Introduction

One of the fastest-growing sectors in the world of computers is the notebook market, which has been experiencing double-digit annual growth for quite some time. If the current trend continues, notebook sales will eclipse desktop sales within the next five to ten years. That's not too surprising, considering personal computers have ingrained themselves into just about every part of our society, and being able to easily transport them serves to further their quest for world domination. All we need now is for greater proliferation of high-speed wireless networks and it's only a matter of time before SkyNet begins wiping us off the face of the earth....


Terminator references aside, the reality is that computers have become a commodity item and performance requirements have begun to plateau. Not only does that mean less frequent upgrades for the less dedicated computer users, but it means the performance that the latest and greatest desktop solutions offer is often unnecessary for your typical computer user. The fastest desktop solutions continue to be well over twice as fast as the best mobile solutions, but there are plenty of people still running four or five year old computers without any complaints. Simply put, the convenience factor of being able to pick up a notebook and carry your work with you at a moment's notice makes them very attractive.

Of course, just because many people are able to use several year old computers without complaining doesn't mean that the various hardware manufacturers aren't looking for new ways to get us to upgrade. Windows Vista, new games sporting improved graphics, and the latest multimedia applications can all tax even the fastest computers, which means those of us who like to keep up with the Joneses will inevitably be faced with more upgrades.

Performance wise, NVIDIA has basically been dominating the mobile sector for quite some time. ATI managed to stay competitive on the desktop in the Radeon X1900 versus GeForce 7900 timeframe, but the Mobility Radeon X1800 has typically played second fiddle to NVIDIA's GeForce Go 7900/7950 solutions, and likewise for the Mobility Radeon X1600/X1700 versus the GeForce Go 7600. NVIDIA also opened up a huge performance and features lead on the desktop when they released the first DirectX 10 capable graphics chip, the GeForce 8800 (G80). We're still waiting for ATI/AMD's response more than six months later, but NVIDIA's big news of the day is the launch of their latest mobile graphics solutions that bring DirectX 10 feature support to notebooks everywhere. Or at least the newest notebooks that are being launched today and in the coming weeks....

We do have an early Santa Rosa notebook in-house for testing that's equipped with a GeForce Go 8600M GS, but unfortunately we've run into some difficulties during testing and won't be able to bring you actual performance results for a bit longer. For now, we will have to content ourselves with an overview of the new features and graphics products being launched and a discussion of how they will affect the mobile market. So without further ado, let's take a look at the GeForce 8M Series.

GeForce 8M Series Overview
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  • Scipio Africanus - Sunday, June 24, 2007 - link

    Not to nitpick, but the introduction comment about nvidia dominating ati at the midlevel is not right. The 7600 and X1600 Mobility were competitive with each other. The mobile version of the 7600 had only 8 pipelines, instead of the desktop version's 12. Consequently, depending on the game, one was faster than the other or vice versa. This was extensively benchmarked on notebookreview forums. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, August 31, 2007 - link

    All I know is I have an Mobile X1700 and a Go 7700. The latter spanks the heck out of the former. (That would be the ASUS A8Js vs. the ASUS G2P.) Reply
  • ChrisLilley - Thursday, May 10, 2007 - link

    I think the workstation column is wrong. For series 7, the workstation lineup is 350M (low end), 1500M (midrasnge) and 2500M, 3500M (high end, 3500m is an overclocked 2500M) as follows:

    NVIDIA_G71.DEV_0298.1 = "NNVIDIA GeForce Go 7900 GS"
    NVIDIA_G71.DEV_0299.1 = "NNVIDIA GeForce Go 7900 GTX"
    NVIDIA_G71.DEV_029A.1 = "NNVIDIA Quadro FX 2500M"
    NVIDIA_G71.DEV_029B.1 = "NNVIDIA Quadro FX 1500M"
    NVIDIA_G72.DEV_01D8.1 = "NNVIDIA GeForce Go 7400"
    NVIDIA_G72.DEV_01DA.1 = "NNVIDIA Quadro NVS 110M"
    NVIDIA_G72.DEV_01DC.1 = "NNVIDIA Quadro FX 350M"

    The known released GPU IDs for 8xxxM are as follows

    NVIDIA_G84.DEV_0407.1 = "NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT"
    NVIDIA_G84.DEV_0409.1 = "NVIDIA GeForce 8800M GS"
    NVIDIA_G84.DEV_040D.1 = "NVIDIA Quadro FX 1600M"
    NVIDIA_G86.DEV_0425.1 = "NNVIDIA GeForce 8600M GS"
    NVIDIA_G86.DEV_0427.1 = "NNVIDIA GeForce 8400M GS"
    NVIDIA_G86.DEV_0428.1 = "NNVIDIA GeForce 8400M G"
    NVIDIA_G86.DEV_0429.1 = "NVIDIA Quadro NVS 140M"
    NVIDIA_G86.DEV_042B.1 = "NVIDIA Quadro NVS 135M"
    NVIDIA_G86.DEV_042D.1 = "NVIDIA Quadro FX 360M"

    That makes the 1600M a replacement for the 1500m, based on 8600GS and midrange ('performance'). The 5700 should be under 'mainstream'. The enthusiast or perhaps 'heavy cad' cards - the replacements for the 2500M and 3500M - are, just like the enthusiast gaming cards, not released and likely waiting for a die shrink.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, May 10, 2007 - link

    I'm going by the classification NVIDIA gave the various cards on one of the slides. Note that existing products are not included in the tables, only the new stuff, so outside of the mGPU parts (business) all of the cards are presumably DX10 capable. I would expect that the "enthusiast" 1600M is no faster than the other 8M parts listed, but there were no details on clock speeds or features of the workstation chips. I'm not sure any of the workstation parts listed are even shipping yet; most likely they are only being announced right now pending actual use in notebooks. I can check with NVIDIA for more details on those parts, though.... Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, May 10, 2007 - link

    http://www.nvidia.com/object/IO_42274.html">More details on mobile Quadro cards are available here. Basically, they are all DX10 parts, and the 1600M will probably be similar to the 8600M GT. Possibly it will be tuned such that the performance offered in workstation apps will be worthy of inclusion in the "enthusiast" range, although I'd say "workstation enthusiast" is a bit of an oxymoron. :) Reply
  • ChrisLilley - Saturday, May 12, 2007 - link

    Thanks for the link. And yes, its the same for mobile workstation cards as for mobile gaming cards: the top performing ones ('enthusiast' or 'serious cad user' or just lets say 'expensive' :) ) have not been announced yet as the hole in the model numbers shows. They will likely need a die shrink to get the heat down for mobile use. So the 7xxx series still hold top place for mobile.

    Plus of course the workstation models will be released a little after the gaming ones, due to the need for ISV certification.
    Reply
  • Myrandex - Thursday, May 10, 2007 - link

    I believe Duke Nuken Forever should have been on that list :) Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, May 10, 2007 - link

    Oh, it will be DX10, but that's a "most anticipated game for 2010". LOL

    (I actually have no idea when it's coming out or if it will be DX10.)
    Reply
  • bearxor - Thursday, May 10, 2007 - link

    Any inkling or hints from nVidia that Apple might have picked a 8 series chip for the inevitable MBP refresh next month? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, May 10, 2007 - link

    No idea, although since Mac doesn't use DirectX for graphics and may not really matter much. Those who want to use a MacBook Pro and run Boot Camp could potentially benefit if they run Windows Vista, but for now I wouldn't count on Apple using the new NVIDIA parts. I could of course be wrong, as I don't really stay up-to-date on Apple plans. Reply

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