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NVIDIA GeForce FX: Stars Chronicle.

On November 25, 2002, at 5 o'clock in the evening at the Moscow Cinema Five Stars the new NVIDIA's solution - GeForce FX - was officially presented. 

Morning. The Chief Editor of the Video Section Andrey Vorobiev waiting for the presentation to start:

5:00pm - Cinema theater Five Stars. The arriving pressmen are met by the personnel in funny "hi-tech" wigs:

The theater's decoration so nicely suits FPS which we've got used to so much. Typical elements, narrow multilevel sheds and passages. Diffused, spot and specular light sources work in full conformity with 3D graphics laws:

Apart from a classical fan from multiple games including the Doom III:

there are monsters which are an integral part of all shooters:

Take note of the per-pixel lighting, bump mapping and environment mapping. And below are two monsters with the cinematographic rendering quality: the first sports a complicated procedural texture, and the other boasts amazing animated shader hair:

These flashing letters remind us why we are here:

So, it's high time to start the presentation. The first comes European marketing director Alan Tiquet:

He speaks about his ideas concerning the future of personal computers, a role of separate and integrated graphics solutions. And certainly, he speaks about the growing NVIDIA's market share. Then comes out onto the scene John Spitzer, Director of Developer Technology:

He touched directly upon the GeForce FX. Not only was he speaking about the characteristics of the new GPU and demonstrating a card based on it, he also showed how the card worked in a demo system. All the visitors were enjoying NVIDIA's demo programs of future games. STALKER made everybody fall silent - the audience looked at the screen and recognized the good old elements. Believe me, on a large screen the game at such a high detail level looks not less cinematographic than the Final Fantasy! Everyone with bated breath was watching a fantastically real landscape of the abandoned soviet plant running on the test version of the STALKER engine. It's noticeable that abundance of geometry make even the GeForce FX slow down sometimes. I think that average rate is about  15...30 fps. On the GeForce4 MX440 this game runs at about 1-2 fps and with artifacts. On the GeForce4 Ti 4600 it makes 8..12 fps. Well, this game can make the new accelerator a must-buy. 

After that they were speaking about means of modeling, development and CG:

In the end John pointed out that the NVIDIA's products had become the de facto standard for developers and testers, and this fact let them turn into even more reliable solutions. Here is the slogan - "play it's meant to be played":

Got the card!

Meanwhile, it's time to ask questions and get answers. It turns out, that the second revision of the chip is right around the corner, it will be put into the mass production; it's possible to do without additional power supply of the GeForce FX, but in this case the card will work slower; the card controls the fan's speed itself according to the information from the built-in activity sensors; the new GPU consumes power almost twice as much as the previous version. Despite the new technology, the frequency and the number of transistors have considerably increased. The bulky solution used for cooling down reference cards can be replaced by the manufacturer with a more standard one, but if it turns to be inefficient, the speed of the card will be reduced. There is also a number of other architectural peculiarities which will be touched upon later on. 

In the meantime, all the participants got a chance to have an informal word with others, take part in contests and have a bite. I decided to join the photo session and surprisingly got the first prize :-) ...thanks to such nice butterflies coming right from the NVIDIA's demo:

Oh, it seems I've forgotten to enable the saturation control from the set of cinematographic effects! Now the rendering works as it must:

The prize - Tefal juicer - made me think well about those who had set up the contest. It seems that their logic doesn't stick at all to the simple binary system :-). The most attractive contest was when it was necessary to create one's own cinema image. Its participants spent efforts most of all modeling their dresses and accessories:

The victory was after mysterious Prince Hamlet with a pine-apple skull in his hands:

This image was the strongest, complete and tragic. That's all. Let's go back to our movie... 


Aleksander Medvedev (unclesam@ixbt.com)

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