ForceWare 180-series is Nvidia’s next Big Bang
Among other features like DisplayPort support, OpenGL 3.0, GPU transcoding, Multi-monitor support for SLI, Nvidia is also preparing for optimizations that will help Nvidia be more competitive to the Radeon 4800 series. As far as we are aware of the performance optimizations are mainly geared towards the GTX 200 series with the 9800 series getting a much needed boost as well.
However one of the major features touted in the release is the support of PhysX processing on dedicated GPU. This will enable a Geforce 8 or 9 series card act as a Physics Processing Unit (PPU). This is remarkably similar to the ATI concept (before the merger) demoed at Computex 2006. ATI’s demonstration used a X1600 as a dedicated PPU along with the X1900 for graphics processing. The performance improvements shown were significant. However, as Physics processing on GPU failed to take off and companies like AEGIA didnt do well selling their dedicated PPU, the concept never came to fruition. Nvidia picked up AEGIA in February this year and will be bringing this concept back to life very shortly.