Today we find the GPU Flashback Archive delving into the not so distant past to focus on the NVIDIA 900 series of graphics cards, the first to use NVIDIA’s new Maxwell architecture which had already seen the light day in mobile GPU solutions, an indication of the direction that the company were taking at the time. Let’s take a look at the cards that were launched as part of the 900 Series, the improvements and changes that Maxwell brought and some of the more memorable scores that have been posted on HWBOT.
The first question one may well have regarding the NVIDIA 900 series is simple - what happened to the 800 series? To answer the question fully, you must first look at the direction that NVIDIA was moving at the time. A movement to expand its product offerings in order to compete in the quickly expanding mobile SoC market. The suddenly ubiquity of Android-based smartphones around the globe was fuelled in part by the development of mobile SoCs from Qualcomm, Samsung, Mediatek, Marvell, Allwinner and others. The traditional feature phone was quickly being replaced by smartphones that now required improved multi-core CPU performance, HD display support and, importantly from NVIDIA’s perspective, decent enough graphics processing to actually play 3D games. Intel and NVIDIA were two companies with plenty of R&D and marketing budget who sought to enter a new market to help bolster revenues during an inevitable slow down of desktop PC sales, a traditional cash cow for both.