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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 400 Series - What you need to know (Page 9)

By Shawn Baker from Mar 26, 2010 @ 18:00 CDT
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

The Fancy Tech

NVIDIA cards offer a number of fancy technologies which some people love, others hate; some people want, others don't care. Whatever your position on the technology is, it's something that has to be put into consideration when comparing the cards to ATI ones who don't offer the technology.

- CUDA

CUDA has really been kicked up a notch with the latest generation of video cards from NVIDIA. Now, I could give you a copy and paste of information from the Fermi and GF100 Whitepaper, but it'll probably go straight over your head, as it does mine. You should see these documents show up online soon enough anyway.

The important thing to know about CUDA is that it's faster than it was on the last generation of cards. Now, while it's not a technology everyone will use, it's certainly handy for a number of people.

If you're right into your [email protected], the extra grunt on offer is going to help not only increase performance over previous generation cards, but also continue to demolish CPUs doing the same job.

Ripping movies to your iPhone or making them compatible with your Xbox 360 with BADABOOM is also going to get a speed boost. While we did run into some problems here running BADABOOM, we're sure that it's only a patch away from being fixed.

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These are just a few of the CUDA enabled programs; there's plenty out there and as time goes on more and more developers are making use of the power that is available from GPGPU computing.

While the technology can be used by everyone, not everyone is going to need it. It doesn't make it any less important of a feature, though.

- Ray Tracing

Keeping up with what's happening with video cards is a full time job. Within video cards there's so much more to know and really, it's impossible to keep up with all of the internal tech that doesn't make use of games, while keeping up with the stuff that does make a difference and also knowing the whole top to bottom line-up of models from companies.

This is the excuse I'm using for my lack of understanding on Ray Tracing. When NVIDIA was asked the other day if Ray Tracing could be used in games, there was a bit of a "Yeah, it could, but it probably never will" kind of response.

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Ray Tracing is another technology, much like CUDA in the sense that you either really want it, or you just don't need it. Looking through a list of software companies that support Ray Tracing, you see names like 3DS Max, LightWave 3D and Bryce just to name a few.

If you use programs like this the chances are you'll have a better understanding of Ray Tracing and know if it's something you need or not. Either way, for NVIDIA it's another selling point for the company in a line-up of some pretty fancy technology.

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