Lightspeed Memory Architecture|NVIDIA

Lightspeed Memory Architecture

A New Level of Performance and Image Quality

Creating a real-time realistic 3D environment on a mainstream PC is the driving ambition of thousands of hardware and software developers employed in the computer graphics industry. While developments over the past years have made incredible strides towards improving the quality of real-time 3D graphics, one of the fundamental challenges in delivering interactive 3D content remains: increasing performance given limited increases in memory. Memory and graphics bus bandwidth remain as critical factors in determining graphics performance and quality. GeForce3 incorporates a number of revolutionary advances in graphics architecture that dramatically improve the GPU's efficiency with memory and bus bandwidth delivering a new level of performance and image quality.

The Memory Bandwidth Problem
In order to describe scenes with richness and enough detail to create a compelling environment, content developers have been increasing the geometric detail in their scenes at an incredible rate. With the introduction of the GeForce 256 graphics processing unit, much of the computational load for this function was moved from the CPU to the GPU. This shifting of the computational load to the GPU was a key factor in allowing content developers the freedom to move from hundreds of polygons per frame to hundreds of thousands. These rich scenes, while orders of magnitude more visually compelling, are also incredibly bandwidth intensive.
By using higher order surfaces, designers can create complex curved surfaces that are too difficult to create by just using triangles.

Lightspeed Memory Architecture: The Solution
GeForce3, through its advanced Lightspeed Memory Architectureâ„¢ brings an array of technology to bear on the challenge of memory bandwidth. By representing complex geometry as a high-order surface and performing those surface calculations entirely on the GPU, GeForce3 is able to avoid transmitting tremendous amounts of triangle data across the AGP bus, ensuring that communication between the host and the GPU can continue in an efficient and high performance manner. By attacking the
pixel bandwidth problems in a variety of ways, GeForce3 brings a tremendous leap in memory bandwidth efficiency to PC graphics. The combination of the most efficient and sophisticated crossbar-based memory controller ever built for PC graphics, with advanced technology to reduce bandwidth consumption, means that GeForce3 makes twice the use of memory bandwidth than any previous traditional architecture.

These advances pave the way for an increasingly dynamic and visually rich real-time 3D graphics experience. By improving the efficiency of communication between the host and graphics, content developers can continue to increase the geometric richness and visual complexity of their scenes to new levels, unbound by the limits of the AGP bus. Rendering at high resolutions, with high frame rates becomes the standard with GeForce3, as its advances in pixel rendering and memory efficiency mean that frame buffer bandwidth boundaries have been broken, paving the way for high resolution, 32-bit rendering without substantial performance penalties.
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