Introduction

There has been a lot of buzz over NVIDIA's latest offering in the GeForce 6800's NV40 GPU. To be assured, NV40 offers performance that is hands and feet above that of NV3x, but what we want to know is why.



Yes, NV3x is a different architecture, but just how different is it from its bigger brother? What are the reasons we didn't see the performance we would have liked from NV3x? How exactly did NV40 manage to improve on NV3x's architecture to allow the 6800 to strech its legs so far?



These are the questions we want to answer, and we will take a look at the details of the architectures as a whole, and some individual elements of their pipelines in order to try and understand just what went wrong to spark NVIDIA's darkest 12 months.
The Pixel Pipe Performance Picture
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  • PrinceGaz - Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - link

    Maybe they've been saving this article up until after the NV40 was launched? I must admit I subconciously substituted postmortem myself when reading it.

    Well put together article Derek, it clearly explains some of the problems that led to the entire GeForce FX (NV3x) range of cards always being in second-place behind equivalent R3xx cards (the NV34 core FX5200 had no R3xx based competitor).

    I'm surprised no mention was made of the FP16/FP32 performance issue with the NV3x core and the consequences that is having on image quality, and also how its inferior ordered-grid anti-aliasing couldn't compare with the rotated-grid used in the R3xx.
    Reply
  • Phiro - Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - link

    wahahahaa a "moratorium" hahaha

    You guys need to quit looking up big words that sound like the word you really mean to use, and actually grow some vocabulary.

    How about "postmortem"? Do you even know what the word "moratorium" means?
    Reply
  • Cybercat - Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - link

    Nice work, you made it user friendly, so even I can understand it! lol, when it comes to explaining graphics architectures to me, that's no small feat. Reply
  • newuser12 - Monday, April 19, 2004 - link

    this article is depressing, being as I have an mx-440....... :( Reply
  • ZobarStyl - Monday, April 19, 2004 - link

    By this hardware I meant the x800 sorry. Reply
  • ZobarStyl - Monday, April 19, 2004 - link

    Thank you, Derek, for politely avoiding going into the current speculation war about the new hardware...frankly no one but ATI knows how this hardware is going to hold up against the 6800, and it's sad that people on both sides have already pronounced winners and losers. A good article; it sheds light on these dark times for nVidia. I'm no fanboy...frankly I'm most swayed by their quality driver support rather than the sheer speed factor. Reply
  • Modal - Monday, April 19, 2004 - link

    Thanks for this elucidating article; I find articles of this type (that is "this is what your hardware is doing and why") very interesting. Reply
  • Regs - Monday, April 19, 2004 - link

    lol. I just find it funny you wait until now to write this article. But then again, you would likely have a better understanding when we could compare it to the NV40. Reply

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