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Nvidia to make quantum leap with GeForce 8800?

Unified shaders to work on game physic too, it's suggested

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Nvidia will initially launch two graphics boards based on its next-generation 'G80' GPU when the graphics chip maker brings the product to market in the middle of November, it has been claimed. The boards may also be the first to tout a new physics processing system.

According to a DailyTech report, the GeForce 8800 GTX will contain a G80 running at 575MHz and connected over a 384-bit bus to 768MB of GDDR 3 clocked to 900MHz. That's enough for 86GBps of memory bandwidth.

G80 is expected to be Nvidia's first GPU with a unified shader architecture - each processing unit can handle either pixel colour or geometry data, depending on the needs of the application. The shaders are clocked independently, running at 1350MHz, the report claims, on the 8800 GTX, which has 128 of them.

The GeForce 8800 GTS has 96 shaders, clocked to 1200MHz, it's said. The rest of the core runs at 500MHz, the memory at 900MHz. The board's likely to contain 640MB of GDDR 3 connected over a 320-bit bus yielding 64GBps of bandwidth.

Unsurprisingly, the GTX and GTS are expected to be HDCP compliant and sport dual-slot cooling set-ups.

More interesting is the rumoured but as yet unconfirmed Quantum Effects engine, which appears to be Nvidia's pitch for physics processing. Quantum Effects essentially leverages the G80 shaders' processing power for physics calculations, much as PureVideo uses today and tomorrow's GPU shaders for video processing.

Quantum Effects will, we'd guess, tie in to Havok FX's physics API and to Microsoft's anticipated DirectX physics API.

Hints that Nvidia is working on a physics processor of some kind emerged last month when Asus let slip the company's plan in what's presumably a reference to the upcoming 8800s. ®

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