The processors in the GeForce 6800 series, developed with game enthusiasts in mind, are designed to deliver twice the 3D performance of current Nvidia chips, more-realistic cinematic effects, and high-definition video and DVD playback, the company said. The on-chip video processor has an integrated encoder for direct-to-TV playback.
"This is the biggest generation-to-generation performance leap that we have ever seen with a new GPU (graphics processing unit)," Jen-Hsun Huang, CEO of Nvidia, said in a statement.
The quest for speed and features is intended both to appeal to PC buyers looking for technology to support the latest games and to fend off, especially ATI Technologies. In the high-profile game console arena, ATI last year to supply Microsoft with the graphics processor for its next Xbox gaming console. Nvidia has been supplying Microsoft with chips for the current Xbox.
The GeForce 6800 Ultra and GeForce 6800 models, manufactured using IBM's 0.13-micron process technology, are being shipped to PC makers, game developers and partners that produce add-in cards, Nvidia said. Retail graphics boards based on the GeForce 6800 are set to be released within the next 45 days.
Customers for the chips include PC makers Gateway, Hewlett-Packard and Alienware.