Nvidia is definitely going to change the world of graphics.
Nvidia is going to announce the GeForce256 which is the product name for the NV10 their new "GPU" chip which supports hardware accelerated transform and lighting. Tim Sweeney and I saw it running behind closed doors at Siggraph and we were totally blown away. We saw some incredible demos with previously unimaginable numbers of polygons in real time, fully-lit, game-quality framerates and resolutions.
Nvidia is going to ship it this September and from a practical standpoint it's approaching the power of Sony's next generation Playstation's graphics hardware.
What's really interesting is that this is just the start of some pretty amazing hardware to come from them. They released TNT2 only 5 months ago and here they are today with GeForce256 less than a month away. Just think what kind of chip they'll be shipping when Sony's next generation Playstation actually does arrive.
Here's the cool part. Looking forward to Fall 2000 you'll probably be able to buy a Celeron 600 or AMD Athlon 600, 128Mb of RAM, a DVD-ROM, a 15+ Gb hard drive, a monitor and a GeForce256 in the $1,200 range from name-brand companies like Dell. Wow!
GeForce256 completely blows the PC graphics world wide open. There are a whole bunch of extremely impressive graphics cards coming out this year like GeForce256, Savage2000, and whatever 3DFX is going to call their next card. I'm sure others like ATI, 3DLabs, and Matrox will ring in with new offerings soon enough too. But so far Nvidia has upped the anty considerably and it will be interesting to see who responds when and with what.
So what else would I really like for Christmas? I'd like to see the graphics companies finally stop selling their older generation "value" parts like Riva128, original TNT, Rage 2, Rage Pro and others so system integrators wouldn't be tempted to ship these chips just to save a few bucks. That way everyone buying a system, even the low-end systems, could be assured of compelling 3D graphics performance right out of the box. I'd also like to see some decent graphics chips make their way into laptops so I could finally buy a kick-ass laptop capable of playing 3D games the way they're supposed to be played.
BTW, for you nay-sayers there WILL be games which can take advantage of the hardware T&L and the other features of the GeForce256 including DXTC texture compression. As a side note with GeForce256 Nvidia will fully support palletized textures which means this card will really scream with Unreal Tournament! It would have anyway because the fill rates are so high but this just makes it that much faster to boot.