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Nvidia And CES 2021: New GPUs, Laptops Target Developers, Gamers Pushing The Edge

The company used the week of CES 2021 to introduce new GPU hardware and associated software technologies, including its latest GPU, the GeForce RTX 3060, to both desktop and laptop users looking for extreme performance for video and animation creators or gamers looking for a little extra fun.

GPU pioneer Nvidia Tuesday unveiled its new GeForce RTX 3060 GPU targeting high-end gaming and video streaming with double the raster performance and ten times the ray-tracing performance of its prior GTX 1060 GPU.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based graphics hardware and software developer also unveiled the GeForce RTX 30-series laptop GPUs aimed at powering laptop PCs target high-performance development and gaming users.

The new products, introduced during the week of the CES 2021 virtual conference, come on the heels of a year when more PC users than ever before were forced to stay at home because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, leading to a boom in the gaming and video streaming business, said Jeff Fisher, senior vice president for Nvidia GeForce.

[Related: 4 Bold Statements From Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang On The Future Of Computing]

Fisher, speaking via an on-demand video presentation, called 2020 an extremely tough year with no end of challenges.

“Millions of people turned into gaming--to play, create, and connect with one another,” Fisher said.

As a result, he said, the Steam streaming services saw the number of concurrent users increase by 40 percent in 2020 over 2019, and double the figure of 2018.The years 2020 also so the average monthly active users on the Discord streaming service nearly triple in 2020 vs. 2018 to 140 million monthly average users, YouTube users doubling the number of hours of gaming watched to about 100 billion hours vs. 2018, and the global audience for esports rise to 495 million compared to 395 million viewers in 2018.

Two years after Nvidia unveiled its GeForce RTX platform with real-time ray-tracing and A.I.-based DLSS (deep learning super sampling), Nvidia last fall introduced its second-generation RTX, Nvidia on Tuesday unveiled the GeForce RTX 30 series, which added its Ampere architecture which features dedicated RT cores to accelerate ray tracing, Tensor cores to accelerate DLSS, and new stream multiprocessors to double the performance of the prior generation, Fisher said.

New from Nvidia is the GeForce RTX 3060, which Fisher said brings the power of the company’s second-generation Ampere RTX architecture, to the gaming community, and is the follow-on to the GTX 1060, the company’s most popular GPU, which provided 60-frames-per-second performance at 1080p.

“[The GeForce RTX 3060 features] twice the raster performance of the 1060, and ten times the ray tracing performance,” he said. “The RTX 3060 powers the latest games with RTX on at 60 frames per second.”

The RTX 3060 is a powerful GPU, with 13 shader teraflops, 25 RT teraflops for ray tracing, and 101 Tensor teraflops to power DLSS, Fisher said. The new GPU also has 12 GBs of G6 memory, and a starting list price of $329, he said. It is slated to be released late next month.

For laptop PCs, which are increasingly the PC of choice for video creators, gamers, and those working or studying from home, Nvidia is working with PC OEMs to introduce a new generation of Ampere-powered laptops with second-generation RTX and third-generation Max-Q technologies, Fisher said.

Max-Q is Nvidia’s system-wide approach to delivering high performance in thin, lightweight laptop PCs. Max-Q uses A.I. to automatically optimize every aspect of the laptop, chip, software, motherboard design, power delivery, and thermals for power and performance, he said.

“Nowhere does efficiency matter more than in the extremely power-constrained environment of a modern gaming laptop,” he said.

The company also introduced Dynamic Boost 2.0, which Fisher said that, for the first time, uses A.I. to shift power between the CPU, GPU, and GPU memory.

“Determining where it is needed most, the A.I. networks in Dynamic Boost 2.0 manage power on a per-frame basis, he said. “So your laptop is constantly optimizing for maximum performance. The result is a larger performance boost than ever before.”

Also new is Whisper Mode 2.0, which uses A.I. to automatically control the various sound-producing components based on a user’s setting to create the right balance between performance and noise, Fisher said.

Nvidia also introduced Resizable BAR, a technology that lets a game access the entire GPU memory at once to constantly update the GPU memory for textures, shades, and geometry to maximize performance, he said.

“Max-Q has reinvented the gaming laptop,” he said. “Four years ago, the fastest laptops in the world were powered by a GTX 1080, averaged 40mm thick, and weighed over nine pounds. After four years of innovation, Max-Q gen-3 laptops are half the size, half the weight, and deliver up to 10 times the performance.”

The new technologies are slated to be available starting January 26 with over 70 laptops from Nvidia’s technology partners, which Fisher said makes this Nvidia’s launch ever.

“These are the world’s fastest laptops that give gamers and creators a huge variety to pick the right device for their needs,” he said.

To meet the needs of gamers and video developers, Nvidia introduced a new line of GeForce RTX 3060-based laptops. The new laptops are list-priced starting at $999, and provide 90 frames-per-second performance at 1080p, Fisher said.

Also new is the GeForce RTX 3070 laptop, which features 90 frames-per-second at 1440p video, with list prices starting at $1,299, as well as the GeForce RTX 3080 laptop with up to 16 GBs of G6 memory, he said.

“It is the world’s fastest laptop for gamers and creators,” he said. “It delivers 100 frames per second with RTX on and starts at $1,999.”

For photograph, video, and 3D animation developers, the company offers the Nvidia Studio accelerated platform for creators to speed up ray tracing in A.I. in over 50 applications including Adobe Photoshop, DaVinci Resolve, and Blender, Fisher said.

Combined with the new Nvidia Ampere technology, Nvidia has increased the performance even higher, he said.

“Video editors can work with 8K raw footage, use A.I. to simplify workflows, and reduce encode times by up to 75 percent,” he said. “Artists have up to 16 GBs of graphics memory to work with huge assets across multiple apps at the same time.”

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