ECTS: nVidia - Star of the show?

At the Intel Developers Forum in Palm Springs last week, nVidia at last took the wraps off its NV10 chipset.

If the specs for the GeForce 256 are to be believed, this truly is a powerhouse in the graphics market.

Donning the monicker "Graphics Processor Unit" or GPU, the GeForce 256 is a 256-bit 3D processor with an integrated transform and lighting engine, an integrated dynamic lighting engine, a four-pixel rendering pipeline and supports up to 128-megabytes of memory.

The transform and lighting engine (TNL) offloads processor intensive geometry applications from the CPU, thus removing the bottleneck at the processor level commonly encountered during 3D games, while the rendering pipeline supplies the GeForce with more than enough raw power for whatever else you want to throw at it.

``The GeForce 256 continues NVIDIA's long tradition of introducing groundbreaking technologies and trend-setting products to the PC market," said nVidia president and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang in a statement. He added: ``The GPU is a major breakthrough for the industry and will fundamentally transform the 3D medium. It will enable a new generation of amazing interactive content that is alive, imaginative, and captivating. The richness of this new 3D medium will have a profound impact on future of storytelling and will broaden the appeal of 3D far beyond the game enthusiasts.''

But while performance is guaranteed, price is still a concern. Several hardware vendors ZDNet talked to, placed the cost of the chip at around US$40 (£24.40) in quantities of 1,000. That works out to $299-$349 for a retail video card, depending on the amount of memory used -- a tough price to swallow, especially when companies like S3 is planning to release equivalent features at a fraction of the cost (Savage2000).

It should be noted, however, that these prices are purely estimates on our part. Wait for the official word before making any purchasing decisions of your own.

ECTS should, if our sources are correct, see announcements around the GeForce 256. Watch for video cards from Creative Labs, Elsa, Guillemot, Canopus of Japan, Asus and Leadtek.

Take me to the GameTech ECTS coverage for in depth technical news from the show. For news on the games, go to GameSpot's official coverage.

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