With all this new technology and
horsepower under the hood, it is to be expected that NVIDIA
is going to raise the bar once again with respect to not
only frame rate but image quality and realism. There
are several new features and capabilities of the GeForce4
family of products. We'll cover them briefly here.
More Features of the NVIDIA
GeForce4 Ti and MX
NVIDIA's New Song
GeForce4 Ti Die Map:
Physically represented here, we
see the GeForce4 Ti's Dual Vertex Shaders that make up the
"nfiniteFX II" Engine, as well as it's Accuview AA Engine,
Texture Units and 4 way memory cross bar controller.
The GF4 Ti's memory controller incorporates NVIDIA's LMAII
(Light Speed Memory Architecture II) technology with 4:1
lossless Z-Data Compression, the Quad Cache architecture
that we spoke of earlier and second generation Occlusion
Culling. This version of Occlusion Culling, allows the GPU to
eliminate rendering of hidden surfaces and objects that are
not visible in the background of a scene.
GeForce4 MX Die Map:
In this map of the GeForce4 MX,
the Pixel and Vertex Shaders are missing but are replaced
with a TV Encoder and a full MPEG 2 Decode Processing Engine,
with on board Motion Compensation and IDCT (inverse discrete
cosine transform). NVIDIA's thought process was that
the MX product needed the MPEG2 features on board since
"budget" systems can benefit from the hardware assist of
this engine when playing digital video. The GF4 Ti
product does not include the full MPEG2 Decode stack.
In higher end systems the CPU can handle the extra payload
for MPEG2 decode in software, with relative ease.
Finally, the GF4MX also includes LMAII technology but does
so with a 2 way cross bar controller, versus the 4 way
controller in the Ti product.
Simply put, NVIDIAs
Multi-Monitor and Dual Independent Display technology, now
called "nView", has been polished up nicely. It seems
as though NVIDIA has taken their solution here to the
maturity and feature level, formerly only available from the
folks at Matrox. nView is available on both the
GF4 Ti and MX and enables the following:
Full featured interface
browser with birds-eye views of desktops
Toolbar control available as
well for those
needing a streamlined, low real- estate interface
One thing that really caught our
eye here was the transparent window feature. Perhaps
this is more of a novelty right now to us but in the future
we could see getting very comfortable with this new tool.
This feature is
exclusive to the GeForce4 Titanium. It is NVIDIA's
second generation Pixel and Vertex Shader Engine with full
DirectX 8.1 compliance. This time, with the GF4 Ti,
the engine is driven by Dual Vertex Shaders, where formerly
in the GeForce3, there was only one Vertex shader.
These shaders together are capable of processing up to 136
million vertices per second. This allows for
developers to implement significantly more detailed and
complex scenes than ever before. More polygons, higher
levels of character skeletal detail and more densely
populated scenery, is promised to be driven at smooth frame
rates. Here are a few NVIDIA demo shots to give you an
idea of what the GeForce4 is capable of rendering.
Click images for full viewing...
Although the actual game titles
seen here are very impressive, NVIDIA's own technology demo
and team mascot, "Mojo Wolf" is perhaps the most impressive,
with a glimpse of the massively complex structures that can
be rendered in real-time on the PC, with the help of the
GeForce4. Take a look at the fuzzy hairs protruding
all around the Wolfman's face. Clearly NVIDIA's vision
is one of a whole new realism, with this technology demo.
Finally, the water hazard that Tiger is chipping over, in the
Tiger Woods 2002 screenshot, was co-developed by NVIDIA with
Electronic Arts. Once again, the realism is taken up a
notch by the NVIDIA team.