NVIDIA changed the face of graphics hardware with the introduction of the GeForce 8800 (G80) GPU in November 2006.
G80 brought to the table an array of disarming technologies married to brute rendering strength. At the time, we surmised that it was a 'monstrous D3D9 performer and quite able to outrun absolutely anything else available in any modern game you throw at it'
A fully DX10-compliant GPU, G80 catered for next-generation effect, too. Since then, NVIDIA has leveraged G80 for all its worth, releasing SKU after SKU, numbering 10 8-series and six 9-series GPUs.
GeForce 9800 GX2 is the current culmination of 18-month-old G80 goodness, and whilst the twin-GPU card is undeniably fast, it's nothing new, really.
ATI's fought back in the mid-range space with the DX10.1-supporting Radeon HD 3870, and then twinned it with the Radeon HD 3870 X2, but on-paper specification promise petered out in real-world benchmarks.
The current state of play is that NVIDIA controls the high-end hardware market but ATI, we feel, does better in the sub-£100 sector, thanks to a healthy dose of price-chopping on the Radeon HD 3000-series.
We've been waiting for both companies to launch their next-generation architectures - from which future mid-range and low-end cards will be derived from - for a while now.
NVIDIA's the first to step up to the plate and launch the successor to the epoch-making GeForce 8800 GTX
Enter the GeForce GTX 280: NVIDIA's second-generation DX10 GPU. It needs to something entirely special to distance itself from G80.