Nvidia eyes mobile workstation market with Quadro 2 Go

What do you mean, there isn't a mobile workstation market? So, we'll make one...

Nvidia today introduced a mobile version of its workstation-class graphics processor the GeForce Quadra, the latest push in the company's war to win control of the mobile graphics market away from arch-rival ATI.

The Quadro 2 Go is essentially the equivalent of the GeForce 2 Go. The chip consumes less power than the regular desktop Quadro, in exchange for a cut in performance - the mobile part has half as many rendering pipelines, for example.

Nvidia's only published performance details show the Quadro 2 Go capable of rendering 286 million pixels per second - the Quadro, on the other hand, can pump out 540 million pixels per seond.

The company naturally makes a big play for the chip as the basis of a new generation of mobile workstations, the first of which - says the blurb - is Fujitsu-Siemens' Celsius Mobile H, coming sometime this Autumn, price as yet unknown.

Certainly price is an issue. Nvidia charges rather more for its Quadro family chips that their GeForce equivalents. Given than the Quadro parts offer features - shared back buffers, 3D window clipping, hardware anti-aliased lines, etc - that appeal more to graphics professionals than do the more games-oriented GeForces, you might consider that fair enough. Nvidia also offers specialised Quadro drivers for specific 3D apps.

However, the truth is the chips are essentially identical - features activated in the Quadro are switched off in the GeForce.

Certainly that's the case with the desktop parts, and it's hard to imagine the mobile chips being any different. Various Web sites (see link, below) show how resoldering a handful of resistors on the back of a GeForce board can turn it into a Quadro, and we reckon it will only be a matter of time before someone figures out how to do it on a notebook.

Why hasn't it happened already? Partly, we suspect, because there are so few GeForce 2 Go-based notebooks out there. Nvidia's Web site lists only two vendors with mobile PCs based on the part, Toshiba and Dell. Oh, and there's an Asus out there too. This from a chip that's over nine months old. It's hard to see the Quadro 2 Go faring any better, particularly given the price premium. ®

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Related Link

tnaw_xtennis’s Analyses of Computer Hardware: The GeForce to Quadro conversion page