San Jose (CA) - Nvidia fires up its third PCI Express-based mobile graphics processor. The new GeForce Go 6600, formerly code-named NV43M, fits in between the high-end 6800 and the entry-level 6200 series. Nvidia is confident that the new product range will eat away more market share from rival ATI.
The new graphics chip fills a wide gap that existed in its PCI Express product line which was started in November last year with the GeForce Go 6800 for desktop replacement notebooks and continued with the 6200 model that is built mainly into lower-end devices.
The Go 6600 will be available in a regular version as well as an Ultra model with clock speeds of 375/300 MHz and 450/350 MHz. The chips carry a 128 bit memory interface; the pixel fill rate of the basic version is rated at 3 billion pixels per second. In comparison, the 6200 tops out at 1.2 billion (6250: 1.6 billion).
Rob Csongor, general manager for Nvidia's mobile business, pointed out that performance at any cost is not the name of the game anymore. At least in the mainstream and the thin and light segment, power consumption is gaining more and more importance: "The fact that we increased our performance per watt is the single biggest reason why we have been winning designs," Csongor said.
Compared to the previous generation of the chip, the Go 5600FX, the 6600 achieves more than double the performance in 3DMark03 while maintaining the same maximum power level of 18 watts, according to Nvidia's specs. Csongor said notebook manufacturers were looking for keeping the power level in this range. In contrast, system builders were willing to accept steep increases in the desktop replacement segment in exchange for significant more performance: A 6600 Ultra version of the mobile graphics processor will consume 26.5 watts but deliver 7000 points in the benchmark, a 6800 Ultra will climb to 66.1 watts but achieve about 12,000 points, Csongor said.
Besides pure performance data, the new chip is accompanied by new confidence Nvidia has gained through recent design wins and a growing market share - at the expense of ATI, according to Csongor. "The growth we are getting is coming from ATI, not from the desktop segment," he said. In fact, Nvidia took 25 percent of the standalone notebook chip market in the fourth quarter of last year, up from 22 percent in the second quarter. ATI's share dipped from 72 percent to 69 percent in the same time frame.
Csongor believes that simple availability of the chips is contributing to the recent success of Nvidia's mobile unit: "We were dinged for products that were announced but could not be purchased at that time. Now we are not announcing a product until it is available on the market." As another mobile graphics chip that is compatible with the graphics module MXM, Nvidia is shipping its Go 6xxx series in currently more than 30 notebooks, most of them with the 6600 version, he said.
Among the manufacturers that are offering notebooks with a Go 6600 chip are Toshiba, Asus, Medion, Clevo, Aopen and MSI.