NVIDIA's GeForce 7 Update: Introducing the 7900 GTX, 7900 GT & 7600 GT

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Introduction, Specifications & Related Info

Product refreshes in the Graphics world have tended to become rather casual, commonplace occurrences.  A little tweak here, a clock speed bump there and presto, there's a new SKU to fill the store shelves and something new to look at in the benchmarks.  Historically, refreshes or "kickers" as they are sometimes known, often are just the result of manufacturing process enhancements, a different bond-out option on the GPU, or even a software modification that unlocks or locks, as the case may be, certain features within the architecture.  NVIDIA's launch of new additions to their GeForce 7 line-up is by no means this sort of refresh, however.  In fact, this launch is about as dramatic a change that one can make to the architecture, without completely ripping it up.

Once upon a time, NVIDIA pioneered TSMC's .13 micron manufacturing process and took a few lumps along the way, working out the kinks in their architecture for what was then a leading edge process geometry. That was a long time ago however, relatively speaking, and the painful days of the NV30 seem to be but a distant memory now, with more than a few very successful product launches since then. In addition, the company has significantly improved execution on delivery of retail product, and even more recently a move to .11 micron manufacturing, with introduction of the GeForce 7800 series, proved to be wildly successful, catching ATI flat-footed until they recently launched their Radeon X1900 product . The Radeon X1900 weighs in at 48 pixel shader units strong versus NVIDIA's 24 in the 7800 GTX. So what's NVIDIA's next move?

Logically, one would think the natural migration for NVIDIA would be a more powerful GPU with more rendering resources on board, like more shader pipes or perhaps a few more raster operators to balance things out a bit.  But there's also another way to skin the proverbial cat.  Rather than going back to the drawing board NVIDIA instead decided to make a move based on manufacturing process technology once again; bold to be sure, when you can consider their trials and tribulations of days gone by.  From here the move would be from .11 micron to .09 or 90 nanometer technology, once again no small feat in and of itself. 

Today's launch is the fruits of NVIDIA's labor at 90nm.  We have full details and performance profiles for you here on three new NVIDIA 90nm-based graphics cards, a new flagship called the GeForce 7900 GTX, a new performance mid-range card dubbed GeForce 7900 GT and a new mainstream 12-pipe machine, the GeForce 7600 GT.

NVIDIA's GeForce 7 Series - Now in 90nm
Features & Specifications
NVIDIA CineFX 4.0 Shading Architecture
_Vertex Shaders
_Support for Microsoft DirectX 9.0 Vertex Shader 3.0
_Displacement mapping
_Geometry instancing
_Infinite length vertex programs

_Pixel Shaders
_Support for DirectX 9.0 Pixel Shader 3.0
_Full pixel branching support
_Support for Multiple Render Targets (MRTs)
_Infinite length pixel programs

_Next-Generation Texture Engine
_Accelerated texture access
_Up to 16 textures per rendering pass
_Support for 16-bit floating point format and 32-bit floating point format
_Support for non-power of two textures
_Support for sRGB texture format for gamma textures
_DirectX and S3TC texture compression

_Full 128-bit studio-quality floating point precision through the entire rendering pipeline with native hardware support for 32bpp, 64bpp, and 128bpp rendering modes

API Support
_Complete DirectX support, including the latest version of Microsoft DirectX 9.0 Shader Model 3.0
_Full OpenGL support, including OpenGL 2.0

64-Bit Texture Filtering and Blending
_Full floating point support throughout entire pipeline
_Floating point filtering improves the quality of images in motion
_Floating point texturing drives new levels of clarity and image detail
_Floating point frame buffer blending gives detail to special effects like motion blur and explosions

NVIDIA Intellisample 4.0 Technology
_Advanced 16x anisotropic filtering (with up to 128 Taps)
_Blistering- fast antialiasing and compression performance
_Gamma-adjusted rotated-grid antialiasing removes jagged edges for incredible image quality
_Transparent multisampling and transparent supersampling modes boost antialiasing quality to new levels
_Support for normal map compression
_Support for advanced lossless compression algorithms for color, texture, and z-data at even higher resolutions and frame rates
_Fast z-clear
NVIDIA Digital Vibrance Control (DVC) 3.0 Technology
_DVC color controls
_DVC image sharpening controls

NVIDIA SLI Technology
_Patented hardware and software technology allows two GPUs to run in parallel to scale performance
_Scales performance on over 60 top PC games and applications

NVIDIA UltraShadow II Technology
_Designed to enhance the performance of shadow-intensive games

NVIDIA PureVideo Technology
_Adaptable programmable video processor
_High-definition MPEG-2 and WMV9 hardware acceleration
_Spatial-temporal de- interlacing
_Inverse 2:2 and 3:2 pull-down (Inverse Telecine)
_4-tap horizontal, 5-tap vertical scaling
_Overlay color temperature correction
_Microsoft Video Mixing Renderer (VMR) supports multiple video windows with full video quality and features in each window
_Integrated HDTV output

Composited Desktop Hardware Engine
_Video post-processing
_Real-time desktop compositing
_Accelerated antialiased text rendering
_Pixel shader-driven special effects and animation

Advanced Display Functionality
_Dual integrated 400MHz RAMDACs for display resolutions up to and including
2048x1536 at 85Hz
_Dual DVO ports for interfacing to external TMDS transmitters and external TV encoders
_Full NVIDIA nView multi-display technology capability

Advanced Engineering
_Designed for PCI Express x16
_Designed for high-speed GDDR3 memory

The feature set hasn't changed with the introduction of these new GPUs, it just takes up less die real-estate in .09 micron geometries.  For a more comprehensive look at the main features of the GeForce 7 series, and some details regarding NVIDIA's multi-GPU SLI platform as a while, we recommend taking a look at a few of our recent articles...

That's a lot of reading, but the information and performance data in those articles will give you all of the background and architectural details necessary to fully understand the new products being announced today. If something on the proceeding pages doesn't click, look back to these articles for more detail.

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