|Introduced||August 31, 1999|
|Type||Consumer graphics cards|
GeForce is a brand of graphics processing units (GPUs) designed by Nvidia. As of 2013[update], there have been twelve iterations of the design. The first GeForce products were discrete GPUs designed for use on add-on graphics boards, intended for the high-margin PC gaming market. Later diversification of the product-line covered all tiers of the PC graphics market, from cost-sensitive, motherboard-integrated GPUs to mainstream, add-in, retail boards. Most recently, GeForce technology has been introduced into Nvidia's line of embedded application processors, designed for electronic handhelds and mobile handsets.
With respect to discrete GPUs, found in add-in graphics-boards, Nvidia's GeForce and AMD's Radeon GPUs are the only remaining competitors in the high-end market. Along with its nearest competitor, the AMD Radeon, the GeForce architecture is moving toward GPGPU (General Purpose-Graphics Processor Unit). GPGPU is expected to expand GPU functionality beyond the traditional rasterization of 3D graphics, to turn it into a high-performance computing device able to execute arbitrary programming code in the same way a CPU does, but with different strengths (highly parallel execution of straightforward calculations) and weaknesses (worse performance for complex decision-making code).
The "GeForce" name originated from a contest held by Nvidia in early 1999 called "Name That Chip". The company called out to the public to name the successor to the RIVA TNT2 line of graphics boards. There were over 12,000 entries received and 7 winners received a RIVA TNT2 Ultra graphics card as a reward.
|This section requires expansion. (September 2010)|
Since the GeForce2, Nvidia has produced a number of graphics chipsets for notebook computers under the GeForce Go branding. Most of the features present in the desktop counterparts are present in the mobile ones. However these GPUs do not perform as well as their desktop counterpart. Nvidia later rebranded their mobile chipset for the GeForce 8 based GPUs the GeForce 8M series. In 1st Quarter 2009 the GeForce 200M series were released. However these cards are actually based on the G92 core also found in 8 and 9 series GPUs, as opposed to a true GT200 core, mainly for power consumption reasons.
Integrated desktop motherboard GPUs
Beginning with the nForce 4, nVidia has included onboard graphics solutions in their motherboard chipsets. These onboard graphics solutions are called mGPUs (motherboard GPUs). As technology progressed, Nvidia developed a mobile GPU called the NVidia ION graphics processor.
|Category||Number range||Suffix[a]||Price range[b] (USD)||Shader amount[c]||Memory||Example products|
|Mainstream||000–550||SE, LE, No suffix, GS, GT, Ultra||<$100||<25%||DDR, DDR2||25–50%||~25%||GeForce 9400GT, GeForce 9500GT|
|Performance||600–750||VE, LE, XT, No suffix, GS, GSO, GT, GTS, Ultra||$100–175||25–50%||DDR2, GDDR3||50–75%||50–75%||GeForce 9600GT, GeForce 9600GSO|
|Enthusiast||800–950||VE, LE, ZT, XT, No suffix, GS, GSO, GT, GTO, GTS, GTX, GTX+, Ultra, Ultra Extreme, GX2||>$175||50–100%||GDDR3||75–100%||50–100%||GeForce 9800GT, GeForce 9800GTX|
Since the release of the GeForce 100 series of GPUs, NVIDIA changed their product naming scheme to the one below.
|Category||Prefix||Number range (Last 2 digits)||Price range[b] (USD)||Shader amount[c]||Memory||Example products|
|Mainstream||No prefix, G, GT||00–35||<$100||<25%||DDR2, GDDR3, GDDR5||25–50%||~25%||GeForce GT 620, GeForce GT 630|
|Performance||GT, GTS, GTX||40–55||$100–175||25–50%||GDDR3, GDDR5||50–75%||75–100%||GeForce GT 650, GeForce GTX 760|
|Enthusiast||GTX||60–95||>$175||50–100%||GDDR3, GDDR5||75–100%||50–100%||GeForce GTX 690, GeForce GTX Titan|
- Suffixes indicate its performance layer, and those listed are in order from weakest to most powerful. Suffixes from lesser categories can still be used on higher performance cards, example: GeForce 8800 GT.
- Price range only applies to the most recent generation and is a generalization based on pricing patterns.
- Shader amount compares the number of shaders pipelines or units in that particular model range to the highest model possible in the generation.
- Earlier cards such as the GeForce4 follow a similar pattern.
- cf. Nvidia's Performance Graph here.
- GeForce 256
- Launched on August 31, 1999, the GeForce 256 (NV10) was the first PC graphics chip with hardware transform, lighting, and shading although 3D games utilizing this feature did not appear until later. Initial GeForce 256 boards shipped with SDR SDRAM memory, and later boards shipped with faster DDR SDRAM memory.
- GeForce 2 Series
- Launched in April 2000, the first GeForce2 (NV15) was another high-performance graphics chip. Nvidia moved to a twin texture processor per pipeline (4x2) design, doubling texture fillrate per clock compared to GeForce 256. Later, Nvidia released the GeForce2 MX (NV11), which offered performance similar to the GeForce 256 but at a fraction of the cost. The MX was a compelling value in the low/mid-range market segments and was popular with OEM PC manufacturers and users alike. The GeForce 2 Ultra was the high-end model in this series.
- GeForce 3 Series
- Launched in February 2001, the GeForce3 (NV20) introduced programmable pixel shaders to the GeForce family. It had good overall performance and shader support, making it popular with enthusiasts although it never hit the midrange price point. GeForce3 was a derivative of the NV2A developed for the Microsoft Xbox game console.
- GeForce 4 Series
- Launched in February 2002, the high-end GeForce4 Ti (NV25) was mostly a refinement to the GeForce3. The biggest advancements included enhancements to anti-aliasing capabilities, an improved memory controller, a second vertex shader, and a manufacturing process size reduction to increase clock speeds. Another "family member," the budget GeForce4 MX, was based on the GeForce2, with a few additions from the new GeForce4 Ti line. It targeted the value segment of the market and lacked pixel shaders. Most of these models used the AGP4x interface, but a few began the transition to AGP8x.
- GeForce FX Series
- Launched in 2003, the GeForce FX (NV30) was a huge change in architecture compared to its predecessors. The GPU was designed not only to support the new Shader Model 2 specification but also to perform well on older titles. However, initial models suffered from weak floating point shader performance and excessive heat which required two-slot cooling solutions. Products in this series carry the 5000 model number, as it is the fifth generation of the GeForce, though Nvidia marketed the cards as GeForce FX instead of GeForce 5 to show off "the dawn of cinematic rendering".
- GeForce 6 Series
- Launched in April 2004, the GeForce 6 (NV40) added Shader Model 3.0 support to the GeForce family, while correcting the weak floating point shader performance of its predecessor. It also implemented high dynamic range imaging and introduced SLI (Scalable Link Interface) and PureVideo capability (integrated DVD Video decoder, eliminates the need for software video decoders).
- GeForce 7 Series
- The 7th generation GeForce (G70/NV47) was launched in June 2005 and was the last video card designed for AGP bus. The design was a refined version of GeForce 6, with the major improvements being a widened pipeline and an increase in clock speed. The GeForce 7 also offers new transparency supersampling and transparency multisampling anti-aliasing modes (TSAA and TMAA). These new anti-aliasing modes were later enabled for the GeForce 6 series as well. The GeForce 7950GT featured the highest performance GPU with an AGP interface in the nVidia line. This era began the transition to the PCI-Express interface.
- A 128-bit, 8 ROP version of the 7950 GT, called the RSX 'Reality Synthesizer', is used as the main GPU in the Sony PlayStation 3.
- GeForce 8 Series
- Released on November 8, 2006, the 8th generation GeForce (G80 originally) was the first ever GPU to fully support Direct3D 10. Built on a brand new architecture, manufactured in 80 nm, it has a fully unified shader architecture. Originally just the 8800GTX, the GTS was released months into the product line's life, and it took nearly 6 months for mid-range and OEM/mainstream cards to be integrated into the 8-series. The Die-shrink down to 65 nm and a revision to the G80 design, codenamed G92, were implemented into the 8 series with the 8800GS, the 8800GT, and 8800GTS-512. First released on October 29, 2007, almost one whole year after the initial G80 release.
- GeForce 9 Series / GeForce 100 Series
- The first product was released on February 21, 2008. Not even four months older than the initial G92 release, all 9-series designs, both speculated and currently out, are simply revisions to existing late 8-series products. The 9800GX2 uses two G92 GPUs, as used in later 8800 cards, in a dual PCB configuration while still only requiring a single PCI-Express 16x slot. The 9800GX2 utilizes two separate 256-bit memory busses, one for each GPU and its respective 512MB of memory, which equates to an overall of 1GB of memory on the card (although the SLI configuration of the chips necessitates mirroring the frame buffer between the two chips, thus effectively halving the memory performance of a 256-bit/512MB configuration). The later 9800GTX features a single G92 GPU, 256-bit data bus, and 512MB of GDDR3 memory. Prior to the release, no concrete information was known except officials claiming the next generation products having close to 1 TFLOPS performance while the GPU cores still being manufactured in the 65 nm process, and reports about Nvidia downplaying the significance of Direct3D 10.1. On March 2009, several sources reported that nVidia had quietly launched a new series of GeForce products, designated GeForce 100 Series, which consists of rebadged 9 Series parts. GeForce 100 products are not available for individual purchase.
- GeForce 200 Series / GeForce 300 Series
- Based on the GT200 graphics processor consisting of 1.4 billion transistors, codenamed Tesla, the 200 series was launched on June 16, 2008. The next generation of the GeForce series takes the card-naming scheme in a new direction, by replacing the series number (such as 8800 for 8-series cards) with the GTX or GTS suffix (which used to go at the end of card names, denoting their 'rank' among other similar models), and then adding model-numbers such as 260 and 280 after that. The series features the new GT200 core on a 65nm die. The first products were the GeForce GTX 260 and the more expensive GeForce GTX 280. The GeForce 310 was released on November 27, 2009, which is a rebrand of GeForce 210. The 300 series cards are rebranded DirectX 10.1 compatible GPUs from the 200 series.
- GeForce 400 Series / GeForce 500 Series
- Nvidia announced and released the GeForce GTX 470 and GTX 480, the first cards based on the new Fermi architecture codenamed GF100, and the first to utilize 1GB or more of newer GDDR5 memory. They were released on April 7, 2010. Later that year, Nvidia introduced the GeForce GTX 465 as a cutdown, cheaper version of the GF100 chip to target at mainstream users. The GTX 465 was quickly replaced by the GTX 460, based on the GF104 architecture, which featured lower power consumption and better performance. Soon after, Nvidia released mainstream versions of Fermi architecture, also known as GF106 and GF108, for consumers as well as OEMs. NVIDIA also released a flagship GPU based on a revised GF100 architecture (GF110), called the GTX 580, that featured higher performance/power efficiency than the GTX 480. Nvidia also recently released two updates to the GTX470 and GTX460, the GTX570 and GTX560 Ti, both of which also feature better performance than their predecessor. They have now phased out the GTX480 and GTX470, while keeping the GTX460 in production as a lower budget high end card. Then came the GTX590, a combination of 2 GTX 580 on one single card.
- GeForce 600 Series / GeForce 700 Series
- In September 2010, Nvidia announced that the successor to Fermi would be the Kepler architecture, based on a 28 nm fabrication process. In early 2012, the first members of the 600 series were revealed to be based on the existing Fermi-architecture, intended for the laptop market. On March 22, 2012, the Kepler family debuted with the launch of the GTX680 (GK104 core) and GT640M (GK107 core), with the GTX 680 as Nvidia's most powerful single-core graphics card at this time. On April 29, 2012 Nvidia announced the Kepler dual-GPU version, the GTX690, that features 2x GK104 cores. The series introduced significant improvements in energy efficiency. On May 10, 2012, Nvidia introduced the GTX670 as a cut-down, cheaper version of the GTX 680, while retaining the same power efficiency improvements that GTX680 and GTX690 enjoyed over the GeForce cards based on the older Fermi architecture. Between August and September 2012, Nvidia introduced the GTX 660 Ti (GK104 core), GTX 660 (GK106 core), and GTX 650 (GK107 core) for budget-conscious consumers. In early 2013, Nvidia announced the GTX Titan based on the GK110 core, the true successor to the GF110 architecture (the previous GTX680 flagship card was based on the GK104 core, which succeeded GF114). The final GeForce 600 card was the GTX 650 TI Boost (GK106 core). In April 2013, Nvidia announced the first mobile GeForce 700 series cards, and in May the first desktop cards. They are based on a refreshed Kepler architecture, used in the 600 series.
- GeForce 800 Series / GeForce 900 Series
- In March 2013, Nvidia announced that the successor to Kepler would be the Maxwell architecture. It is planned for release in 2014.
- GeForce 1000 Series / GeForce 1100 Series
- In March 2013, Nvidia announced that the successor to Maxwell would be the Volta architecture.
The Maxwell architecture, the successor to Kepler, will have for the first time an integrated ARM CPU of its own (Project Denver); This will make Maxwell GPU more independent from the main CPU according to Nvidia's CEO – Jen Hsun Huang. Maxwell was announced in September 2010 and is expected to be released in 2014. After Maxwell, the next architecture is code-named Volta. Regarding the Volta architecture, Nvidia has only revealed its name. On March 19, 2013 Nvidia mentioned it will have Stacked DRAM; the GPU Roadmap slide hinted around a 2016 date (the exact date was not shown.) 
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