GeForce FX Go 5200 and 5600 Mobile GPUs
NVIDIA's New Mobile FX Offering Unveiled

By - Dave Altavilla
March 13, 2003

The PC Graphics Industry certainly has been heating up over the past few weeks, to say the least. NVIDIA and ATi alone are making coverage, of their new technologies for the desktop alone, a full time job.  In addition however, coincident with Intel's "Centrino" Launch and Mobile/Wireless initiative, the Mobile Graphics space is bubbling and buzzing as well.  ATi gave us a taste of their new "M10" core, with an intimate demo of their Mobility  Radeon 9600.  In like fashion, very recently we were briefed on NVIDIA's new GeForce FX products for the Laptop, the GeForce FX Go5200 and GeForce FX Go5600 GPUs.  What's really exciting about all of this new Mobile Graphics technology coming down the pipe, is they don't make any compromises versus their mainstream Desktop counterparts.

Let's have a look at the basic feature-set of these new NVIDIA "Go" Graphics Processors...

Specifications & Features of the NVIDIA GeForce FX Go 5200  and 5600 GPUs
DX9 Gaming On The Road


 
THE GEFORCE Go FX 5200 and 5600

Like we said, "no compromises"...  It may sound like a cliche'-ish marketing term but truly, if you look at the features and specifications of the above devices, even the speeds and feeds, there is little difference between the Mobile and the Desktop solution.  All GeForce FX devices, whether they be Mobile or Desktop, support AGP 8X, full DirectX 9 compliance, Pixel and Vertex Shaders version 2.0, can process 16 textures per pass, provide Z-Cull Hidden Surface Removal and run with NVIDIA's Unified Driver Architecture.  The GFFX Go5200 doesn't support Color or Z-Compression but the 5200 desktop version doesn't as well.  The 5200 is NVIDIA's most cost efficient solution and those engines were stripped out of the chips, to reduce die size and cost.  Like the 5600 desktop chip, NVIDIA reports that the Go5600 will run up to 350MHz and support up to 700MHZ DDR2 memory.  Likewise, flavors of the Go5200 will scale up to 300MHz, just like their desktop counterpart

However, obviously NVIDIA needs to provide a power regulation/conservation mechanism, as they have with their GeForce 4 Go product line.  As such, "PowerMiser 3.0" has been announced, as an integral part of the GeForce FX Go architecture...

PowerMiser 3.0  -

  • Aggressive clock gating design

  • Enhanced, intelligent clock management

  • Low voltage 0.13um process

  • Dynamic voltage scaling

  • Lowest CPU utilization for longest DVD playback

  • Long battery life even with 3D applications

  • Automatic detection of AC or battery

NVIDIA is claiming the GeForce FX Go GPUs are significantly more power efficient than previous GeForce 4 Go products and actually consume much less power, while offering exponential performance and image quality improvements. 

Enhanced VPE - Video Processing Engine
DVD Looking Better and Better At Cruising Altitude

In addition, the GeForce FX Go offers enhanced Video Processing capabilities, over the GeForce 4 Go, with full MPEG 2 hardware decode stack and encode assist.

Motion artifacts should be cleaned up significantly, with this new NVIDIA Mobile Graphics solution, since Adaptive De-Interlacing support, versus the standard bob and weave approach, has been added in.  This was an area where NVIDIA was lacking versus ATi in the past and it's good to see it on the feature list.  Hopefully this will translate to significantly better DVD video image quality.  

Dedicated Gaming Support From EA
EA thinks it's the way it was meant to be played...

An interesting spin that NVIDIA put on the ball, with this launch, is an announcement they are making with Electronic Arts, for exclusive support of their Mobile Graphics Hardware and EA Games.

  • Exclusive NVIDIA mobile GPU feature designed into EA games

  • NVIDIA Mobile GPUs tested before EA content is released.

  • NVIDIA is EAs mobile reference test standard.

  • NVIDIA & EA collaborate to ensure new game patches and driver releases are supported and work after the content is released.

  • NVIDIA has exclusive distribution rights to top EA Titles:

Tiger Woods 2003
Madden 2003
Battlefield 1942
Bond Nightfire
NASCAR Thunder 2003
NHL 2003....and more

These are some pretty bold claims being made here by NVIDIA and even more bold, is the move EA is making here, associating their product with a specific Graphics Hardware Vendor of choice.  That's not to say that these EA Games won't run on non-NVIDIA hardware.  However, we were told EA will have a much stronger support structure for NVIDIA hardware, with respect to mobile graphics, and has given NVIDIA exclusive distribution rights to bundle various titles in with GeForce FX Go Graphics kits for Mobile PC OEMs.

 

And so, we've been shown both of the main player's hands this week, in the Mobile Graphics game.  If Intel has the kind of influence with Centrino, that they traditionally have had in general, we'll all be doing a whole lot more Mobile Computing in the future.  Thankfully, the powers that be in the the 3D Graphics/Gaming arena, also have a strategy that looks quite impressive.  Both NVIDIA and ATi are bringing forth technologies that will blur the lines between Desktop and Mobile - Gaming, Multimedia and Video performance.  We've seen what ATi's new Mobility Radeon 9600 can do first hand.  We're looking forward to seeing what a GeForce FX Go 5600 can do, when it's cranked up to high res and pushing Doom 3 polygons.  Make no mistake, Laptops are certainly not just for spreadsheets and word processing anymore.

 

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