Nvidia's Latest PC Gaming Chip Goes On Sale - InformationWeek

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Nvidia's Latest PC Gaming Chip Goes On Sale

The GeForce 8800 GT is priced lower than the Ultra version and is made to take advantage of Windows Vista's advanced graphics capabilities.

Nvidia's latest graphics processor for PC game enthusiasts went on sale Monday.

The GeForce 8800 GT is a lower-priced GPU in the 8 Series line that takes advantage of Microsoft's DirectX 10 graphics technology found in Windows Vista. PC games built for the platform include Crysis, Hellgate: London, and Gears of War.

The latest GPU has 112 stream processors and a 256-bit memory interface. It also includes the latest version of Nvidia's PureVideo HD (high definition) technology. Pricing for the GeForce 8800 GT falls between $199 and $259. The GeForce 8800 Ultra, for example, is priced at $590.

Each stream processor in the 8800 GT has been clocked at 1.5 GHz, with a memory interface running at 900 MHz. The GPU is designed for the new PCI Express 2.0 bus standard and is backward compatible with the original PCI Express standard.

The second-generation PureVideo is a video-processing engine for games in either the HD DVD or Blu-ray formats. The new technology takes on all of the HD H.264 video decoding, freeing the CPU to perform other tasks and significantly reducing power consumption, heat, and noise, Nvidia said. GeForce 8800 GT-based graphics cards are available in leading add-in card manufacturers, retailers, and system builders.

The GeForce 8800 line is made to take advantage of Microsoft Windows Vista's advanced graphics capabilities, but some buyers have claimed Nvidia has failed to deliver. In April, a Web site was launched in an attempt to gather enough support for a class-action suit.

Along with supplying GPUs for gaming, Nvidia recently started releasing processors that boost the performance of supercomputing environments. Called Tesla, the new line of GPUs can be used in PCs, workstations, or servers. Depending on the configuration, the GPUs can handle as much as 8 teraflops, or 8 trillion calculations a second.

Nvidia also offers software development tools, called Cuda, for dividing supercomputing applications to run on the vendors' GPUs. The tools include a C-compiler for the GPU, debugger/profiler, dedicated driver, and standard libraries.

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