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NVIDIA Announces The 'GeForce 6' Series

by Rainier on April 14, 2004 @ 9:15 a.m. PDT

NVIDIA Corporation introduced today the NVIDIA GeForce 6800 models of graphics processing units (GPUs) for high-performance desktop computers. The NVIDIA GeForce 6 Series, which includes the flagship GeForce 6800 Ultra and GeForce 6800.

The GeForce 6800 Ultra and GeForce 6800 are designed to deliver:

  • Industry-leading 3D performance new superscalar 16-pipe architecture delivers more than twice that of current industry-leading NVIDIA GPUs
  • New features, including Microsoft DirectX® 9.0 Shader Model 3.0 feature set - for ultra-realistic cinematic effects
  • Unprecedented on-chip video processing engine - enabling high-definition video and DVD playback

"This is the biggest generation-to-generation performance leap that we have ever seen with a new GPU," said Jen-Hsun Huang, president and CEO of NVIDIA. "In addition to the raw performance increase, we had two fundamental strategies with the 6800 models. First was to take programmability to the next level with the industry's only GPU with Shader Model 3.0. Second was to extend the reach of GPUs to the consumer electronics market with a powerful and fully-programmable video processor capable of multiple video formats and 'prosumer' level image processing."

Revolutionary New GeForce 6800 Architecture

The innovative 3D graphics architecture of the GeForce 6800 GPUs introduces many key new technologies that will drive the image quality and performance in 3D gaming, including:

Blazingly Fast Graphics Performance: With a revolutionary new 16-pipeline superscalar architecture and the world's fastest GDDR3 memory, GeForce 6800 GPUs offer a staggering amount of graphics horsepower. Gaming performance is super charged with eight times the floating-point shader power, four times the shadow processing power and double the vertex processing power over last generation's award-winning GeForce FX architecture.

Revolutionary New Feature-Set: Built with full Microsoft® DirectX® 9.0 Shader Model 3.0 support, the GeForce 6 Series was built to deliver ultra-realistic next-generation DirectX 9 titles. The GeForce 6800 GPUs give developers unlimited programmability, 32-bit shader precision, displacement mapping, geometry instancing and other features unique to the GeForce 6 Series. In addition, this new GPU delivers full floating point support throughout the entire pipeline, GeForce 6800 GPUs vastly improve the quality of images in motion with floating point filtering. The new rotated-grid antialiasing feature removes jagged edges for incredible image quality and a new 16x anisotropic filtering mode adds clarity to textures.

"The NVIDIA GeForce 6 Series is a great leap forward in PC graphics, bringing next-generation Microsoft DirectX 9 rendering performance to new heights while continuing forward with the high-definition floating-point rendering, driver performance and stability NVIDIA is famous for," stated Tim Sweeney, founder EPIC Games. "As the first GPU supporting the new Pixel Shader 3.0 programming model, the GeForce 6 Series enables games to use entirely new rendering approaches and obtain higher performance per-pixel lighting, shadowing and special effects than previously possible."

World's first on-chip video processor: GeForce 6800 GPUs have a programmable video processing engine that delivers stunning high-definition video playback. Featuring support for MPEG encode and decode, as well as support for Windows Media Video 9 (WMV9), the GeForce 6800 delivers an amazing video experience when used with the Microsoft® Windows® Media Centre Edition operating system. The GeForce 6800 also enables high-quality video playback on any window size, and has an integrated TV-encoder for direct-to-TV playback.

"Adobe is very excited about the programmable video features in these new NVIDIA GPUs. Many Adobe After Effects customers have already been enjoying the power of NVIDIA GPUs to create sophisticated 3D animations for the past year. Our future products will take even more advantage of the new capabilities being unveiled in these GPUs," said David Trescot, senior director, digital video products at Adobe.

GeForce 6800 GPUs benefit from the renowned compatibility and reliability of the NVIDIA® ForceWareTM software featuring the NVIDIA Unified Driver Architecture (UDA). In addition NVIDIA ForceWare delivers industry-leading software features such as custom game profiles, HDTV output, overclocking, multi-display support and much more.


The first GPUs based on the NVIDIA GeForce 6 Series, the GeForce 6800 Ultra and GeForce 6800 models, are manufactured using IBM's high-volume 0.13-micron process technology and are currently shipping to leading add-in-card partners, OEMs, system builders and game developers.

Retail graphics boards based on the GeForce 6800 models are slated for release in the next 45 days.

The NVIDIA GeForce 6 series, which includes the NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra and GeForce 6800, delivers a dramatic leap in production quality by giving game creators the freedom to create film-quality effects at performance levels never before possible in real-time. Featuring full support for Microsoft® DirectX® 9.0 and the Shader Model 3.0 specification, the GeForce 6 series opens up limitless possibilities for developers looking to create much more immersive and life-like interactive 3D worlds and characters all rendered in real time.

"By providing a hardware platform designed to enable movie-quality graphics in a real-time, interactive 3D environment, the NVIDIA GeForce 6 series comes at a pivotal time in the games industry when game creators are looking for new, more efficient ways to advance their craft," said Mark Daly, vice president of content development at NVIDIA. "For game creators, the GeForce 6 series delivers a dramatic leap in production quality by encouraging the use of the latest software advancements, such as Shader Model 3.0. The result will be stunning-looking games that can be experienced on consumer PCs, pixel for pixel, just the way the creator intended."

The arrival of the GeForce 6 series has the industry buzzing:

"The arrival of the new GeForce 6800 series will further open the door for any game developer looking to push the limits of their imaginations."

Dusty Welch, Vice President, Global Brand Management, Activision

"The GeForce 6800 series delivers screaming performance on demanding games like Unreal Tournament 2004 from start to finish. NVIDIA's newest powerhouse technology is a perfect match for any gamer who demands non-stop action and blazing fast frame-rates."

David T. Brown, Producer for Unreal Tournament 2004, Atari

"The pace of innovation in graphics technology is a very exciting prospect for both game developers and gamers and NVIDIA has set yet another milestone with the GeForce 6800 series. For Blizzard, the affordable cost and consistent compatibility and reliability of NVIDIA GPUs makes it easy for us to recommend GeForce cards to our customers."

Blizzard Entertainment

"Not only is the GeForce 6800 extremely fast, it allows us to take our games to the next generation of cinematic realism. The advanced shader capabilities alone opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for us."

Steven Lux, Vice President of US Marketing, Codemasters

"With the GeForce 6800 series, NVIDIA brings long-awaited, true high–dynamic-range imaging to gaming."

Dean Sekulic, Programmer, Croteam

"The GeForce 6800 series is a flexible platform that allows us to fully exploit DirectX 9.0 shader technology. We were able to achieve a very beautiful, polished game with Far Cry, but now we have the ability to push technologies like high-dynamic range, floating point blending and dynamic branching to render pixels at double the speed, and that's a particularly exciting prospect as we begin to focus on the advancement of the CryEngine for new big games!"

Cevat Yerli, CEO and President, Crytek

"The newest generation of NVIDIA GPUs will more than satisfy a gamer's hunger for intense, fast-paced action. For cutting-edge games like Painkiller, where fast, reliable performance is essential, NVIDIA has delivered the goods."

Brian Gladman, Product Manager, DreamCatcher Games

"With the introduction of the GeForce 6800 series, NVIDIA has once again raised the bar for what's possible to achieve in PC gaming."

Anand Gupta, Director of Business Development, Eidos Interactive

"With its combination of new features and performance, NVIDIA's new GeForce 6800 series is impressive and exciting. For the high quality cinematic look and feel we're trying to achieve for our latest game, the Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle-Earth, this technology couldn't have come along at a better time."

Mark Skaags, Vice President and Executive Producer, Electronic Arts

"The Grafan game engine's use of high dynamic range lighting, multiple real-time shadows and multipass rendering techniques requires a high performance graphics card. We're currently working with the GeForce 6800 Ultra GPU and using Pixel Shader 3.0; all we can say is 'wow'."

Herb Marselas, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Emogence, LLC

"The sheer performance power of the GeForce 6800 series will allow gamers to make the detailed 3D environments of Soldner work for them, as they seamlessly move through complex and highly-detailed maps to achieve their missions."

Greg Bauman, Senior Marketing Manager, Encore Software

"The GeForce 6800 series is a great leap forward in PC graphics, bringing next-generation DirectX 9.0 rendering performance to new heights while continuing forward with the high-definition floating-point rendering, driver performance and stability NVIDIA is famous for. As the first GPU supporting the new Pixel Shader 3.0 programming model, the GeForce 6800 series enables games to use entirely new rendering approaches and obtain higher performance per-pixel lighting, shadowing and special effects than was ever possible before."

Tim Sweeney, Founder and President, Epic Games

"With 16 pixel pipelines and comprehensive support of Shader Model 3.0, the GeForce 6800 offers a wide spectrum of new features at the highest level of performance. We're looking forward to combining two new capabilities vertex texture sampling and stream frequency dividing to pack our mesh data, thus minimizing our video memory usage. Furthermore, OpenEXR support in texture filtering and pixel blending will finally allow us to efficiently implement high dynamic range rendering, while also allowing our artists to fully express themselves in this extended domain."

Janos Boudet, Senior Engine Programmer, Eugensystems

"We are really impressed by NVIDIA's GeForce 6800 series. Being at the forefront of technology, NVIDIA is an ideal partner."

Brian Jobling, Chief Executive Officer, Eutechnyx

"The GeForce 6800 series is actually where dreams become reality. We've been waiting for a hardware platform to arrive that supports pixel and vertex 3.0 shaders so we can take the Torque Shader Engine to its fullest potential and showcase technology that we've only imagined before."

Jay Moore, Evangelist, Garage Games

"With this new generation we're really getting things down and not only are we faster and better, but we're now perfecting and mastering the technology."

Randy Pitchford, President and CEO, Gearbox

"The vertex stream instancing enabled by the GeForce 6800 series is a killer feature that allows our SpeedTree technology to drive forests of unprecedented depth and density. Coupled with raw performance, we fully expect our customers' games to boast far richer and more immersive environments."

Chris King, President, IDV, Inc.

"The GeForce 6800 series is proof of NVIDIA's commitment to providing developers with the tools and hardware we need to hone our craft. Intensity is a hallmark of the Call of Duty franchise and having a hardware platform that allows us to take the immersion to the next level, with cinematic quality visuals at amazing frame-rates, is extremely exciting."

Vince Zampella, Chief Creative Officer, Infinity Ward

"These new GeForce 6800s are scary fast; it runs Thief: Deadly Shadows at 1600x1200 with AA and all the detail settings cranked all the way up faster than anything we have tested on. I can't wait to get these in our development boxes as we are starting work on our next rendering technology. Having FP16 buffers fully supported as a texture format is awesome and 3.0 shader support gives us the ideal platform to develop on today for our next titles. Actually I can't wait to get one in my computer!"

Tim Little, Director of Technology, Ion Storm, LP

"What most excites me about the GeForce 6 architecture is the Vertex Stream Frequency Divider and Pixel Shader 3.0 support. The combination will give us the ability to create richer game environments and complex special effects. At last we will be able to do realistic gas and fluid simulations in real-time!"

Tim Ramsay, Senior Graphics Programmer, LucasArts

"NVIDIA's GeForce 6 architecture changes the playing field and sets new standards for image clarity and quality through floating point capabilities in shading, filtering, texturing and blending."

Kevin Stephens, Director of Technology, Monolith

"It's clear that NVIDIA has done it again with the GeForce 6800 series. Not only is it wicked fast for Joint Operations: Typhoon Rising, but it provides us with a forward-looking platform for creating next-generation games today. The ability to create and deploy pixel and vertex 3.0 shaders will allow us to reach new levels of realism that weren't possible before."

Mark Davis, Chief Scientist, Novalogic

"We have been absolutely blown away by NVIDIA's GeForce 6800 and its amazing set of features. Thanks NVIDIA for putting so much power in our hands!"

Laurent Paret, Vice President of Business Development and Co-Founder, NP Cube

"I think that NVIDIA's GeForce 6800 is a brilliant card. Because it implements Microsoft DirectX 9.0 features at full speed and quality, it is going to dramatically increase overall performance of today's DirectX 9.0 games, including Painkiller."

Klaudiusz Zych, Technology Programmer, People Can Fly

"I can't wait to get my hands on some GeForce 6800 hardware with its full support for floating point textures and pixel and vertex shader branching!"

Greg Hjelstrom, Lead 3D Engineer, Petroglyph

"We've been flabbergasted by GeForce 6800's sheer power delivered by 16 pixel pipelines at incredible speed. Its unsurpassed fill rate and shader performance is of tremendous value to all game developers."

Kurt Pelzer, Senior Software Engineer, Piranha Bytes

"Just by running the samples from the NVIDIA Developer SDK 7.0 on a GeForce 6800 Ultra, it's easy to see the immense power and graphical possibilities of this next-generation-today graphics card."

Bob Troughton, PC Rendering Lead, Pitbull Syndicate

"NVIDIA have stepped it up a few more gears with the GeForce 6 series. Vertex and pixel shader 3.0, with dynamic branching is exactly what developers have been longing for since the inception of shaders on the PC."

Mark Robinson, Senior PC Programmer, Rockstar San Diego

"We've made a serious commitment to NVIDIA, and they to us, as the graphics platform of choice for EverQuest II. Our 3D artists and technologists rely on the feature set and programmability of NVIDIA GPUs to keep our online world running smoothly and looking spectacular. The introduction of the GeForce 6800 series presents a particularly exciting proposition for us, as it unlocks a ton of new features that our artists have been asking for. With this new technology, the beautiful worlds of EverQuest II will be a level beyond every other massively multiplayer game available."

John Smedley, President, Sony Online Entertainment

"Due to the fact that the NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra runs our latest tech flawlessly right out of the box, we are absolutely delighted with both the level of performance and the rock-solid drivers, ensuring developers, publishers and, most importantly, customers, benefit to the max without any hassle whatsoever."

Martyn Brown, Creative Director, Team17 Software Ltd.

"With the GeForce 6800, NVIDIA is raising the bar by delivering tons of stunning and highly useful features. Totally orthogonal support for 64-bit floating point colour across the entire pipeline including texture filtering and frame buffer blending makes GeForce 6800 the perfect graphics hardware for high dynamic range rendering which is at the basis of our next-generation game engine!"

Jakub Klarowicz, Senior Engine Programmer, Techland

"NVIDIA's GeForce 6800 series is the most powerful graphics hardware I've ever seen. Its performance and capabilities will help us reach new levels of image quality."

Julien Merceron, Chief Technology Officer, Ubisoft

"We have a very clear goal for the Xubl game engine render 80,000 polygons per frame without a hitch in performance. With NVIDIA's GeForce 6800 series, not only are we able to do just that, but we're also able to push out unique and stylised effects on a high-performance hardware platform that supports advanced rendering techniques like normal mapping, high dynamic range lighting and complex 3.0 shaders."

Bostjan Troha, CEO, Zootfly

"The feature set of the GeForce 6800 series is truly astounding. Just when I thought graphics hardware couldn't possibly evolve at a faster pace, NVIDIA once again exceeds my wildest expectations by delivering a GPU with a design that is remarkably ahead of its time."

Eric Lengyel, Author, Mathematics of 3D Programming and The OpenGL Extensions Guide

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