GeForce Go 6800 Features
The GeForce Go 6800 is based on the exact same architecture that made the GeForce 6800 so successful. You’ve got the same shader model 3.0 capabilities that are found in GeForce 6800, with 64-bit texture filtering and blending, UltraShadow II, NVIDIA’s video processor, and a 256-bit memory interface that supports the latest memory types.
The chief concession that has been made in GeForce Go 6800 is the number of pixel pipelines, the Go 6800 sports 12 pipes versus the 16 pipelines found in the desktop GeForce 6800 GT and Ultra. NVIDIA also had to reduce the core clock frequency to 300MHz, with 256MB of GDDR3 memory also running at 300MHz (600MHz effective). In comparison, the GeForce 6800 GT is clocked at 350MHz core/500MHz memory, while the vanilla GeForce 6800 operates at 325MHz core/350MHz memory.
The GeForce Go 6800 also supports DDR1 and DDR2 memory types, although we’ve been told that most manufacturers will probably go with GDDR3. In addition, latter Go 6800 models will be clocked higher, NVIDIA is shooting for clock speeds as high as 450MHz on the core and 600MHz memory (1.2GHz effective), but systems based on these faster chips won’t hit retail until the beginning of next year.
NVIDIA will need to get these supercharged Go 6800 chips out as soon as possible, as ATI intends to ship their competitor to Go 6800, codenamed M28 with similar clock speeds. Over the weekend we were given the opportunity to test a 12-pipe prototype M28 laptop manufactured by Clevo (the same ODM as the Prostar system we received from NVIDIA) that was clocked at 400MHz core/400MHz memory, future variants of M28 will eventually hit 450MHz.
ATI’s M28 is essentially the 12-pipe, PCI Express version of today’s MOBILITY RADEON 9800, giving end user’s ATI’s 2.0b pixel shaders, and 3Dc. ATI has also developed a 16-pipe version of M28, but this product will likely never see the light of day. ATI plans to launch M28 just in time for the holiday shopping season, so we’ll have a dedicated performance preview of this part online in the coming weeks.
Impressions of the ProStar notebook
Before we get started with the Go 6800 benchmarks, we wanted to include a few thoughts on the ProStar 9095 notebook we tested. Like the ASUS L5000GA we reviewed earlier this year, the ProStar 9095 featured a brilliant display. In this case, a 17” wide angle IPS TFT LCD.
IPS displays like the L5000GA and ProStar 9095 can be viewed at extreme angles without the color and brightness drop off that you’d see in traditional TN+film displays that are used in most notebooks. This makes them perfect for watching DVDs or gaming. The downside to IPS displays is that they require a more powerful backlight, which tends to soak up more power. Like the ASUS L5000GA, battery life of the ProStar 9095 was nothing to write home about, you’ve only got a little over an hour’s worth of juice before the battery needs to be charged. Frankly, the ProStar 9095 is so big and heavy (over 10 pounds) that we couldn’t imagine anyone using this laptop on the go; the system is larger than Dell’s Inspiron XPS, a notebook that is known for being pretty portly. Do not buy this system thinking you’re the one exception that’s hardcore enough to put up with the size of this system’s chassis running on your lap, trust us, you won’t. This system is meant to run in one area only: safely on your desk or on a table.
Of course, all this is forgotten once you get behind the 9095’s 17” display and boot her up. Our test sytem was equipped with a Pentium 4 3GHz CPU, 1GB of RAM, and of course, the speedy 256MB GeForce Go 6800 GPU. ProStar provides a DVI output on the back of the 9095 for outputting to an external display and front panel Audio DJ controls (including a snazzy LED) for listening to music while the laptop is either on or off.
Base prices start at $2,630 for the ProStar 9095 with 512MB RAM and a 60GB 5400RPM hard drive, but we recommend you move up to the 1GB configuration with a 7200 RPM hard drive (a $15 option) and the Pentium 4 3.2GHz, which adds another $40 to the price tag. This puts you in at under $3,000 for a laptop that would kill most desktop gaming PCs.