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home : reviews : GeForce 2 GTS Preview : page 2

Joe Glass
April 26, 2000

So what is new?
The GeForce 2 GTS expands on the existing GeForce 256 feature set. Features such as hardware transformation and lighting, AGP 4x with fast writes, 32/64 mb DDR memory, hardware texture compression, hardware motion compensation engine, 350mhz RAMDAC, and DVI interface.

Regardless from whatever people say over the Internet. NVIDIA says the GeForce 2 GTS is not a simple refresh to their GeForce 256. There are fundamental changes from small optimizations to complete redesigns of nearly all parts of the GeForce 256. These changes include:

Die shrink from a .22 micron process to a .18 micron process. This is beneficial is several ways. Smaller transistors give more room for NVIDIA to pack transistors in the same space. The smaller die reduces heat and reduces power consumption. Power usage is down below 10 watts (around 8 watts) under load. This is significantly less than the GeForce 256. For those who had problems with GeForce 256 boards and power management, the GeForce 2 GTS will give you hardly any problems. Less heat and smaller circuit trace lengths improves timing. The core is capable of operating at 200mhz nominal (it can overclock even higher).

The chip now has an embedded digital TMDS (Transmission Minimized Differential Signaling) transmitter. Extra hardware and design was necessary on the GeForce 256 to add a DVI port for digital flat panel monitors. Hardware vendors can now add DVI ports with lower development costs as well as make better use of PCB space freed up by the integration.

The Video IO port, VIP, has been upgraded to full VIP 2.0 compliance. More add-in boards can now take advantage of the VIP and extend the uses that the original VIP 1.1 had on the GeForce 256. Add-in boards will make use of the VIP for digital overlays.

The NVIDIA reference design has much more components than the GeForce 256. There are so many in fact, the SVHS port had to be elevated to a small daughter card to hold the SVHS connector. Unfortunately, the reference board that I received is missing a DVI port. This reference board won’t be able to connect to a flat panel with a DVI port anytime soon.

  • Per Pixel Shader
  • 8 Texels Per Clock with HyperTexelTM
  • High Definition Video Processor
  • 2nd-generation T&L Engines
  • High Performance Hardware Antialiasing
  • Integrated TMDS (1280x1024 max DVI)
  • 256-bit Graphics Architecture
  • Double Date Rate (DDR) Memory
  • Up to 128mb or SDR or DDR SDRAM/SGRAM
  • AGP 4x with Fast Writes and available in PCI
  • 1.6 GigaTexel Fill Rate
  • 25 million triangles/s through T&L and Setup
  • 5.3 Gigabytes/s Memory Bandwidth
  • Maximum 3D/2D resolution of 2048x1536@75hz
  • Complete DirectX 7, DirectX 6, and DirectX 5 Support
  • NVIDIA Unified Driver ArchitectureTM
  • Industry's First Fully 1.2 Compliant Professional OpenGL support for all Windows operating systems and Linux.
  • Integrated 720p, 1080i HDTV plaback
  • WHQL-certified Windows 2000, Windows NT4, Windows 3.5, Windows 98, and Windows 95

2D Specifications
  • Optimized for multiple color depths including 32, 24, 16, 15, and 8-bits per pixel
  • True-color hardware cursor
  • Multi-buffering (double, triple, quad buffering) for smooth animation and video playback

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