Nvidia launches two new Kepler-based graphics chips

When Nvidia introduces a new graphics chip architecture like Kepler, it can launch a bunch of chips based on it. It does so by varying the amount of memory, pipelines, subprocessors, and pricing. So it’s no surprise that the world’s biggest stand-alone graphics chip maker is launching two new graphics processing units (GPUs) based on Kepler.

The GeForce GTX 660 is a midrange chip targeted at $229 graphics cards, while the low-end GeForce GTX 650 is targeted at $109 cards. At those price points, Santa Clara, Calif.-based Nvidia is quadrupling the performance compared to its prior offerings. For gamers, this means that games will look better on hardware that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

The cards are aimed at games that exploit Microsoft’s DirectX 11 graphics standard, including titles like Call of Duty: Black Ops, Assassin’s Creed III, and World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria. The GTX 660 is four times faster than the previous GeForce 9800 GT chip it replaces. The GTX 650 is eight times faster than the 9500 GTii.

The GTX 660 and GTX 650 are available from graphics card makers ASL, ASUS, Colorful, ECS, EVGA, Gainward, Galaxy, Gigabyte, Innovision 3D, Jetway, Leadtek, MSI, Palit, Point of View, PNY, Sparkle, and Zotac. Kenilworth, N.J.-based Maingear is announcing today that it will have a whole line of desktops that take advantage of the two chips, which are in the “sweet spot” for gamers in terms of performance, power efficiency, and affordability. That kind of broad industry support means that Kepler will likely make it into the mainstream PC in a big way.

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