NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI and GeForce 8800 GTX Preview - Page 1 of 7
Review By Mike Chambers - November 8, 2006
Today marks NVIDIA's most impressive product launch ever as enthusiast-class computer hardware is being announced in their Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) and Media Communications Processor (MCP) segments. With the announcement and immediate availability of the next-generation GeForce 8800 GTX and GeForce 8800 GTS, NVIDIA is bringing the industry's first DirectX 10-based GPUs to market.
The second product that is being announced is the nForce 680i SLI Media and Communications processor, which is an updated motherboard chipset for the Intel Core 2 series of processors. On top of that news, we also learned that NVIDIA will be designing and manufacturing nForce 680i motherboards that will be sold by add-in partners.
GEFORCE 8800 SERIES
The GeForce 8 Series features a unified architecture and was used as the reference GPU for developing and certifying DirectX 10. Only available on Windows Vista, DirectX 10 offers improved performance and an enhanced set of development tools with Shader Model 4.0
NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX
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The GeForce 8800 GTX contains 128 stream processors running at 1.35GHz. Individually, each stream processor is capable of processing information from different types of graphics-related programs. Two types of programs that we are familiar with are pixel and vertex shaders.
GeForce 8800 GTX Architecture
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The GeForce 8800 stream processor has characteristics that are similar to a general purpose processor. For example, in addition to processing pixel and vertex shaders, the stream processor is well suited to process geometry shaders, which are new to DirectX 10, and physics via NVIDIA's Quantum Effects technology.
GeForce 8800 Specifications
The GeForce 8 Series also adds a variety of image quality improvements courtesy of its Lumenex Engine. There are three new Coverage Sample Antialiasing modes (CSAA), which use coverage samples to enhance an applications already existing modes of antialiasing. An 8xQ antialiasing mode has also been added, which is standard 8X multisampling.
Texture filtering quality has improved as the new default high quality anisotropic filtering removes angle optimizations and High Dynamic Range can now be enabled in conjunction with antialiasing.
NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS
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NFORCE 680I SLI CHIPSET
The nForce naming scheme has changed for the 600 Series. The letter "i" following the model number denotes that the chipset is for Intel processors. An "a" will be used to indicate that the chipset is for AMD processors.
The 680i SLI motherboard is designed by NVIDIA and is marketed as an enthusiast motherboard. The chipset is designed for extreme overclocking and supports high-speed DDR2 1200MHz memory.
NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI
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Two 2x16 PCI Express expansion slots ensure SLI support and a third slot will be used for graphics expansion and hardware-based physics support. SLI-Ready Memory with full Enhanced Performance Profiles (EPP) are supported while advanced BIOS settings can be managed under Windows using NVIDIA's nTune overclocking tools.
The nForce 600i Series will be available in three different versions - the nForce 680i SLI for hardcore enthusiasts, the nForce 650 SLI for performance games, and the nForce 650i Ultra for mainstream gamers.