IntroductionDo you remember the NV40 launch? I do. And if you remember as I do, NVIDIA told us all that there'd be a top to bottom range of Shader Model 3.0 products from NVIDIA, based on a new range of GPUs topped by NV40, available by Christmas, all sharing the same basic building blocks. Top to bottom means budget right up to the high end. So they started at the top, wheeling out the big guns, firing shots across the bow of a slightly startled ATI. That left two pieces of a complex pie to come.
Piece number two is here. I covered NV43's paper launch back on the 12th of August as NVIDIA gave their presentation on the new GPU at Quakecon. We knew the basics back then; 500MHz 8 pixel pipe GPU with all the basic NV40 features, 1GHz GDDR3 memory, PCI Express native, small GeForce2-like PCB, SLI. And after having had the reference board in our grubby mits for the last week or so, myself and the other usual reviewing suspects now know the details.
To keep things brief and to save me going over old ground, NV43 has all the basic features of NV40. All the Shader Model 3.0 support, all the 64-bit floating point blending and filtering, all the support for multiple render targets, deferred rendering, new multi-sample anti-aliasing mode, 16X anisotropic filtering et al. It's all in there, ready to rock. If you want to have a peak at those parts in more detail, check out the myriad reviews on NV40 all over the big wide intarweb.
The differences lie in the render pipeline setup, so let's dive right in.