Nvidia's response to queries like this one was remarkably consistent, and most of us assumed that ATI would be first to market with a unified shader architecture for PC graphics. Heck, ATI had already completed a unified design for the Xbox 360, so its next GPU would be a second-generation effort. Surely ATI would take the technology lead in the first round of DirectX 10-capable graphics chips.
Except for this: Nvidia seems to have fooled almost everybody. Turns out all of that talk about unified architectures not being necessary was just subterfuge. They've been working on a unified graphics architecture for four years now, and today, they're unveiling the thing to the worldand selling it to consumers starting immediately. The graphics processor formerly known as G80 has been christened as the GeForce 8800, and it's anything but a conventional GPU design. Read on for more detail than you probably need to know about it.