by Kevin Krewell

Windows 7 launched today and it is sure to have a big impact on NVIDIA.

Microsoft’s new OS puts the GPU firmly in the spotlight because it marks a dramatic shift in the way the Windows operating system can take full advantage of the GPU, using it for both graphics and computing.

We consider Windows 7 DirectCompute a tremendous opportunity to broaden the reach of GPU computing.  DirectCompute will take GPU computing from a niche to the mainstream by making this technology available to the millions of users who will be adopting the Windows 7 operating system.

Windows 7 also brings with it a new PC graphics API – DirectX 11, which NVIDIA is very excited about.  It is the next great iteration of DirectX for PC gaming and will be the API of choice for some of the top gaming titles starting in 2010. NVIDIA’s announced DirectX 11 support in the Fermi architecture to bring these new gaming titles to life.

There’s been some noise implying that we aren’t 100% behind the industry standards that Windows 7 introduces – DirectCompute and DirectX 11. But that’s clearly untrue.  We are supporting all standard APIs and have demonstrated our support for DirectCompute by being the first to release support for DirectCompute in the GPUs we ship today.

There’s also been confusion about NVIDIA CUDA. Some are saying it competes with DirectCompute, and that’s also untrue. CUDA is the name of NVIDIA’s parallel computing hardware architecture.   Programs written using DirectCompute run on the NVIDIA CUDA architecture.   We support whatever language developers choose to enable these new innovations.

We not only support open standards like DirectCompute and DirectX 11, but we also support standards that allow NVIDIA to offer new innovations well in advance of industry standards, such as CUDA C and PhysX. We don’t believe it’s in our customer’s best interests for us to delay innovation. Our goal is clear: We are committed to leading the industry in amazing new directions and creating value for our customers.

NVIDIA has worked very closely with Microsoft on Windows 7 to streamline its own internal development processes. As a result, NVIDIA had stable, full performance, fully featured, WHQL-certified drivers five months before the launch of Windows 7. The transition to Windows 7 has been simplified for the entire industry because the Windows 7 driver model is an evolution of the Vista driver model. In contrast, when Vista first launched, the driver model was completely new.

We also hope Windows 7 gives the PC industry a much needed shot in the arm.  Industry analysts are hopeful that Windows 7 will increase PC spending. Research firm IDC predicts that around 177 million copies of the operating system will be in place by the end of 2010, and estimates that products and services surrounding Windows 7 will generate $320 billion.

We’re glad that it’s finally here and we hope you enjoy it as much as we will.