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Nvidia re-announces hidden mobile power tech

ATI unveils PowerPlay, then out comes the PowerMizer release two days later...

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ATI has Nvidia seriously rattled, it seems. Days after ATI launched its PowerPlay technology, as featured in its Mobility Radeon 7500 part, along comes Nvidia to announce a power-saving technology of its own - that it's already shipping.

Now, Nvidia is either spectacularly dumb or spectacularly clever. Holding details of its PowerMizer power-conservation technology in reserve, ready to whip out should ATI try and out-gun it seems a smart strategic move. But then couldn't the company get more marketing capital out of PowerMizer by talking about it when it launched the chips that use it?

Graphics processors that have PowerMizer on board include the GeForce 2 Go and Quadro 2 Go.

But hang on just a moment - maybe they don't. Says Nvidia's press release: "PowerMizer technology will be featured in notebooks powered by Nvidia's GeForce 2 Go, Quadro 2 Go and next-generation mobile GPUs."

You'll notice the 'will' - future tense, not present tense. That suggests it isn't there now, but is going to be there at some future time. So either the next rev. of the GeForce 2 Go and Quadro 2 Go silicon will contain extra circuitry - which we doubt - or it's there now and Nvidia is going to activate them with a handy driver update.

Long-time Nvidia watchers will be well aware of the claims that all of the company's graphics chips show sudden performance hikes whenever the competition launches something new. It is often alleged that the company handicaps drivers to give it some extra power to pull out of its sleeve when it needs some.

The line "PowerMizer enables features already built into Nvidia's family of... mobile GPUs" [our italics] suggests that the technology is indeed already there, waiting to be turned on.

PowerMizer itself essentially allows users to adjust their graphics chip's operating voltage to best balance performance and battery life. Nvidia has mentioned PowerMizer before, when it launched the Quadro 2 Go, but in a throwaway line toward the end of the release. ®

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