Nvidia unveils GeForce 2 Ultra

Spec. reads like a 250MHz GeForce 2 GTS

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Nvidia today unveiled the latest generation of its GeForce graphics accelerator, the GeForce 2 Ultra.

The Ultra sounds rather like a GeForce 2 GTS that's been simply clocked up to 250MHz (the GTS operates at 200MHz), providing a round 25 per cent increase on pixel and texel fill rates, to yield 1000 megapixels per second and 2000 megatexels per second, respectively, up from the GTS' 800Mpps and 1600Gtps. The Ultra renders 31 million triangles per second, up from the GTS' 25 million triangles per second, practically a 25 per cent increase - again.

If that's all the Ultra is - just a higher-clocked GTS - then it's not quite the "breakthrough product" that Nvidia CEO and president Jen-Hsun Huang reckons it is. Nor is it what you'd expect from a company with a "unique ability to innovate". Still, Nvidia's self-imposed 'new generation chip every six months' routine has its limitations, so perhaps we should forgive them the odd 'speed bump' every so often.

Meanwhile, support for faster, 230MHz DDR SDRAM yields a 42 per cent increase in bandwidth, providing the Ultra with a throughput rate of 7.36GBps, compared to the GTS' 5.2GBps.

Through in Nvidia's new, improved Detonator 3 driver and the company claims that the Ultra offers more than double the performance of the GTS when running Quake III at 1600x1200 in 32-bit colour.

Both cards support 64MB of frame buffer memory and AGP 4x in fast write mode, and provide Nvidia's shading rasteriser engine plus its second-generation transform and lighting engine, though we notice that the 'how many games support hardware T&L?@ question has mysteriously been dropped from the GeForce 2 Ultra FAQ on Nvidia's Web site. Still, in its press release Nvidia does list 12 T&L-supporting titles due to ship in the next month or so - though that's a far cry from the "100 or more by the end of the year" it has predicted in the past.

Boards containing the Ultra are expected to ship in a month to a month and a half's time. ®

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