This afternoon I was fortunate to be in attendance at Nvidia's GTX 480 launch (btw our review will be on the site fairly soon) in the main theatre here at PAX East. During the event I was live blogging using my @stevemcbarnes Twitter account, so you can read those tweets, or you can read the following.
Nvidia's presenter was none other than Drew Henry the General Manager of GeForce and Nvidia. He let us know that they decided to launch their new product here at PAX because of the support, passion and honest of the PAX attendees. He thanked us for being so patient with them and he says the reason that the development of their new cards took so long is because they wanted to take their time to do it right in order to make a product that would really impress us.
Drew flat out said that the GTX 480 is the fastest graphic card in the world and then he showed us a graph that compared the performance of the GTX 285 to the performance of the GTX 480. According to the graph the GTX 480 is close to or more than twice as fast as the GTX 285. The crowd was actually impressed which means that he did a pretty good job of presenting the information.
The theme for the new product is 'Crank that shit up!' (they spell it S#!T). They have it printed on shirts and on several banners hanging around the convention center. During the various 3D Vision Surround they often revisted this theme before actually cranking the shit up. The first game we are shown is Battlefield Bad Company 2 from EA. First they show us it on the center of three screens in 3D, then they 'crank that shit up' and display it on all three screens. Next was World of Warcraft. The scene they show is of a charater riding a flying dragon through the world. The frame rate looked really terrible, but it could be the fact that WoW is very old.
Jesse from EA takes the stage to show us a car from Need for Speed created with interative ray tracing. It is very shiny and looks very real. The Nvidia Design Garage features dozens of these ultra-realistic super cars which you can manipulate. Nvidia then mentioned a little 'game' that they developed called Supersonic Sled which is meant to display Physx, 3D, and tessellation. Basically it is a very controllable and interactive demo featuring a poor fellow on a very fast rocket sled. You can sabotage his sled before the rocket fires (by firing a chicken gun at it), you can place crates full of feathers on the track, you can dictate the quantity of fragments that the bridge can break into and you can even display the Physx vectors. One of the most impressive tweaks was when they increased the bridge particles from 10,000 to 1,000,000 and then they viewed them as the fell from below. The Design Garage and Supersonic Sled will be included free of charge with every GTX 480.
The final piece of eye candy that we received was a 3D Vision Surround demo of Metro 2033 from THQ. They chose to show of the beginning of the game where you venture outside into the ashy wasteland before you and 3 other men find themselves way too close to a stampede of mutated monsters. It is a very exciting scene indeed.
Nvidia then closed out the presentation by awarding GTX 480s to two random attendees (congratulations you guys!) and let us know that we would be able to find GTX 480s in stores in about two weeks. Then they threw some more 'Crank that shit up!' shirts at us. All in all, it was a pretty impressive and appropriate way to christen their new product offering.