On November 8, 2006, Nvidia officially launched its first unified shader architecture and first DirectX 10-compatible GPU, the G80. The new chip debuted in two new cards, the $599 GeForce 8800 GTX and the $449 GeForce 8800 GTS. Today, the 8800 GTX’s specs seem modest, even low-end, with 128 shader cores, 32 texture mapping units, and 24 Render Outputs (ROPs), backed by 768MB of RAM. But back in 2006, the G80 was a titan. It swept both Nvidia’s previous GTX 7xx generation and ATI’s Radeon X19xx series completely off the…

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