Last April, NVIDIA brought the world’s first shader model 3.0 DirectX 9 graphics accelerator to the desktop PC with the launch of the GeForce 6800 family. Comprising of the high-end GeForce 6800 Ultra/6800 GT and more mainstream GeForce 6800 and 6800 LE, the GeForce 6800 series has earned critical acclaim from both the media and end users alike due to its excellent performance and best-in-class feature set.
Now, roughly six months later, NVIDIA is essentially transporting this same award-winning GPU from the desktop PC to the notebook, giving gamers on the go more power than ever before. Sounds like a pretty solid plan for success doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, getting this concept from a piece of paper into a working product that you can ship to customers isn’t so easy. Power is obviously the biggest issue graphics manufacturers like NVIDIA must overcome. If the chip consumes too much juice, battery life takes a nosedive and the system is nothing more than an over glorified desktop PC. Heat is another major concern that must be overcome. The more powerful your graphics core is, the more heat it tends to generate. As a result, a larger cooler must be used to keep heat at bay.
This isn’t a huge issue in a fully-fledged ATX desktop PC, where you often have three or more empty PCI slots worth of dead space available, but in a laptop chassis you can’t have three of four inch thick heatsinks sitting on top of the graphics core, there simply isn’t enough space.
Starting with GeForce Go 6800, NVIDIA has taken steps to ensure that the lag time between desktop and mobile releases is reduced. Part of this was the MXM initiative launched earlier this summer. If you recall, MXM is NVIDIA’s universal PCI Express interface that has been designed to make life easier for NVIDIA and its partners by rallying around a standard specification that applies to all segments of the mobile market, including the latest high-end desknote portable systems. NVIDIA’s mobile team also worked closely with NV40’s engineers while the GeForce 6800 was still in development. The end result is that NVIDIA now has GeForce Go 6800 shipping to its notebook partners today
, only seven months after GeForce 6800 Ultra was launched on the desktop. We recently had the opportunity to take a GeForce Go 6800-based notebook from ProStar, the 9095, out for a spin and came away impressed by the experience.