Nvidia yesterday began shipping the GeForce GTX 480, with double the number of processor cores previously available at 512. The card is intended to to permit smooth playback and editing of 2D or 3D content, including animation, games and videos.
The GTX 480 supports Microsoft DirectX 11, Direct3D and PhysX, Nvidia's real-time physics engine and SDK that came along with its acquisition of Ageia in 2008. Now tailored for Nvidia's CUDA GPUs, PhysX off-loads physics processing tasks from a system's main CPU.
The board uses NVidia's latest graphics processing architecture--called Fermi after nuclear reactor inventor Enrico Fermi--which the company says will provide a platform not just for media producers and gamers, but for high-end modeling applications such as those used in meteorology, geology and medical research.
The GeForce GTX 480, which contains 1.5GB of dedicated graphics memory, is Nvidia's answer to AMD's Radeon 5870 product, which came out in September. Early indications are that GeForce keep pace with the Radeon in one-card tests, but in a two-card test reported in PC World, outperformed by a significant margin. The GTX 480 will cost you a PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot and about US$500.