Additional Info
  • Cube Environment Mapping

    Imagine nature without reflections—not in water, in metal, or other shiny surfaces. Those small details can make or break a computer-rendered 3D scene.

  • Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)

    A high-performance 3D processor that integrates the entire 3D pipeline (transformation, lighting, setup, and rendering). A GPU offloads all 3D calculations from the CPU, freeing the CPU for other functions such as physics and artificial intelligence.

Relevant Links
  • Transform & Lighting (T&L)

    Two separate engines on the GPU that provide for a powerful, balanced PC platform and enable extremely high polygon count scenes. Transform performance determines how complex objects can be and how many can appear in a scene without sacrificing frame rate. Lighting techniques add to a scene's realism by changing the appearance of objects based on light sources.

GeForce 256


 The World's First GPU

August 31, 1999 marked the introduction of the graphics processing unit (GPU) for the PC industry—the NVIDIA GeForce 256. The technical definition of a GPU is "a single-chip processor with integrated transform, lighting, triangle setup/clipping, and rendering engines that is capable of processing a minimum of 10 million polygons per second."

With transform, lighting, setup, and rendering on a single GPU, the GeForce 256 delivers 15M polygons/second and 480M pixels/second of performance. Truly revolutionary, its unique 256-bit rendering engine enabled an order of magnitude increase in visual complexity, and helped to set the stage for the future of realism in graphics.

Look for the "Designed for Windows XP" logo on PCs featuring NVIDIA technology and preinstalled with Microsoft Windows XP.  Where to buy >>>

Graphics Core:
Memory Interface:
Triangles per Second:
Pixels Per Second:

15 Million
480 Million
Up to 128MB

Key Features

Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)
The GPU represents a significant breakthrough in realism. It literally transforms the way you interact with your PC. It accomplishes this by completely offloading all graphics acceleration from the CPU.
Transform and Lighting (T&L)
Transform and Lighting (T&L) are two very mathematically intense processes. Combined, T&L radically enhance photo-realism to create worlds that come alive on your screen. NVIDIA GPUs use separate T&L engines so that each can run at maximum efficiency.
Cube Environment Mapping
Cube environment mapping is a technique that enables developers to produce stunning real-time accurate reflections and specular lighting effects so you can immerse yourself in rich 3D scenes.