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GeForce FX Go Features
GeForce FX Go Variants
Feature for feature, the GeForce FX Go5600 and Go5200 match their desktop counterpart. This time around the NV31 and NV34 core were designed to meet the needs of the mobile market, so NVIDIA incorporated features like the TV encoder from the get go. In fact, both of these parts utilize NVIDIA’s G2 footprint, making them completely pin compatible with GeForce4 440/448 Go. All an OEM like Dell or IBM has to do is drop either of these GeForce FX Go chips in their existing designs, decreasing time to market considerably.
Since they’re based on the same cores as their desktop cousins, the same basic design features also hold true for the mobile parts. In the case of GeForce FX Go5600 it’s built on TSMC’s 0.13-micron manufacturing process and contains 80 million transistors. It supports the same 2.0+ pixel and vertex shaders as NVIDIA’s other DirectX 9 graphics accelerators as well as the 128-bit color and floating point pipeline. The key difference between the two Go chips lies in clock speeds as well as the loss of color and z-compression in the GeForce FX Go5200 (which is also built on a 0.15-micron process), just like the desktop part.
In comparison to the desktop chip, the GeForce FX Go5200 runs a little bit lower on the core and memory frequencies, while the desktop variant of the GeForce FX 5200 tops out at 325/650MHz, GeForce FX Go5200 operates at up to 300/600MHz. GeForce FX Go5600 runs at the same 350/700MHz combination as its desktop equivalent, likely due to its smaller 0.13-micron manufacturing process.
Power and Video
As mobile parts, these chips also support NVIDIA’s PowerMizer feature, which can not only adjust the clock frequencies of the chip depending on workload, but can also turn off parts of the chip that aren’t being used (in addition to disabling individual pipelines). As a result, these GeForce FX Go parts consume much less power than their desktop equivalent.
On the video side, one of the biggest improvements is the introduction of a new MPEG2 decoding engine. This offloads the burden of MPEG2 decoding from the host CPU during DVD playback, ensuring longer battery life. NVIDIA has also integrated adaptive de-interlacing, this goes one step beyond the traditional bob and weave technique that is used (which tends to blur text, or introduce feathered, jagged images) by analyzing each scene on a per pixel level essentially optimizing the scene for the particular video you’re watching. The GeForce FX Go series can also output to an HDTV.
It’s pretty remarkable to see desktop graphics technology make their way to the mobile market so quickly. DirectX 9 was only released late last year and here we are with an entire family of DX9 parts on both the desktop and now laptop. Notebooks featuring GeForce FX Go5200 graphics should start below $1,000, making them perfect for the consumer on a budget. NVIDIA says its OEM partners will have GeForce FX Go5600 products at price points as low as $1,000-$1,400 but we’ll have to wait and see how this plays out next month.
One thing is for sure, we’re very pleased to see this level of power in a notebook, now we just need the content to push these parts to their limits. NVIDIA has inked an exclusive deal with EA, from now on EA will provide full support for mobile users with NVIDIA graphics inside. NVIDIA also has exclusive distribution rights to EA’s current and upcoming titles (including 007 Nightfire), which means that we’ll finally see EA games bundled not only with notebooks, but from video card manufacturers such as ASUS, Gainward, and MSI.
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