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Nvidia announces GameWorksVR alongside new flagship GPU, the GeForce GTX 980 Ti

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Nvidia has announced GameWorksVR, a new software development kit for Virtual Reality (VR) headsets and game developers. According to Nvidia, GameWorksVR will “blaze the trail for VR” and “help VR headset and game developers build incredible experiences on GeForce GPUs”. Here is everything we know so far about GameWorksVR as well as details on Nvidia’s new flagship GPU, the GeForce GTX 980 Ti.

What is Nvidia GameWorks?

GameWorksVR is a software development kit made for Nvidia GPUs which game developers can use to push the limits of VR, creating incredible gaming experiences in the process. If you’ve been following Nvidia’s VR plans, you will recognizes some of the features listed below, as Nvidia notes that: “GameWorks VR combines features we announced back at GDC 2015 under the banner of VR Direct with new and enhanced capabilities.

The announcement is exciting for Nvidia GPU owners who want to take the VR gaming plunge, but what about AMD users? Could VR games created with the GameWorksVR cripple the performance of AMD GPU owners? So far nobody can have the answer, but if we take a look at the controversy surrounding The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Project CARS and Nvidia GameWorks (specifically HairWorks), the concern is not unfounded. AMD clains that “Nvidia’s GameWorks ‘completely sabotaged’ Witcher 3 performance” as reported by Ars Technica UK.

GameWorks VR includes:

  • "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. The result: substantial performance improvements for VR games.
  • 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." - Source

VR headset development company Oculus is excited about Nvidia GameWorksVR, especially the “Direct Mode" feature listed above. Oculus tweets: “Excited to see NVIDIA’s GameWorksVR announcement today! Direct mode will help enable plug-and-play compatibility between Rift and GeForce.” – Source

Oculus recommends that for an optimal gaming experience, you should have a GeForce 970 or AMD 290 equivalent for their VR headset. Therefore, it comes as little to no surprise that Nvidia announces their new GPU, called the GeForce GTX 980 Ti, just before the GameWorksVR announcement.

GeForce 980 Ti – Nvidia’s new flagship GPU

Nvidia’s new flagship GPU is the GeForce GTX 980 Ti, which they claim is up “to three times faster than the GTX 680 Ti”. The first benchmarks from DSO Gaming shows that the 980 Ti, priced at $649, is equal in performance to the GeForce Titan X, a card costing $999. In comparison to AMD, DSO Gaming states that “in some benchies, this new GPU from NVIDIA is as good as AMD’s top dual-card, the R295X2.

There is no doubt that the card is powerful and looking at the benchmarks, it could become a great price/performance option for consumers.

GeForce GTX 980 Ti and comparison specifications by DSO Gaming:    


Do you own an Nvidia or AMD GPU? Does the GeForce GTX 980 Ti look like a great price / performance purchase? How will GameWorksVR affect the performance of both Nvidia and AMD GPUs? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.

Sources: Twitter, Nvidia Blog, Arstechnica, DSO Gaming

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