Nvidia's blistering new graphics card has VR gaming in its sights

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Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang at the GeForce GTX 1080 event.

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Nvidia has unveiled what it describes as the world's most advanced gaming GPU, the GeForce GTX 1080. Designed to power the extremes of modern gaming, such as virtual reality and higher resolution monitors, the chip runs on Nvidia's Pascal architecture, which currently powers its DGX-1 supercomputer and Drive PX 2 in-car computer.

Pascal enables the GTX 1080 to meet the performance requirements that modern gaming can demand, including support for curved monitors, 4K and higher resolutions, multi-screen setups and VR.

The GTX 1080 features a clock speed of over 1700 MHz, and is the first gaming GPU to run on 8GB GDDR5X memory, while the smaller chip design allows for reduced power consumption, down to 180 watts. In a VR demo, it was shown to perform at twice the speed and three times the power efficiency of Nvidia's reigning champion, the Titan X.

"Several thousand people have been working on this project now for more than two years," said Nvidia CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang, at the unveiling in Austin, Texas, on Friday. "This is the largest GPU endeavor, the largest chip processor endeavor, in the history of humanity. The R&D budget was several billion dollars."

The company also announced a new game capture software called Ansel, which will allow users to take extremely high definition photos and even 360-degree panoramas, and VR Funhouse, a collection of minigames designed to showcase the computing power of Pascal-based GPUs in virtual reality.

The GTX 1070 was also announced, featuring about two-thirds of the performance of the 1080 for a cheaper price point.

The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 "Founders Edition" will be available on May 27 for US$699, with third-party versions of the card starting at $599. The 1070 will be available June 10 for $449 (with its third-party equivalents starting at $379).

Source: Nvidia

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