NVIDIA launches mobile chipset, notebook SLI

— 8:00 AM on March 9, 2006

In addition to launching a slew of desktop parts today, NVIDIA is also taking the wraps off a number of mobile products. Among them is a new mobile chipset made up of the GeForce Go 6100 north bridge and nForce Go 430 south bridge. Like their desktop equivalents, the notebook chips sport DirectX 9-class integrated graphics with Shader Model 3.0 and PureVideo support, PCI Express, ActiveArmor-accelerated Gigabit Ethernet, Serial ATA, and High Definition Audio. NVIDIA is particularly proud of the Go 6100's ability to decode high definiton content, something that not even the desktop GeForce 6100 can handle. On the desktop, high-def decoding is limited to the GeForce 6150, but a mobile version of that chip isn't being released just yet.

Low power consumption is particularly important the mobile world, so NVIDIA is keen to hype the low-power 90nm fabrication process used to make the GeForce Go 6100 and nForce Go 430. The chips also integrated a number of extra power saving measures, including an embedded controller that keeps all chipset devices in a lower power state until they're needed. This controller has a microssecond response time, so it can respond more quickly than ACPI, which is in the millisecond range. And there's more. The chipset also supports a C3 Sutter Mode that disables the HyperTransport processor link at idle, and a C3 Popup mechanism that allows DMA transfers to be routed through the chipset, allowing the processor to sit in a lower power state. Serial ATA circuitry is powered down at idle, as well, as are individual USB ports that aren't in use. LCD brightness can even be controlled by the chipset, which "imperceptibly" dims the display during periods of inactivity.

AMD has adopted NVIDIA's GeForce/nForce Go chipset combo as a part of its "Yamato" platform for Turion 64 noteboooks. The platform promises more than four hours of battery life, and it should allow notebook manufacturers to bring solutions to market more quickly. Both Yamato and the GeForce Go 6100 and nForce Go 430 are designed for Socket S1 Turions with DDR2 memory, so you won't find notebooks based on either for sale for a little while yet.

Although NVIDIA's new mobile chipsets aren't available in retail notebooks just yet, another new mobile technology will appear much more quickly. Today NVIDIA is officially unveiling notebook SLI, confirming early rumors that GPU teaming would make its way to the mobile space. Notebook SLI includes a mobile version of NVIDIA's SLI chipset, and to start, it will be available with GeForce Go 7800-series products. In its initial implementation, a custom cable will connect MXM modules running in SLI. A future version of the MXM spec will apparently do away with the need for an external connector, though. Expect notebook SLI to show up soon in a number of form factors ranging from 17" to 20" designs. In fact, a Eurocom press release pimping a 19" M590K Emporer notebook with dual GeForce Go 7800 GTXs in SLI has already hit our inbox.

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