RSX and the PlayStation 3
For those that don't know, if you've been living under a rock for the last few months, the graphics processor in the PlayStation 3 is NVIDIA-designed and is called RSX. How does it compare next to the 7800?
"The two products share the same heritage, the same technology. But RSX is faster," said Kirk.
But for how much longer, we wonder? With the PlayStation 3 not due until March 2006, won't the next generation of PC graphics be here by then? "At the time consoles are announced, they are so far beyond what people are used to, it's unimaginable," David comments. "At the time they're shipped, there's a narrower window until the next PC architecture." In other words, RSX looks incredible now, but when it launches, there'll be a smaller time until PC looks better.
"However, what consoles have is a huge price advantage." And 'huge' is the appropriate word: pricing is still to be announed by Sony, but Playstation 3 could debut at £399 - the price of a 7800GTX board, yet offering so much more.
Whilst their relationship with Microsoft has become publicly tenuous, what about NVIDIA's relationship with their new console partner?
"So far our relationship with Sony has been great. We have a much closer relationship and share a much broader vision for the future of computing and graphics.
"When we came together a few years ago, we found a vision and experience that we shared. It sounds cliched, but Japanese companies are often trying to create a vision and make the technology follow that, not the other way round. We believed in that."
"Our commonality with Sony has led to a number of product areas that go beyond PlayStation 3. The business deal is structured so that both companies benefit. It's a really good realtionship."
So I put it to David that there might be more to come from Sony and NVIDIA: "The deal goes beyond PS3. The future is looking good."
What does this mean exactly? Until we get some concrete details, it could in theory translate to NVIDIA-powered graphics in just about any suitable device that Sony make: Sony VAIO desktop and notebook computers would be an obvious opportunity; another distinct possibility is NVIDIA GoForce
wireless media processors (WMP) inside future SonyEricsson mobile phones.
A rank outsider would be NVIDIA Inside for a future replacement for the PSP, but we should stress that this is all pure speculation. What we do know is that NVIDIA design kick-ass graphics chips and Sony make some of the most desirable consumer electronics available. Put those two together and you have quite a potent combination - we look forward to seeing what they come up with.