In the Forums...
Posted: May 30, 2000
Written by: Tuan "Solace" Nguyen
Here are the specs for the 3D Prophet II GTS:
- NVIDIA GeForce 2 GTS GPU
- 256-bit graphics engine
- 200MHz core/166MHz memory clock (effectively 333MHz)
- 25 million triangles/sec
- 800 Mpixels/s fill rate
- 1.6GTexels/sec fill rate
- 5.3GB/sec Memory bandwidth
- Hardware Anti-Aliasing
- 32-bit colors, Z/stencil buffer
- 350MHz RAMDAC
- Max Resolution 2048x1536
- 32MB DDR RAM
- Built-in Video Out
- AGP 2X/4X including fast writes and execute mode
- RAM Heatsinks
- DirectX texture compression
- S3TC support
- Windows 9x/NT/2000 compatible
As we can see, the specs for this card is like any other GeForce 2 GTS based card with the exception of the heatsinks and the built-in video out.
We’re going to fill you in on the GeForce 2’s capabilities before we dive any further just to make sure you have an idea of what we’re talking about.
GTS: GigaTexel Shader
GTS stands for "GigaTexel Shader". As the name suggests, some new features have been added to the GeForce 256, but we'll get to that later...
What is a GigaTexel? It is one billion filtered textured pixels. But the GeForce 2 GTS's powerhouse doesn't stop there -- it delivers up to a full 1.6 billion texels/sec; more than three times that of the GeForce 256. But the speed increase isn't the only upgrade that the GeForce 256 received. The term "shader" should have indicated a new lighting feature as part of the T&L system. The shading engine enables per-pixel shading and lighting.
NSR: NVIDIA Shading Rasterizer
Likely one of the most significant feature for the GeForce 2 GTS is the inclusion of what NVIDIA calls the NVIDIA Shading Rasterizer or the NSR. What is the NSR? We can't tell you what it is, you just have to s-- okay, enough Matrix stuff. But as a matter of fact, it is a matrix. It is a one by seven matrix. The NSR is a radically new rendering engine. It can juggle 7 pixels in a single pass applying advanced per-pixel shading effects.
What is per-pixel shading? It's a method of applying special rendering effects... per pixel. It allows material and real world effects to be applied individually to a pixel for more accuracy and intensity. Per-pixel shading will redefine the visual look and feel of imagery for PC graphics. Per-pixel shading has long been used in film production to create a more realistic and lifelike appearance for computer generated imagery. If you've seen Toy Story, you'll definitely remember Buzz Light-year. Remember the translucent reflection on Buzz's helmet? How the environment and light streaks reflected off the glass but also let the image underneath show through? That was done with per-pixel shading. Until now, it wasn't practical to use per-pixel shading on a PC because of the intense power and processing requirements needed. Sure, you could have done that in 3D Studio but could you have done it in real-time? Could the effect be applied to an entire frame at high resolution in 1/60th of a second? Not until now.
Per-pixel shading is useful for simulating natural phenomena and accurate surface attributes such as fur, cloth, metals, glass, rock, and other highly detailed surfaces.