Nvidia shows mainstream GeForce FX chips

Nvidia is looking to reclaim its position at the top of the graphics food chain, announcing two new GeForce FX graphics chips geared toward mainstream users.

Nvidia is unveiling the GeForce FX 5600 Ultra and the FX 5200 Ultra at the Game Developer Conference in San Jose, California this week. The announcement comes on the heals of rival ATI's Wednesday launch of its newest Radeon graphics chips. It also follows NVidia's own recent launch of its long-delayed, high-end graphics chip, the GeForce FX 5800 Ultra.

All of Nvidia's latest chips use the CineFX architecture, which supports DirectX 9 and high-level shading languages that the company says provides easier, more realistic lighting and shading effects.

"We're trying to make the PC more like a console, a truly liberating experience for developers to write for," says Bill Rehbock, Nvidia's director of developer relations.

Mainstream Push

Bragging rights are won with the high-end graphics chips, and NVidia took some lumps from reviewers who found the GeForce FX 5800 Ultra's performance lacking. Despite the hype that surrounds the high-end chips, graphics companies make most of their money with mainstream boards, and that's also where many game developers focus their attention.

"It's kind of interesting that from a limelight standpoint, the high-end performance cards get so much attention," Rehbock says. "At the end of the day, what matters most to our partners ends up not the $400 high-end cards, but being able to run their games well on the mainstream and low-cost cards."

The budget GeForce FX 5200 Ultra comes with 128MB of memory and will ship on boards selling for about US$99. The 5200 Ultra still uses the .15-micron process, and replace NVidia's current GeForce 4MX. The mid-range GeForce FX 5600 Ultra will appear on boards selling for around US$199. Based on the new .13-micron process, the 5600 Ultra will be available in both 128MB and 256MB incarnations.

The power of the FX 5200 in particular is stunning compared to that of previous budget chips, Rehbock says.

"Here at GDC, I've never seen game developers so excited," he says. "Imagine being able to run Doom III on a $99 card."

NVidia in Trouble?

ATI beat NVidia to the high-end punch with its Radeon 9700 Pro, and that success has filtered down to its mainstream chips. Couple that with the disappointment surrounding the FX 5800 Ultra, and it might appear NVidia is slipping.

That's far from the case, says Jon Peddie, president of Jon Peddie Research, a graphics and multimedia research firm. Nvidia is still the dominant player in the graphics board market.

"Right now, ATI is going to get more favorable press attention, but Nvidia is a great company and they have great products coming," Peddie says.

The rivalry between the two companies is strong enough to drive them both ahead swiftly. "We'll see some dramatic things out of NVidia," he adds. "Their road map looking ahead is pretty damn powerful. And ATI's is also damn powerful. We'll see a lot of damn powerful stuff coming out," he says.

Fighting for Leftovers

In fact, ATI and NVidia's rivalry may be too strong, Peddie says. "The bad news is that ATI and NVidia are moving so far ahead of the other companies, that we're going to see the rest of them squabbling over the 15 percent of the market that's left," he says.

Those other companies include Creative Labs, Via, and Matrox, and they're left trying to hack out a niche. "They're all looking for space, but ATI and NVidia compete in all the same areas, so they have to contend with the powerhouses," Peddie says.

Looking ahead, a strong number three has to emerge to stabilize the market, he says. "The two companies that are in the best position are Creative Labs with their branding research dollars and then Matrox or Via," Peddie says.

For those that remember their graphics card history, not so long ago that number three used to be ATI--and before that, NVidia.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joel Strauch

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?