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Even though Nvidia Corp.'s Fermi graphics architecture has a number of advantages over competitors, the company's flagship solution GeForce GTX 480 was too power hungry and noisy amid insignificant performance gains versus rivals. On Tuesday Nvidia unleashed its new flagship GF110 graphics processing unit (GF110) that not only brings increased performance, but also addresses power consumption and noise issues.

The Nvidia GF110 graphics chip is fully-fledged and refined version of the GF100, the first GPU in the Fermi family of products, which was released earlier this year. The GeForce GTX 580 graphics board features GF100 graphics chip with 512 stream processors, 64 texuture units (with improved FP16 filtering performance), 48 render back ends, 16 geometry/tessellation engines, 384-bit memory controller, 768KB unified L2 cache and so on. The chip itself functions at 772MHz, while its compute stream cores operate at 1544MHz. Nvidia recommends its partners to clock 1.5GB of GDDR5 memory at 4008MHz.

In order to make the GF110 faster than its predecessor, Nvidia re-architectred texture filtering units to enable two times higher FP16 filtering performance as well as implemented certain new tile formats to boost performance of Z-culling unit to improve general efficiency of the chip in complex scenes.

Furthermore, in order to trim power consumption and at the same time increase clock-speed of the GF110 versus GF100, Nvidia re-engineered numerous blocks at transistor level. In particular, Nvidia implemented lower-leakage transistors on less latency-sensitive paths, at the same time utilized higher-speed transistors on more timing sensitive circuits. In addition, certain blocks within the chip can now completely switch off when not needed, which lowers power consumption in idle mode. Finally, even the reference design of the GeForce GTX 580 sports advanced vapor-chamber-based cooling system, which allows to cool down still pretty hot chip more efficiently and thus quietly. All in all, in spite of being made using the same 40nm process technology, the GF110 is faster, cooler and quieter than the GF100.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 580 graphics card supports all the modern technologies that the industry and its developer have to offer, including acceleration of physics effects using PhysX techn in select games, Nvidia 3D Vision stereoscopic technology, SLI multi-GPU technology and so on. One thing the product missies is ability to plug more than two displays to one card, something that is still exclusive to competing products with ATI Eyefinity support.

The GeForce GTX 580 is available starting today from the leading add-in card partners, including ASL, Asustek Computer, Colorful, ECS, EVGA, Gainward, Galaxy, Gigabyte, Innovision 3D, Jetway, Leadtek, MSI, Palit, Point of View, PNY, Sparkle, Zotac and others.

The recommended price of the GeForce GTX 580 is $499.

Tags: Nvidia, Geforce, Fermi, gf110, 40nm

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