Nvidia has introduced two high-end GPUs based on its Maxwell chip architecture — the GeForce GTX 980 and 970 GPUs. Maxwell is the company’s 10th-generation GPU architecture, following Kepler.
What is new with the two GPUs? The new Voxel Global Illumination (VXGI) technology enables gaming GPUs for the first time to deliver real-time dynamic global illumination, says Nvidia. Scenes are more lifelike, as light interacts realistically in the game environment. A range of other technologies — including multi-frame sampled antialiasing (MFAA), dynamic super resolution (DSR) and VR Direct, enable Maxwell-based GTX 980 and 970 GPUs to render frames with high fidelity at higher clock speeds and lower power consumption. VXGI is being added to NVIDIA GameWorks as well, and is being integrated into games engines like Unreal Engine 4. It will be available to developers later this year.
The GTX 980 and 970 also get a performance boost with a new technique called multi-frame sampled anti-aliasing (MFAA), which leverages new capabilities in Maxwell GPUs. MFAA varies the anti-aliasing sample patterns across pixels both within an individual frame and between multiple frames. It then uses a newly-developed synthesis filter to produce high quality images faster than conventional anti-aliasing. For gamers, MFAA yields image quality approaching that of 4xMSAA at the cost of 2Xmsaa — enabling titles to run faster while maintaining high levels of image quality, according to the company.
The GeForce GTX 980 and GTX 970 GPUs can deliver a higher fidelity gaming experience even for those playing on standard 1080p displays. With Maxwell’s Dynamic Super Resolution (DSR) technology, games can be rendered at 4K or other high-end resolutions and then scaled down to the native resolution on the user’s display using a 13-tap Gaussian filter.
DSR is automatically enabled through GeForce Experience, an Nvidia application that automatically optimizes game settings for peak performance, downloads the latest drivers, and enables game streaming and in-game action capture. VR Direct technology incorporates new features to increase performance, lower latency and increase compatibility for VR headsets.
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 and GTX 970 GPUs are currently available. Pricing is expected to start at $549 for the GTX 980 and $329 for the GTX 970. The GeForce GTX 980 and 970 GPUs will also be sold in fully configured systems from system builders, including AVADirect, Cyberpower, Digital Storm, Falcon Northwest, Geekbox, IBUYPOWER, Maingear, Origin PC, Puget Systems, V3 Gaming and Velocity Micro.
[Image courtesy: Nvidia]