NVIDIA changed the face of graphics hardware in November 2006 with the introduction of the GeForce 8800 GTX (G80) GPU.
G80 brought to the table an array of disarming technologies married to brute rendering strength. At the time, we described it as 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 also catered for next-generation effect. Since then, NVIDIA has leveraged G80 for all its worth, releasing SKU after SKU. There have been 10 GPUs in the 8-series and six in the 9-series.
GeForce 9800 GX2 is the culmination of 18-month-old G80 goodness and, while the twin-GPU card is undeniably fast, it's nothing new, really.
ATI fought back against G80 in the mid-range space with the Radeon HD 3870, supporting DX10.1 - and then twinned it with the Radeon HD 3870 X2 - but the promise of the on-paper specification 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 a while for each company to launch its next-generation architecture, from which future mid-range and low-end cards will be derived.
NVIDIA is 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 - and it needs to be something entirely special to put distance between itself and G80.