Nvidia GTX 1080 GPU
Nvidia has unveiled its first consumer graphics card based on their new Pascal architecture.Nvidia/Flickr

After months of speculation and a reported "several billion dollars" spent on research and development, Nvidia has finally announced its first consumer graphics card based on its new Pascal architecture. Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang unveiled the GTX 1080 at a livestreamed event in Austin, Texas on 6 May, calling it "the largest chip processor endeavour in the history of humanity".

Positioned as every gamer's dream card, Huang says the product is faster than its current $1000 flagship product, Titan X, and three times as power efficient.

"It's insane. The 1080 is insane, It's almost irresponsible amounts of performance," Huang said. "This is the future of graphics, available today. 1080 is the new king."

To show off the card's capabilities, Huang invited the founder of Epic Games, Tim Sweeney, on stage to demonstrate Epic's upcoming multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game Paragon running in real time. The GPU's stats showed the card running at 2.1 GHz and the memory running at 5.5 GHz – faster than any GPU today – while running at 67 degrees Celsius under load. The 1080 relies on air cooling.

It also features simultaneous multi-projection capability which makes games look less distorted and "renders natively to the unique dimensions of VR displays instead of traditional 2D monitors". The 1080 is also twice as fast as the Titan X when using the multi-projection feature to render VR, Huang said.

The company also revealed a slightly slower card, the GTX 1070, which is still faster than the Titan X. The 1070 pumps out 6.5 teraflops and has 8GB of RAM while the 1080 churns out 9 teraflops and also has 8GB of RAM.

Nvidia's announcement comes a month after the company unveiled the P100, its first Pascal-based GPU targeted towards the AI industry. The company's new Pascal architecture is built with a new 16nm FinFET manufacturing process that allows for smaller, faster and cheaper chips than previous generators.

The GTX 1080 will be available for $599 starting 27 May. You can also grab a special Nvidia-designed "founders edition" for $699. The GTX 1070 is slated for release on 10 June for $379 with a founders edition for $499.

The company also unveiled Ansel, a powerful new virtual camera for artistic in-game photography, and its VR Works suite of APIs to make VR sound and feel more realistic.