Graphics chip maker
Nvidia Corp. today introduced its GeForce FX Go graphics chip, its new flagship graphics processor for laptop computers. The announcement is a shot across the bow of rival ATI Technologies Inc., which today announced its Mobility Radeon 9600 processor.
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Nvidia’s new mobile offerings include the GeForce FX Go5600 and Go5200 models. Like the GeForce FX desktop chips, the GeForce FX Go chips sport the CineFX engine, Nvidia’s advanced pixel and vertex shading technology. They also feature Nvidia’s Video Processing Engine, which provides high-quality DVD and video output; PowerMizer power management technology; and support for AGP 8x, expected to be adopted in laptop motherboard designs in the future. The GeForce FX Go5600 also supports Intellisample, Nvidia’s anti-aliasing technology.
Like ATI, much of Nvidia Corp.’s focus on the performance and features of the new mobile graphics technology is on its support and optimization for Microsoft’s DirectX 9 API, but Nvidia also noted that both chips feature optimization and support for OpenGL 1.4.
This announcement comes at an interesting time: Apple recently adopted Nvidia mobile graphics chips for the first time, for use in the PowerBook G4 12 and 17 inch models introduced at Macworld Conference & Expo in January. The news drew criticism from some corners of the Mac community, because the GeForce4 Go mobile technology used in those systems was not seen as adequate substitute for the higher-horsepower Radeon Mobility 9000 chip found in the 15 inch PowerBook G4. Nvidia’s GeForce FX Go chips do not suffer the same architectural limitations as those found in the new PowerBooks.
Nvidia said the new GeForce FX Go chips will be available in April. Nvidia’s announcement of manufacturing partners who will use the new chips did not include Apple, of course. Like Nvidia’s other chips, however, the GeForce FX Go processors support the company’s Unified Driver Architecture, which means they’re compatible with the Macintosh if Apple chooses to use them.