NVIDIA Geforce 6800 (NV40) Launch

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The Geforce LAN:

On Tuesday, April 13th 2004, Nvidia hosted an all-day LAN party in conjunction with the introduction of GeForce 6800 series GPU. The gamers there played Unreal Tournament 2004 and Battlefield Vietnam while getting free swag, food, and being able to attend the launch party later in the evening. I was shocked to see 100+ gamers lined outside the building an hour before the event started. The last LAN party I attended was the CyberX Games where there was no line before the doors opened and hardly anyone showed up. It was good to be back at a LAN party where the gamers were wanting to game and the organizers (PDX LAN) had the show together.

Waiting To Register

Going Over The Rules

While at the show I got the chance to walk around and take a look at all the gaming systems at the show. All of them were noteworthy in one way or another, but two stuck out of the crowd. One was a clear case system that house both a PC and a Microsoft XBOX. This is one of the few watercooled XBOX’s that I have see! Then we come over to the Apple side of things! Not too many MAC users out there, but the Geforce LAN had them!

Combo PC! XBOX & PC System

Who Said Apple Users Couldn’t Game?

Final Thoughts:

After the launch I overheard a fellow editor tell a high level Nvidia marketing representative that he was glad to see that Nvidia is “back”. I’m not too sure that I agree with those comments as Nvidia never fell leaps and bounds behind. When the NV30 was launched in the fall of 2002 it was fairly obvious that ATI had a better performing product, but as far as blowing Nvidia off or saying that they were buried brought a big smile to my face. Last year Nvidia had $1.82 billion dollars in sales with a net income of roughly $74 million dollars — does that sound like a company that was done and buried? Of course not! They spent the past 18 months designing a new GPU that took over $400 million dollars to develop and the brains of nearly 1,000 engineers to perfect. Although we didn’t cover many of the features in-depth in this article this new GPU has many familiar features that we have seen in the past. Some of this technology is thanks to the accusation of 3dfx by Nvidia a number of years ago and is just now being put to use. Nvidia wasn’t dead, they challenged their engineers to come up with something new and better by look at the technology they developed in-house and the technology acquired by litigation. By giving their engineers a clean slate to work with and over a year of R&D time they were able to come up with the all new NV40. From the show that Nvidia put on it looked like they delivered the shock and awe to the media, analysts, gamers, and partners that were on hand for the launch.

The REAL Nalu!!


The Crowd @ The Launch

We overhead many interesting things before and after the launch of the Geforce 6800. One of these was how Nvidia will be coming out with a 512mb version of the 6800 this year! That is more memory than the average user has in their entire systems! Current titles more than likely not benefit from the additional memory (like we first was with the move from 128mb to 256mb), but after seeing the new shader/pixel technology along with the game titles on the way for 2005 I have a feeling it will have an advantage relatively soon. We heard some launch partners discussing price points for the 512mb version for the NV40 and the figure that we kept hearing over and over was roughly $700 when it finally hits the streets later this year.

The most interesting discussion we had was about well the NV40 core is able to scale up faster. . Yep, that is correct we are talking about ramping up of the actual core frequency for the GPU on video cards. We heard that this idea is a possibility from very reliable sources and that this is the first core that has the potential to do something like this.

Everyone always wants to know when they can get their hands on the latest and greatest products and for the NV40 we were told mid to late May 2004 would be the earliest that these cards would begin arriving for consumers to purchase. We spoke with launch some Nvidia launch partners and they confirmed this and went on to say that the Geforce 6800 has not arrived yet from overseas.

Expect a full review on the Geforce 6800 Ultra from Legit Reviews in the upcoming weeks after we have a good feel for the card and the performance it delivers. Also keep in mind that ATI will also be releasing their next generation card in the very near future. Their solution is the R420 and will be known at the X800. Once ATI’s solution is available to we will be better able to determine a “winner” for this round of GPU battles. After spending a few days in San Francisco with Nvidia my senses have been drenched, we have plenty of things to look forward too, and I am ready to get back to the test bench!

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