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Nvidia unveils mobile GeForce 2 GO

Slower than a GeForce 2 MX, but eats fewer watts

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Nvidia has unveiled the chip it hopes will wrest control of the notebook graphics market from ATI, the GeForce 2 GO.

The new chip is essentially a modified version of Nvidia's low- to mid-range GeForce 2 MX part. The modifications address the prime consideration of any chip aimed at the mobile market: minimising power consumption.

The GeForce 2 Go's contribution is the ability to put unutilised parts of the chip in stand-by mode. Like the MX, the GO is fabbed at 0.18 micron. While the MX draws around 5W of power, the GO draws 2.9W flat out, dropping to 0.9W in stand-by mode.

ATI's Rage Mobility 128 draws about 2.3W, but then it's a less powerful chip.

GO contains a version of the GeForce 2 engine, but unlike the GeForce 2 GTS contains on two rendering pipelines, instead of four. That's the same spec. as the MX, but the GO works out slightly slower, rendering just over 17 million polygons per second to the MX's 20 million. It can pump out 286 million pixels per second.

GO also offers the MX's multi-screen TwinView display mechanism, allowing, say, a notebook to use its own display and drive an OHP screen or a regular CRT monitor. It also offers DVD decoding and playback. AGP 4x fast write mode is supported.

Nvidia said that GeForce 2 GO is already in volume production, but its interesting that the first design win, with Toshiba, won't ship until next Spring. However, it said other companies will announce GO support soon, some of whom may ship sooner than Toshiba, but not before the end of the year.

That gives ATI time to get going on its own Radeon-based mobile chip to replace the aging Rage Mobility 128. ATI controls some 57 per cent of the mobile graphics market, so Nvidia has some catching up to do. Then again, it has managed to overtake the market leader in the desktop space, so it's feasible that it can do the same in the notebook market. ®

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