updated 05:25 pm EST, Thu January 8, 2009
NVIDIA GTX 295 and 100M
NVIDIA's appearance at CES comes with the launch of new flagship desktop graphics cards as well as new mobile chipsets. The dual-chip GeForce GTX 295 and GTX 285 are both built on a more efficient manufacturing process that lets the company either ramp up clock speeds (on the 285) or double the number of chips (on the 295). The 285 is now NVIDIA's fastest single-GPU card and comes with a 648MHz core and 1GB of memory at 1.24GHz while the 295 behaves as though it were two GTX 260s with a 576MHz core and 1.79GB total of 1GHz memory. NVIDIA claims the 285 is about 30 percent faster on average than the Radeon HD 4870 it competes against.
Either card supports the same DirectX 10 and OpenGL 2 visual effects as the previous cards and can also be used for general-purpose tasks such as PhysX physics or CUDA computations for video encoding or science. They also come ready for the company's just introduced GeForce 3D Vision stereoscopic glasses for 3D in games and visual media.
The GTX 295 is already shipping today and will sell through multiple third-party board makers for an estimated retail price of $499; GTX 285 boards appear on the 15th for $399. NVIDIA doesn't name partners but regularly supports firms like ASUS, BFG and EVGA as well as large-scale computer builders that need their own cards.
Also making a formal debut, the GeForce 100M series is NVIDIA's new dedicated graphics chip for both mid-range and budget notebooks. Effectively replacing most of the 9000M series, the new parts use the same optimizations as for the new desktop cards and are feature-equivalent but faster. The GeForce GT 130M is about 17 percent faster than the 9600M GT in common 3D, while the 105M and 110M are about 35 and 55 percent faster respectively than the dedicated 9300M and 9400M chips they replace.
NVIDIA doesn't say itself when the 100M series launches with new notebooks, but does note that the IdeaPad Y650 will come with the GeForce 110M when it ships in March.