Preview: NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra
The GeForce 6800 Ultra architecture boasts an impressive 16 pipelines and 6 vertex units. To those who are questioning the validity of these specifications, we assure you of the fact that this core is a full 16x1 / 32x0 pipeline architecture. In addition to the raw horsepower this many pipelines provides, NVIDIA is also introducing their CineFX 3.0 engine. Below, you will find some of the new enhancements CineFX 3.0 brings to the table.
In short, UltraShadow II is designed to maximize the performance and visual quality of shadow-rich games such as Doom3. By determining which areas are not effected by a light source, those areas can then be omitted from the lighting calculation and the overall speed is dramatically faster. The following figure is provided by NVIDIA and illustrates how to define the relevant area of a scene to determine the overall lighting and shadow calculations.
Considering the complex dark atmospheres present in the taxing game Doom3, any means of alleviating resources is a welcomed addition. To be able to do so without any degradation or sacrifice in image quality is critical to preserving the overall atmosphere and gameplay of the title.
Native Shader Model 3.0 Support
In an effort to provide developers with the tools necessary to take yet another step forward in terms of graphics quality, NVIDIA has pushed to provide native support for Shader Model 3.0. In addition to providing for vertex texture fetching, pixel shader flow control, and support for longer programs this new version also calls for full speed fp32 shading. Now this is all well and good for someone looking well down the road to future games. However, we have learned that these features will be coming a lot sooner than most anticipated. In fact, we have been provided with a list of a few of the titles which will either natively provide for Shader Model 3.0 or will do so with a patch as the game is already available.
- STALKER: Shadows of Chernobyl
- Splinter Cell X
- Madden 2005
- Tiger Woods 2005
- Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle-Earth
- Vampire: Bloodlines
- Driver 3
Programmable Video Processor
Built into the core of the GeForce 6 Series architecture is a programmable video processor. In essence, this processor enabled the graphics card to act as a complete PVR solution with native support for HDTV and nearly all forms of decoding and encoding. A complete list of the planned functionality for this processor can be seen below:
- Inverse telecine (3:2 pulldown)
- Motion adaptive deinterlacing (SPAD)
- Color space conversion
- Gamma correction
- Processor amplifier
- WMV9/H.264 motion compensation
- WMV9/H.264 in-loop deblocking
- Noise reduction
- Frame rate conversion
- MPEG 2 Decode / Encode (SD and HD resolutions)
- MPEG 4 Decode / Encode
- DiVX Decode / Encode
- High Quality scaling