GeForce4 MX... not really a GeForce4?

In many of the recent discussions about the upcoming GeForce4 series of cards, I've seen a lot of excitement about the GeForce4 MX as a new "low-end" card, including some folks crowing about the "preorder" price of some of the GeForce 4 MX 420s as low as $120...

But my question is this: isn't the GeForce4 MX based on the NV17 chip rather than the NV25 chip, from all rumors? And what advantages does the NV17 have over the current GeForce3 chips, which were labeled NV20, except maybe a slightly faster clock speed? Will it support all the pixel/shader operations that the NV25 supports?

I ask this because, as many folks are, I'm up for a mid-level upgrade from my GeForce2 MX, which still, frankly, delivers pretty acceptable performance except under load. I'd like to replace it with something under $200, and the idea of skipping the GeForce3 generation entirely is an appealing one... but if the "GeForce4" MX series is actually using a less-capable chipset than the GeForce3--or even one pretty comparable--why would I buy one over a GeForce3 Ti200?

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  1. The NV17 is the mobile version of the GF3. You know, for laptops.

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  2. Exactly my point--a mobile version of the GeForce3, not a "GeForce4". So assuming that the mass of rumors on the NV17/NV25 launch is true and the GeForce4 MX is in fact an NV17, what does it offer that the current crop of GeForce3 cards does not?

    Of course, I realize that all this is based on rumor, but at the moment that's all we have to go on, so I'm tossing around ideas and conjecture.

    The idea that the GeForce4 MX is really an NV17 comes from a few different places; one such, for example, is the rumored identification tags in the "27.10" drivers loating around, which (rudely copied-and-pasted from other sites) includes the following:

    NVidia.Nv17.1 = "NVIDIA GeForce4 MX 460"
    NVidia.Nv17.2 = "NVIDIA GeForce4 MX 440"
    NVidia.Nv17.3 = "NVIDIA GeForce4 MX 420"
    NVidia.Nv17GL.1 = "NVIDIA Quadro4 500XGL"
    NVidia.Nv17GL.2 = "NVIDIA Quadro4 200/400NVS"
    NVidia.Nv17GL.3 = "NVIDIA Quadro4 550XGL"
    NVidia.Nv25.1 = "NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4600"
    NVidia.Nv25.2 = "NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4400"
    NVidia.Nv25.4 = "NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4200"
    NVidia.Nv25GL.1 = "NVIDIA Quadro4 900XGL"
    NVidia.Nv25GL.2 = "NVIDIA Quadro4 750XGL"
    NVidia.Nv25GL.4 = "NVIDIA Quadro4 700XGL"

    Note the "NV17.1 ... " business at the beginning.

    Doing a quick web search for 'nv25 nv17 "GeForce4 MX"' reveals these snippets:

    "The eldest chip family based on NV25 architecture will be called GeForce4, while the budget chips family built on NV17 core will be known as GeForce4 MX..."

    "Details of the GeForce4 (NV25) and the GeForce4 MX (NV17) have already leaked to the press. ... "

    "NV25 will form the GeForce4 family and NV17 will be for the GeForce4 MX family all with DirectX 8.1 support ..." (hey, at least that promised DirectX 8.1 support).

    Just trying to see if I should grab a GF3 Ti200 now or wait a month or two for the GF4 MX series (if they'll really provide an upgrade more powerful than the GF3 Ti200!).


    <P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Stitch on 01/25/02 05:20 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
  3. Huh, interesting.

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  4. Here's some more fuel for the rumors. (yes they are back) has posted pricing and some specs for pre-orders on Geforce4 MX.

    <A HREF=",90389," target="_new">,90389,</A>

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  5. The people over on the AnandTech forums think that the GeForce 4 MX will be the NV17, which is actually a castrated GeForce 3 core.

    "Ignorance is bliss, but I tend to get screwed over."
  6. In which case it should be labeled a "Geforce3 MX" not a "Geforce4 MX".

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  7. Actually the NV25 isn't exactly a major functional upgrade to the NV20. It is supposed to have an additional vertex shader i.e. a performance upgrade and much improved fsaa. Some people are fussed about it, but to me its a minor functional upgrade. On the 2D side of things, it will have better DVD playback quality etc.

    The NV17 has been in the public eye for a long while and I think, featurewise it is supposed to be like the GeForce 3, but since the functional difference betweent he GF3 and 4 is so minor they can call it a GF4mx if they want. But, the mobile NV17 is supposed to be lacking several of the GF3 features, so much so that strictly speaking it won't exactly be a DX8 chip.

    nVidia have always gone this way, A chip with new functions followed by a improved version ~six months later. The only proper upgrade will be in NV30, whenever that is out. This will truely supercede the XBox Chip.

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