NVIDIA today announced they are bringing the first 2 GPUs of their GeForce GTX 400 Series product line which support DirectX 11 to market: the GeForce GTX 480 and GeForce GTX 470. The GTX 480 will be available at retail for an estimated price of $499 USD and the GTX 470 will be available at retail for an estimated price of $349 USD.
NVIDIA wanted to have the first of their DirectX 11 capable GPUs available around the same time Windows 7 hit the market in October but needed more time to further “bake” the architecture. They have put a lot of investment in the new architecture present in these new GPUs. And if NVIDIA were bakers, and these GPUs were cupcakes – these new GPUs we’re talking about today would be some very delicious cupcakes.
Previously known simply by the codename “GF100”, the GTX 480 and GTX 470 are the first of NVIDIA’s next-generation GeForce GPUs and based on NVIDIA’s new Fermi architecture. The new features and capabilities of the GTX 480 and GTX 470 are exposed especially in Windows 7 where NVIDIA has taken advantage of the enhancements Windows 7 offers users today – such as DirectX 11. With DirectX 11, the GTX 480 and GTX 470 can offer some impressive effects through scalable hardware tessellation. Tessellation offers the ability to create rich detail in through either games or software applications with geometric realism – it’s better at doing geometric processing. A realistic render of water with one of these GPUs renders up to 1.6 billion triangles a second! See this post from NVIDIA on some impressive DirectX 11 demos. Through SLI, two GTX 480s together offer up a 90% performance increase in scaling if you want even more powerful graphics for your PC. With the GTX 480 and GTX 470, NVIDIA’s goal was to provide cinema quality visuals and to enable game developers and software developers the ability to create cinema quality visuals for their products.
The GeForce GTX 400 Series GPUs bring to market NVIDIA’s new 3D Vision Surround Technology. With 3D Vision Surround, you can do full HD gaming in 3D across 3 HD monitors at 5760x1080 resolution! 3D Vision Surround also supports gaming across non-3D capable displays as well. To enable 3D Vision Surround, 2 GTX 400 Series GPUs with SLI and 3D Vision capable displays and glasses are required. For more on 3D Vision Surround, I recommend reading this blog post from NVIDIA’s Bryan Del Rizzo.
NVIDIA will be providing software with each that showcases the capabilities of the GTX 480 and GTX 470. NVIDIA’s Design Garage application lets you create and design a car that utilizes things like DirectX 11 and real-time “ray tracing” (the tracing of light for shapes and shadows), one of the first consumer GPUs to offer such a feature.
I was unable to get my hands on one of these new GPUs at the writing of this blog post. However you can expect another post to come once I do!