nVidia unsurprisingly has a graphics card ready to challenge the latest from AMD - the - neatly slotting in under the GeForce GTX 285 and above the GeForce GTX 260. The logically named GeForce GTX 275 is intended to sit as nVidia's new price/performance champion with the GTX 285 and GTX 295 still sitting as the fastest single-GPU card and fastest graphics card available respectively.
As a result, the specs of the GTX 275 aren't particularly dissimilar to the GTX 285, as you can see:
nVidia reckons the GTX 275 should be notably faster than the ATI Radeon 4890; over 30 per in such games as Company of Heroes and Mirror's Edge. Although admittedly both of those titles are part of nVidia's 'The Way It's Meant To Be Played' scheme so it's hardly surprising they run well on nVidia hardware.
Having a quick look around, the GTX 275 is up for pre-order starting at £200-odd, with pre-overclocked cards sitting closer to £250. That's just about dead-on in line with the ATI Radeon 4890, so if the performance claims are accurate - which we intend to find out just as soon as one arrives with us - nVidia could have a winner on its hands.
Alongside the GTX 275, nVidia is also launching its latest beta drivers - release 185. As well as bringing performance boosts over R182 to the GeForce 9-series, 100-series and 200-series, R185 also adds an option called Ambient Occlusion to the nVidia Control Panel.
Ambient occlusion should make rendered scenes appear more realistic by better simulating lighting, adding soft shadows where they would be in the real world but aren't in the game. The method nVidia uses means that not all games will benefit and there's a 40 per cent or so performance hit for turning on AO, so it's best left for titles such as where the current crop of GPUs are churning out silly frame rates anyway. There are a few games, such as Crysis and empire: Total War offer ambient occlusion so turning on nVidia's AO as well is likely to cause some serious graphics slow-downs in those cases.
Those few reservations aside, there's no denying the effect looks pretty snazzy when it does work - as evidenced in World in Conflict (above) and Mirror's Edge.