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Raising the Performance Bar for Notebooks

Raising the Performance Bar for Notebooks

With NVIDIA's rising graphics portfolio, products with favorable characteristics, current technological leadership and most importantly being able to supply what the market requires, it is no surprise that Jon Peddie Research (JPR) reported of NVIDIA's steady 28.5% market share for the overall graphics market while ATI's market share kept declining for at least two quarters (now at 21.9% while the rest belong to Intel). While we are all well aware that ATI's inability meet the market needs in both technology/performance and steady supply of its parts are vital reasons for its current state on the desktop side, surprisingly, even the mobile segment has been equally affected. Further findings from JPR have revealed that NVIDIA now has just over 60% of the total mobile discrete graphics market as of Q1 2007. And it looks like this figure will further sway in favor of NVIDIA with the GeForce 8 graphics engine making its way to notebooks in the following weeks.

Today, NVIDIA officially announces the availability of the GeForce 8 Mobile GPUs for a wide a variety of notebooks. Based on the same G84 and G86 cores of the recently launched GeForce 8600/8500 and GeForce 8400/8300 series for the desktop markets, NVIDIA launches a slew of GeForce 8M series GPUs for the notebook market. Silicon-wise, these mobile parts are actually the better yields of the current G84 and G86 dies to ensure that they can operate at lower voltages and TDP (thermal design power) requirements where such minute thermal matters are of a great concern in the mobile computing department. Notebooks built with the GeForce 8M stand to gain all of the features of the GeForce 8 architecture that we've come to know such as DirectX 10 compliance and even the second generation VP2 video processor found on the G84/G86 cores.

NVIDIA GeForce 8M Series Compared
Model GeForce 8600M GT GeForce 8600M GS GeForce 8400M GT GeForce 8400M GS GeForce 8400M G
Notbook Segment Performance Performance Mainstream Mainstream Mainstream
Core Code G84 G84 G86 G86 G86
Manufacturing Process (microns) 0.08 0.08 0.08 0.08 0.08
Core Clock 475MHz 600MHz 450MHz 400MHz 400MHz
Vertex Shaders 32 Stream Processors (operating at 950MHz) 16 Stream Processors (operating at 1200MHz) 16 Stream Processors (operating at 900MHz) 16 Stream Processors (operating at 800MHz) 8 Stream Processors (operating at 800MHz)
Rendering (Pixel) Pipelines
Pixel Shader Processors
Memory Clock 1400MHz DDR 1400MHz DDR 1200MHz DDR 1200MHz DDR 1200MHz DDR
DDR Memory Bus 128-bit 128-bit 128-bit 64-bit 64-bit
Maximum Memory Size 512MB 512MB 512MB 256MB 256MB
Memory Bandwidth 22.4GB/s 22.4GB/s 19.2GB/s 9.6GB/s 9.6GB/s
PureVideo HD Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Video Processor Engine VP2 VP2 VP2 VP2 VP1
PowerMizer version 7.0 7.0 7.0 7.0 7.0
Possible Form Factor MXM Type II MXM Type II MXM Type I / II MXM Type I / integrated onboard MXM Type I / integrated onboard

If you've not noticed yet, these new mobile GPUs no longer have the "Go" in their naming convention and instead replaced with "M" to denote the mobile segment. Naming conventions aside, those looking forward to own a GeForce 8M based notebook can at least expect 50% higher gaming performance than the previous GeForce Go 7 series. What's worth noting about this performance boost is that the GeForce 8M series stays within the same TDP specs of the previous generation. Sum that up with new and improved VP2 video processor engine (excluding the GeForce 8400M G) that we've highlighted in our GeForce 8600 GTS article , and you can see that the new mobile GPU offers far greater performance per watt efficiency in gaming and video acceleration over its predecessors. We haven't had a chance to lay our hands on a notebook with this new GPU to conduct proper testing, but you can be sure we'll scrutinize one in the near future. For now, NVIDIA has this performance graph to share and it pretty much speaks for itself:-