Nvidia targets VR with new flagship GeForce GPU

GameWorks VR dev kit will be released alongside the GTX 980 Ti

Nvidia's new flagship GeForce GPU will be specifically geared to the demands of virtual reality, another sign that the company sees VR as a rising force in gaming,

Indeed, Nvidia CEO Jen Hsun-Huang recently told the company's investors that VR will be, "the future of gaming," citing the support of key influencers like Epic's Tim Sweeney and Oculus' Jon Carmack as evidence.

Crucially, high-end graphics performance makes effective VR experiences easier to achieve, and Nvidia has recognised this with its new GTX 980 Ti GPU, which will support DirectX 12 and be powerful enough to drive 4K gaming.

Nvidia is also releasing a software development kit, GameWorks VR, while nodding in the general direction of the recommended specs released by Oculus VR last month, which included a GeForce GTX 970 or higher GPU.

"It's no easy feat to drive stereo gaming on a high-resolution 21601200 display at 90Hz, with near-zero tolerance for latency or stutter," the company said in a statement.

An alpha version of GameWorks VR is already in the hands of the leading companies in the field, including Epic, HTC, Oculus, Valve and CCP Games. Here's Nvidia's summary of the key features for VR developers:

  • NVIDIA Multi-Res Shading (MRS) - An innovative new rendering technique for VR. With NVIDIA MRS, each part of an image is rendered at a resolution that better matches the pixel density of the final displayed VR image. This technology uses the multi-projection architecture of the GeForce GTX 980 Ti GPU to render multiple viewports in a single pass.
  • VR SLI - Provides increased performance for VR apps. Multiple GPUs can be assigned a specific eye to dramatically accelerate stereo rendering. With the GPU affinity application programming interface, VR SLI allows scaling for PCs with two or more GPUs.
  • Context Priority - Enables control over GPU scheduling to support advanced VR features such as asynchronous time warp. This cuts latency and quickly adjusts images as gamers move their heads, without the need to re-render a new frame.
  • Direct Mode - Delivers plug-and-play compatibility for VR headsets. With Direct Mode, the NVIDIA graphics driver recognizes the headset as a VR display rather than a standard desktop monitor, providing a more seamless user experience.
  • Front Buffer Rendering - Lets the GPU to render directly to the front buffer to reduce latency.

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