Nvidia's GeForce Go 6800 Ultra debuts in Dell gaming notebook

Sanbta Clara (CA) - Nvidia today launched a new flagship mobile of its mobile graphics processor family: The GeForce Go 6800 Ultra trumps the performance of the regular 6800 and most of what is available on the desktop graphics market today. Dell uses the chip to promote its second generation XPS gaming notebook.

Mobile chips are not Nvidia's traditional playing field and a segment in which it had little success to challenge ATI's market dominance. The company however is serious to increase its pace and chip sales in a territory where it sees lots of growth opportunity. Recently, Nvidia introduced the Go 6200 and 6600. Now the firm expanded its high-end offering with the GeForce Go 6800 Ultra: The processor will mainly appear in prestigious performance and desktop replacement (DTR) notebooks and debuted today inside Dell's fastest mobile computer.

According to Nvidia, the Ultra version of the Go 6800 has a memory bandwidth of 35.2 Gbit per second and posts a fill rate of 5.4 billion pixels per second. The processor core is clocked with 450 MHz, the memory data rate is 700 MHz for DDR1 and DDR2, GDDR3 runs at 1100 MHz.

The chips presentation platform, Dell's Inspiron XPS Gen2 notebook, will reach new performance records across the benchmark board, Nvidia claims. Compared to the direct predecessor, an XPS system equipped with an ATI Mobility Radeon 9800 chip, the new notebook will at least double graphics performance topping 5000 points in 3DMark05 and 12,000 points in 3DMark03, Nvidia said. The 17" display of the device enables a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixel (WUXGA), harddrive sizes range from 60 to 100 GByte.

Of course, the performance of the XPS comes at a price. Not only are prices starting at a lofty $2750, but also power consumption of the graphics chip is in stratospheric heights. While a Go 6200 has a maximum power consumption of 8.7 watts (including memory), the Go 6600 18 watts and the Go 6800 26.7 watts, the Ultra chip swallows a record 66.1 watts. According to Nvidia, its all about performance in desktop replacement devices and system builders were willing to accept up to 100 watts of power consumption for a maximum of performance in their notebook.

To compensate the power hungry graphics chip, notebooks may use less power hungry system processors in the future. Dell's XPS system for example uses a 2 GHz Pentium-M 760 or a 2.13 GHz Pentium-M 770 processor with the 90nm Dothan core. But its obvious that the typical buyer of a XPS system will be as concerned about power consumption as Ferrari drivers are about the fuel efficiency of their cars. At least system designers were able to get control of the weight gains of DTR notebooks. Compared to the 12-pound heavyweights presented after the launch of the Go 6800, the XPS weighs just 8.6 pounds.

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