The GeForce 256 is the original release in Nvidia's "GeForce" product-line. Announced on August 31, 1999 and released on October 11, 1999, the GeForce 256 improves on its predecessor (RIVA TNT2) by increasing the number of fixed pixel pipelines, offloading host geometry calculations to a hardware transform and lighting (T&L) engine, and adding hardware motion-compensation for MPEG-2 video. It offered a notably large leap in 3D PC gaming performance and was the first fully Direct3D 7-compliant 3D accelerator.
The chip was manufactured by TSMC using its 220 nm CMOS process. There are two versions of the GeForce 256, the SDR version released in October 1999 and the DDR version released in late December 1999, each with a different type of SDRAM memory. The SDR version uses SDR SDRAM memory from Samsung Electronics, while the later DDR version uses DDR SDRAM memory from Hyundai Electronics (now SK Hynix).