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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  • dougSF30 - Thursday, February 24, 2005 - link

    Different nVidia drivers? That's kinda bad, methodology-wise. Reply
  • JustAnAverageGuy - Thursday, February 24, 2005 - link

    It's too bad we don't get to see pictures of the laptop :)

    Even if it was a video card review.
    Reply
  • ElFenix - Thursday, February 24, 2005 - link

    #5
    the audigy is an external USB unit
    Reply
  • bob661 - Thursday, February 24, 2005 - link

    #5
    The CPU offered in this laptop is a Pentium M.
    Reply
  • SLIM - Thursday, February 24, 2005 - link

    I could be wrong, but I'd bet the picture would look a little different if all the cards were using the same drivers. The difference between 69.xx and 75.xx drivers for recent dx9 games could be significant. Reply
  • Cygni - Thursday, February 24, 2005 - link

    Its a shame Dell didnt give more time with the system, it would have been really interesting to probe the Alviso platform in all of its glory and compare against current systems... especially in the arena of the DDR2. Reply
  • bamacre - Thursday, February 24, 2005 - link

    #10, not sure about the cpu, but the Dell XPS notebook does offer a 7200rpm hdd, I'd bet it was used in the test. Reply
  • segagenesis - Thursday, February 24, 2005 - link

    If the max output is 65W assuming you have the laptop loaded 100% the entire time the standard battery (what is it? 70W/h?) would barely last an hour. Just... ok... I imagine you can get beffier batteries or use a second one. Reply
  • sri2000 - Thursday, February 24, 2005 - link

    Referring to a couple of differences in the test machine specs:
    ---
    Intel Pentium M 2.13GHz
    1GB DDR2 533 4-4-4-10

    AMD Athlon 64 4000+
    1GB OCZ DDR400 3-3-3-10
    ---

    How much of a boost are we seeing from the use of DDR2533 RAM and from the highest clocked Pentium M to date?

    The PCMag review shows it with a 4200 RPM drive - the typical speed for most notebooks, but that should be slowing things down, in this test right?

    This review doesn't say if the test unit had an optional 7200RPM HD
    Reply
  • defter - Thursday, February 24, 2005 - link

    "NVIDIA informed us that the TDP for the chassis is 65W."

    If we assume that Pentium M takes about 25W, this would leave 40W for system memory, chipset, hard drive, GPU and graphic memory. Wow, nVidia managed to pull miracle here. Gone are the days of 100W power consumption for high end Geforce 6800 cards.
    Reply

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