NVIDIA intros the Titanium line

It's time once again for a fall product line refresh from NVIDIA. This time around, they're calling the new chips and cards "Titanium." The "Ti" line is based on familiar core technologies, the GeForce2 and GeForce3, but the chips and cards are faster and cheaper than their predecessors. NVIDIA and its fab partner, TSMC, have tweaked the production process for higher speeds and higher yields. That means mo' better cards for us.

I've not yet run one of these cards through a full set of benchmarks, but I can give you the vitals on the Ti lineup right now. From low-end to high:

    GeForce2 Ti
  • Offers GF2 Ultra-style performance
  • Core clock speed: 250MHz
  • Memory clock speed: 400MHz (200MHz DDR)
  • Est. card price: About $179

    GeForce3 Ti 200

  • Full GeForce3 card (same core as present) for less
  • Core clock speed: 175MHz
  • Memory clock speed: 400MHz (200MHz DDR)
  • Est. card price: About $299-329 (possibly as low as $249)

  • GeForce3 Ti 500

  • The new big daddy of NVIDIA performance
  • Core clock speed: 240MHz
  • Memory clock speed: 500MHz (250MHz DDR)
  • Est. card price: About $399
All of these cards are based on existing GeForce2 and GeForce3 cores; they're not cut-down versions with fewer pipes or narrower memory interfaces. If you want to know more about these chips' basic capabilities, see our GeForce2 and GeForce3 reviews. We all know what kind of performance to expect out of NVIDIA chips, so it goes without saying that these new cards ought to be very fast for their given price ranges. At those prices, by the way, the GeForce2 Ti ought to compete with ATI's Radeon 7500, and the GeForce3 Ti 500 should take on the Radeon 8500.

Thanks to NVIDIA's new Detonator XP drivers, all GeForce3 cards, including the Ti line, now support volumetric texturing and shadow buffers. (These capabilities have been present in the hardware, but only the latest drivers have enabled them.) Both features should allow some very sweet new forms of eye candy, including realistic shadows that don't bog down the works like in the past. NVIDIA's new Dets also include a new OpenGL 1.3-compliant ICD, and some of the new capabilites in OpenGL 1.3 are extensions submitted by NVIDIA to better support the GeForce3's vertex and pixel processing abilities.

Finally, as we talked about the new Ti cards, I asked NVIDIA the Big Question about the GeForce3: Where are the games? Their answer: watch the Christmas releases. I suppose that makes sense. Until then, of course, the Ti 500 ought to do one heckuva job with anti-aliasing in current games, even if they don't support all its nifty new features.

For the full scoop on Ti 500 performance today, head on over to the cold, HardOCP's GeForce3 Ti 500 preview. Kyle has run a Ti 500 reference card through the gauntlet, and he's got all the numbers for you.

Tip: You can use the A/Z keys to walk threads.
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