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NVIDIA Plays Well with EA

In a partnership that is expected to advance the way games look, Silicon Valley-based Electronic Arts and NVIDIA inked a deal to produce and market next-generation 3D content.

The deal to be bred under the EA GAMES and EA SPORTS brands includes franchises such as Madden Football, Command & Conquer, James Bond 007, Tiger Woods PGA TOUR Golf and Battlefield 1942.

As previously reported, the Redwood City, Calif.-based video game publisher said it will standardize and test its games based on the Santa Clara-based graphics chip maker's hics processors (GPU) for desktop and notebook PCs, including the new NVIDIA GeForce FX Go line.

The company, best known for powering Microsoft's Xbox, said it is using the "cinematic" FX-series chips to eventually phase out its current GeForce 4 Ti 4200 and 4600 products.

The GeForce FX 5200 is designed for entry-level systems. Cards featuring the 5200 chip are expected to retail from about $99 to $129. The 5600-based products, made more for the mid-level systems, should retail between $149 and $199. Nvidia said it is planning a version of the 5600 with 256 megabytes of memory. The company released its high-end GeForce FX 5800 in November 2002. System cards based on that chip currently go for $399.

The company also recently released updated versions of its Quadro FX the company's professional workstation graphics processor. The GPU have 128-bit floating-point capabilities with an eight pipeline, programmable graphics engine. NVIDIA also highlighted its Cg high level shading language (HLSL), which the company calls "C for graphics."

To increase consumer awareness and signify the best way to play EA games, retail boxes of current and future EA PC titles will carry the "NVIDIA: The Way It's Meant to Be Played" logo, a marketing program created by NVIDIA designed to alert consumers to games created for play on NVIDIA hardware.

"Our FX family of GPUs were designed to usher in an era of cinematic computing, and we couldn't be more thrilled that EA has signed on to help us meet our goal," NVIDIA executive vice president of marketing Dan Vivoli said in a statement.