NVIDIA GeForce FX Derivatives

The NVIDIA GeForce FX Derivatives - Page 2

The GeForce FX 5200 & 5600 Debut!
The NV34 and NV31 Officially Unveiled

By - Marco Chiappetta
March 6, 2003


The GeForce FX 5600 Ultra is to the FX line-up, what the GeForce 4 Ti 4200 is to the Ti line-up.  The GeForce FX 5600 Ultra is basically a GeForce FX 5800, but with only four pixel pipelines and lower core and memory clock speeds.  The feature set is complete, and NVIDIA claims the performance will be approximately twice as high as a GeForce 4 Ti when Antialiasing is enabled...

Specifications & Features of the NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600 Ultra
The "Ti4200" of the FX Line-Up


NV31 - Performance Cinematic Shading GPU

Cinematic Shading for the mainstream
  • Full GeForce FX feature support ? including DX9 vertex & pixel shader 2.0+
  • High precision rendering ? up to128-bit floating point color


  • 2x GeForce4 Ti Performance with AA
  • 4 pipelines
  • Lossless Color & Z Compression
  • Z Occlusion Culling

3rd Generation nView

  • Integrated TV-encoder, TMDS transmitters
  • Dual integrated 400 MHz RAMDACs
  • Integrated full hardware MPEG-2 decoder



The GeForce FX 5600 Ultra looks very much like the 5200 Ultra, but the underlying NV31 GPU is much more complex than the NV34.  The NV31 is comprised of approximately 80 million transistors, but it is produced using TSMC's more advanced 13μ process, which means a smaller die and higher clock speeds.  The smaller die also means the GeForce FX 5600 Ultra will be much cheaper to produce than the 5800, and in turn it will generate much less heat.  The cooler used on the 5600 Ultra is similar to what is found on the 5200 Ultra, so it seems you won't have to give up a PCI slot, should you opt for one of NVIDIA's mainstream GeForce FXs.  The 5600 Ultra should ship with a 350MHz core clock speed, with its BGA packaged DDR-I memory also clocked at 350MHz (700MHz DDR).

As we mentioned earlier, to get the transistor count down, something has to be removed from the die.  The GeForce FX 5600 Ultra has about 45 million fewer transistors than an FX 5800, but unlike the nV34, the bandwidth saving color and z-compression features are still intact on the NV31 GPU.  This GPU has the same AA capabilities and same feature set as a GeForce FX 5800, but with only 4 pixel pipelines versus the 8 found on the 5800 (at least according to NVIDIA's latest technical briefs.)  Halving the amount of pixel pipelines seems to be the only difference between the NV31 and NV30.  They both incorporate dual 400MHz RAMDACs, have the same support for DX9 and can render images with up to 128-bit floating point color precision.

NVIDIA's Technology Demos
Beauty and The Beast...

Due to the fact that the underlying technology is the same in all of the GeForce FX GPUs, they are all capable of producing near cinematic quality output...They'll just do it at different performance levels.  Last year, when we were first exposed to the GeForce FX, NVIDIA exhibited the power of their latest GPU with a few impressive technology demos.  "Dawn", the nymph was one of the characters used to showcase the GeForce FX.  Dawn is a very complex model that uses a vertex shader to drive her motion and a branching skeletal shader where the body mesh is driven by several different combinations of internal bones.  A blend shape shader is used to shape her face.  NVIDIA also uses a Skin shader that employs a complex combination of color maps, specular maps, and blood characteristic maps to produce very realistic skin.  Lastly, there is a Wing shader that modifies both the reflected color off of the wings, as well as the amount of light that passes through them based on the viewing angle and light angles.  Overall the effects used in this demo result in a very impressive display of the GeForce FX's capabilities.  The fluidity of Dawn's movements, her realistic facial expressions and the accurate skin tones and lighting effects are excellent.

Another character that was used to showcase the GeForce FX was the Ogre from Spellcraft Studio's "Yeah The Movie".


The Ogre model uses a surface mesh that varies in complexity based on its proximity to the camera.  An advanced Skin shader is also used with a combination of color, bump, and specular texture maps.  The advanced lighting effects come courtesy of shadow map shadows and object self occlusion.  This demo even incorporates some Motion Blurring using a velocity buffer that adds a blur effect to the faster moving objects.  The overall effect is very impressive.  It's definitely something that has to be seen in action to be truly appreciated.

Some More Eye Candy & The Conclusion...

Tags:  Nvidia, ATI, GeForce, force, fx, Ive, ativ, id

Related content