDIA will be making two major announcements today. The first is the availability of their Detonator 3 reference drivers which will provide increased performance for existing GeForce owners. The second announcement, which caught me by surprise when I learned about it last week, is that NVIDIA is launching their latest chipset - the GeForce2 Ultra.
Many of you will be asking if the GeForce2 Ultra the code name for the NV20? Unfortunately, the answer is no. The internal code name used at NVIDIA for the GeForce2 Ultra is the NV16. Well, what about the NV20? The word from NVIDIA is that they are waiting on the availability of new process technology (.15 micron) and new API's (DirectX 8) which all comes together next season.
But all is not lost. The GeForce2 Ultra is very fast. NVIDIA has taken a similar approach in increasing performance in the past with the TNT2 and TNT2 Ultra chipsets. With faster processor and memory speeds on the TNT2 Ultra, the brute force method of gaining additional performance from the GeForce2 GTS is what the doctor has ordered for us this time around.
Based on an advanced TSMC .18 micron fabrication process, the graphics processor speed on the GeForce2 GTS has increased to 250MHz. More importantly, due to the advances made in Dual Data Rate (DDR) memory, the memory is rated at 4.5ns and clocked at 460MHz.
GeForce2 Ultra Specifications
The higher memory clock speed is a welcome addition. The 33% increase in memory throughput on the GeForce2 Ultra will provide unprecedented performance at high resolutions using 32-bit color.
Before checking out the performance of the GeForce2 Ultra, let's see what's up with the Detonator 3 drivers.