NVIDIA GeForce 8800 Ultra

Introduction and Related Information


It's springtime here in the United States.  The rain is pouring, the trees and flowers are blooming, and as usual NVIDIA is ready with a new product to refresh their existing high-end GPU line up. A few weeks ago we showed you the new mid-range GeForce 8600 GTS, GT and 8500 GT cards, which expanded NVIDIA's DirectX 10-compatible offerings to include products with price points ranging from $89 all the way on up to $649.  But today we've got something for the hardcore enthusiasts among you, and along the way we'll have to revise the upper end of that price range a bit.

Despite the fact that their main competition - AMD/ATI - hasn't launch a new product in months and that they don't have a DX10 capable part on store shelves just yet, NVIDIA saw fit to turn the screws add some more virtual horsepower to their 'Ultimate Gaming Platform'.  The result is the card we'll be showcasing here today, NVIDIA's new flagship GeForce 8800 Ultra.

As you'll see on the proceeding pages, not much has changed since the introduction of the GeForce 8800 GTX, but NVIDIA has made some tweaks to their high-end design to wring out more performance, while keeping the card's TDP and acoustic signature within the same general ranges. We've got lots to talk about and plenty of performance data to share, so let's jump right in and get down to business...

NVIDIA GeForce 8800 Series
Features & Specifications

NVIDIA unified architecture:
Fully unified shader core dynamically allocates processing power to geometry, vertex, physics, or pixel shading operations, delivering up to 2x the gaming performance of prior generation GPUs.

GigaThread Technology:
Massively multi-threaded architecture supports thousands of independent, simultaneous threads, providing extreme processing efficiency in advanced, next generation shader programs.

Full Microsoft DirectX 10 Support:
World's first DirectX 10 GPU with full Shader Model 4.0 support delivers unparalleled levels of graphics realism and film-quality effects.

NVIDIA SLI Technology:
Delivers up to 2x the performance of a single graphics card configuration for unequaled gaming experiences by allowing two cards to run in parallel. The must-have feature for performance PCI Express graphics, SLI dramatically scales performance on today's hottest games.

NVIDIA Lumenex Engine:
Delivers stunning image quality and floating point accuracy at ultra-fast frame rates.
16x Anti-aliasing: Lightning fast, high-quality anti-aliasing at up to 16x sample rates obliterates jagged edges.

128-bit floating point High Dynamic-Range (HDR):
Twice the precision of prior generations for incredibly realistic lighting effects - now with support for anti-aliasing.

NVIDIA Quantum Effects Technology:
Advanced shader processors architected for physics computation enable a new level of physics effects to be simulated and rendered on the GPU - all while freeing the CPU to run the game engine and AI.

NVIDIA ForceWare Unified Driver Architecture (UDA):
Delivers a proven record of compatibility, reliability, and stability with the widest range of games and applications. ForceWare provides the best out-of-box experience and delivers continuous performance and feature updates over the life of NVIDIA GeForce GPUs.

OpenGL 2.0 Optimizations and Support:
Ensures top-notch compatibility and performance for OpenGL applications.

NVIDIA nView Multi-Display Technology:
Advanced technology provides the ultimate in viewing flexibility and control for multiple monitors.

PCI Express Support:
Designed to run perfectly with the PCI Express bus architecture, which doubles the bandwidth of AGP 8X to deliver over 4 GB/sec. in both upstream and downstream data transfers.

Built for Microsoft Windows Vista:
NVIDIA's fourth-generation GPU architecture built for Windows Vista gives users the best possible experience with the Windows Aero 3D graphical user interface.

NVIDIA PureVideo HD Technology:
The combination of high-definition video decode acceleration and post-processing that delivers unprecedented picture clarity, smooth video, accurate color, and precise image scaling for movies and video.

Discrete, Programmable Video Processor:
NVIDIA PureVideo HD is a discrete programmable processing core in NVIDIA GPUs that provides superb picture quality and ultra-smooth movies with low CPU utilization and power.

Hardware Decode Acceleration:
Provides ultra-smooth playback of H.264, VC-1, WMV and MPEG-2 HD and SD movies.

HDCP Capable:
Designed to meet the output protection management (HDCP) and security specifications of the Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD formats, allowing the playback of encrypted movie content on PCs when connected to HDCP-compliant displays.

Spatial-Temporal De-Interlacing:
Sharpens HD and standard definition interlaced content on progressive displays, delivering a crisp, clear picture that rivals high-end home-theater systems.

High-Quality Scaling:
Enlarges lower resolution movies and videos to HDTV resolutions, up to 1080i, while maintaining a clear, clean image. Also provides downscaling of videos, including high-definition, while preserving image detail.

Inverse Telecine (3:2 & 2:2 Pulldown Correction):
Recovers original film images from films-converted-to-video (DVDs, 1080i HD content), providing more accurate movie playback and superior picture quality.

Bad Edit Correction:
When videos are edited after they have been converted from 24 to 25 or 30 frames, the edits can disrupt the normal 3:2 or 2:2 pulldown cadences. PureVideo HD uses advanced processing techniques to detect poor edits, recover the original content, and display perfect picture detail frame after frame for smooth, natural looking video.

Video Color Correction:
NVIDIA's Color Correction Controls, such as Brightness, Contrast and Gamma Correction let you compensate for the different color characteristics of various RGB monitors and TVs ensuring movies are not too dark, overly bright, or washed out regardless of the video format or display type.

Integrated SD and HD TV Output:
Provides world-class TV-out functionality via Composite, S-Video, Component, or DVI connections. Supports resolutions up to 1080p depending on connection type and TV capability.

Noise Reduction:
Improves movie image quality by removing unwanted artifacts.

Edge Enhancement:
Sharpens movie images by providing higher contrast around lines and objects.

Dual 400MHz RAMDACs:
Blazing-fast RAMDACs support dual QXGA displays with ultra-high, ergonomic refresh rates - up to 2048x1536@85Hz. 

Dual Dual-link DVI Support:
Able to drive the industry's largest and highest resolution flat-panel displays up to 2560x1600.


NVIDIA G80 Wafer

We've already covered the architecture and feature inherent to the NVIDIA GeForce 8 Series GPUs in previous articles, so we won't go into detail again here. To familiarize yourself with the features and capabilities of NVIDIA's GeForce 8x00 series cards, nForce chipsets, and their multi-GPU platform as whole, please take some time to peruse the articles listed below:

The details and performance data in the articles listed above will give you much of the background information necessary to better understand the new GeForce 8800 Ultra graphics card we'll be showcasing here today. If you're unclear about anything on the proceeding pages, please look back to these articles for a multitude of background data related to today's subject matter. The 'NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX & GeForce 8800 GTS Launch' article in particular is loaded with information that also pertains to the new GeForce 8800 Ultra.

Tags:  Nvidia, GeForce, Ultra, force, ULT, id

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