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home : reviews : GeForceFX Preview : page 2

Written by Giovanni Glass, Editor-in-Chief
November 18, 2002

Photo Realistic?
Do game graphics need to photo-realistic? I think not. Rather, games need to be true to the game designer’s vision. The GPU is merely the enabler to the designer’s vision. If the GPU is a limitation, a wall if you will, then the game suffers. The gamer suffers in that they are less immersed into a game or even worse, they turn it off and do something in the real world. All jokes aside, the GPU is a tool and NVIDIA’s GeForceFX is all about enabling a designer’s vision become a reality.

What’s New?
.13 micron chip process with copper interconnects
A smaller process means more transistors (125 million total), less heat dissipation (flip-chip design like an Intel or AMD CPU), faster switching, and less power consumption. It’s a win-win situation with die shrinks and NVIDIA has implemented .13 micron with the help of their chip fabrication provider in Taiwan. The GeForceFX is the first NVIDIA GPU to operate at 500MHz internal clock.

Eight pixels per clock
The previous generation GPU, the GeForce4 Ti series, pushed 4 pixels per clock. By doubling the pixel pipelines, the GeForceFX can theoretically output twice the amount of pixels in a single cycle. Framerate doesn’t exactly double but it does create a nice boost in framerate.

One gigahertz effective data rate via DDR2 at 500MHz
Memory bandwidth is the crutch of all GPUs. NVIDIA has been the leader in pushing bandwidth and memory technology to the extreme. They were the first to incorporate DDR for graphics, now they are the first to integrate DDR2. DDR2 is a new Jedec approved memory standard that succeeds DDR. DDR2 allows for higher signaling frequencies which consequently are beneficial for the GeForceFX. Operating at 500MHz signaling speed and having a 1GHz effective data rate nearly doubles the previous GeForce4 Ti 4600 speed of 600Mhz effective data rate – 300MHz signal rate.

AGP 8x
AGP 8x is the next generation AGP implementation. At 2.1GB/s transmission rate, all data passing between the GPU and the CPU and RAM is faster. Latency is also reduced. Coupled with Fast Writes and Side-Band Addressing, AGP8x increases texture and vertex uploads to the graphics card. Performance increases with AGP8x don’t translate well to framerate however. Contrary to popular belief, AGP8x won’t significantly improve framerate. Current games are optimized for slower AGP transmission rates such as 4x and 2x. However, games in the future may benefit with the added bandwidth as games become more detailed with higher polygons and more textures.

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