On a sunny autumn day in October I was invited by nVidia to visit its NVExperience 2003 at a location in London. Things were kept pretty much under wraps and I had no real idea what nVidia would be showing off, but I went along with high hopes.
The purpose of the NVExperience was to highlight all the ways that nVidia’s product can be used. The first item on show was a Windows Media Center Edition PC based on an nForce2 motherboard, a Geforce FX graphics card and a special TV tuner and MPEG-2 encoder card that nVidia offers to system integrators as an MCE solution. This bundle will not be available as a retail product however, which is a bit of a shame. However it shows that nVidia is trying to become a PC solution provider rather than just a graphics chip manufacturer.
Next up nVidia demonstrated the video input and TV output capabilities of the Geforce FX range as well as showing off some of the new ForceWare features that are included in the new Detonator drivers. Some of the software shown will be a separate download and not included in the Detonator driver, but this will include a new version of the DVD playback software as well as the capability to play other video formats. It also adds better support for video input so you could use your PC as a PVR style device, although you would have to do this manually.
There was also a lot of talk about “The way it is meant to be played” which is nVidia’s slogan for games that will run on its hardware. The advantage of this is that if you find the logo on a game you intend to purchase, then nVidia guarantees that it will work with its hardware.
Next up was a more in-depth look at the new ForceWare features, which look fantastic. nVidia has added many of the features that Unix and Linux users are accustomed to, such as virtual desktops and individual looks for each of these. The dual monitor capabilities have also been improved and one of the really neat features is a grid system that allows you to lock applications to a certain part of the display. This can be really handy if you’re using multiple applications and want them to stay at a specific part of the screen.
There was of course also a sneak peak of the new NV38 (check back soon for a full review) and the NV36 running some enhanced versions of the usual nVidia demos.
All in all it was an interesting event that gave me a better look in to what nVidia is trying to accomplish. Hopefully it won’t be too long now until the new drivers and the ForceWare applications are available to download from nVidia’s website