Introduction

Back when we first took a look at the NVIDIA GeForce Go 6800 we mentioned that NVIDIA was able to run their part at much higher 450/600 clock speeds (the part we tested was running at 300/300). It was much easier for OEMs to drop graphics solutions into existing designs DTR designs using the Pentium 4 and GDDR1 RAM for the video card. Using the hot Pentium 4, much of the Thermal Design Power (TDP), the limit on how much power can be dissipated as heat, is taken up by things other than the graphics core. DDR1 also runs hotter than DDR3, and thus memory clocks are also limited by the thermal restrictions.

Today, Dell is introducing their Inspirion XPS Gen 2. The DTR notebook features a 2 or 2.13GHz Pentium M and a GeForce Go 6800 Ultra with 450/550 core/memory clocks. Rather than just ship their Go 6800 at the high core speed, NVIDIA has given it the Ultra moniker to differentiate the product.

The "new" GeForce Go 6800 Ultra graphics card is exactly the same as the original Go 6800, except that we are finally seeing it at the high clock speeds NVIDIA originally promised we would see. For an explanation of the differences between NVIDIA's mobile and desktop products, please see our initial review.

Aside from simply exchanging the Pentium 4 setup for a Pentium M, Dell has also invested more time in improving its thermal solution. The result is a thinner (it's still not thin), lighter (still feels like a brick) efficiently cooled desktop-in-a-notebook. NVIDIA informed us that the TDP for the chassis is 65W. This is not something we will see anywhere but the DTR segment. Most of the large TDP is taken up by the graphics solution, as Dothan based Pentium M processors and DDR2 system memory run at comfortable temperatures. The new Inspirion XPS Gen 2 is also Alviso based.

This is a fairly significant design win for NVIDIA as Dell's previous XPS graphics solution was ATI's Mobility Radeon 9800.

The Test
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  • jays83gsl - Tuesday, March 07, 2006 - link

    I'm the owner of this laptop (thanks to Dell's Holiday contest :D ) and can definately attest to the speed of this laptop.

    There were a couple people asking about battery life, though. In this, the Dell seems to fail.
    Now, I've never owned a laptop before, so I can't really compare, but the battery is VERY quick to run out. Even just running windows media and surfing the web wirelessly, it sucks through the battery in less than two hours (down to 5%). Without wireless enabled, it lasts about an hour more (give or take).

    It plays all the games I have (NFS U2, GTA SA, couple others) at GREAT framerates, with all the goodies turned on, resolution turned WAY up (19something x something).

    The big hit, though, as seen in the tests, comes with anti aliasing. The games become almost unplayable with AA on at higher resolutions, and a bit dissapointing at lower resolutions (still playable, though).

    The other thing I saw questioned was the heat. During intense, long term gaming (NFS U2 being the test dog here), the lower area (keyboard, mouse pad, wrist resting areas) are damn near cold. Room temp at worst.
    Up near the screen, things get REAL hot, as well as around the GPU and processor fans. It seems the keyboard vents are almost useless at drawing out heat, as I can hardly ever feel air coming out of them.

    If you guys want anymore information on the laptop, I'll have it for a while. I also have a much weaker desktop that I can compare to if need be, though it only has an Nvidia GeForce FX 5200 (horrible card by todays standards).

    Jay
    Reply
  • firemachine69 - Monday, February 28, 2005 - link

    Whoa... But yes, there's so many variables, it's nothing more really then saying "this laptop is fast".

    Now what bothers me is those heat numbers... There's just noooo way Nvidia got it so low... Think about it... It's like what? 120W+ for a desktop 6800 Ultra? They'd have to lower the fab, or gotten really lucky with a batch... Me thinks Nvidia used some type of reference formula, such as "for every "xx" hours of gaming, "xx" hours will be in low power mode.

    Now we only need batteries to catch up. :D
    Reply
  • coldpower27 - Saturday, February 26, 2005 - link

    Would there be a need for a third version of the Geforce 6800 GO Series?

    I mean, that would make them have 3 different models all with the same Quad/VS Configuration of NV41M's 12x1/6 style.

    This generation it seems like Nvidia wants to maintain a maximum of 2 models per configuration style.
    Reply
  • Anemone - Saturday, February 26, 2005 - link

    The Pent M doesn't have much of a heat problem, nor as much of a performance delta compared to the AMD solutions in the mobile arena. I think Dell going with that chip instead of the P4 was a good idea.

    Interesting read:

    http://www.gamepc.com/labs/view_content.asp?id=lpc...

    Reply
  • BOLt - Saturday, February 26, 2005 - link

    Maybe NVIDIA will finally gain some ground in the notebook sector... Hopefully we'll see AMD in the DTR field soon, because these big-time manufacturers like Dell are having heat problems, and voila, AMD runs cooler, faster, better.

    On with the revolution!
    Reply
  • DestruyaUR - Saturday, February 26, 2005 - link

    Also, why the hell didn't they simultaneously launch a GT version for those who can live with 10-15 less FPS and less cost? Reply
  • DestruyaUR - Saturday, February 26, 2005 - link

    As for the people saying that battery life will be impacted during DVD watching because of the PureVideo - I submit the following: software decoding - beggars can't be choosers at 35,000 feet. Reply
  • Anemone - Saturday, February 26, 2005 - link

    Now when they put Yonah into this machine, it'll be time to own one :) Thanks much was great to see the review. I for one am about ready for a DTR notebook pc - and so this was a good article to see. Right direction for Nvidia too.

    Side note: Quite a few articles show the P-M coming out quite well in gaming as you ramp the clockspeed up. Might be nice to see one of these machines with 1-2gb of good low latency DDR2 but hard to say if that would change things much.

    Yonah, with SSE improvements and a clockspeed boost should be the machine to get. 6800 GO ultra is quite the beast and the right kinds of improvements. Now if they drop that to 65nm and bring a bit more speed and lower power useage and it will be a monster :)

    $.02
    Reply
  • Howard - Saturday, February 26, 2005 - link

    Inspirion, eh? Reply
  • trikster2 - Friday, February 25, 2005 - link

    34/35/36 I think this may have been already posted but here you go again:

    http://www.tomshardware.com/mobile/20050224/dell_x...

    If toms can be believed, the 6800 ultra is two to three times faster than your antique model-T 9800....
    Reply

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