NVIDIA GeForce 8M Series Preview

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The GeForce 8M series will initially consist of five devices, the GeForce 8600M GT, 8600M GS, 8400M GT, 8400M GS and the 8400M G. The 8400M series is meant for mainstream and thin-and-light notebooks while the 8600M is designed for full-size performance oriented laptops. Both flavors of the GeForce 8600M will use the G84M core, a mobile version of the G84 core used by the 8600 GTS and 8600 GT mid-range desktop parts. While all three versions of the 8400M will use the G86M core, a mobile version of the value-oriented G86 core used by the GeForce 8500, 8400 and 8300 desktop parts.

Unfortunately a mobile version of the G80 core, which powers the high-end GeForce 8800 series, will not be offered at this time. It seems the G80's thermal output and power requirements are too much for even the largest desktop replacement laptop to handle at this time. At least for now, it looks like those of us waiting for 8800-level performance on the go will have to keep waiting. However, we have caught wind of a so-called G81M chip, which supposedly will be available later this year and will be NVIDIA's high-end mobile product. Considering the heat and power issues, it's unlikely that NVIDIA will release a GeForce 8800 derived mobile part in the current 90nm form so don't expect it until they move to a 80nm or more likley a 65nm process. 

Besides the previously mentioned differences in the GPU core, NVIDIA's five new mobile parts will also differ in core, shader and memory frequency. The number of stream processors available will also differ between models. The 8600Ms will boast up to 512MB of GDDR3 memory while the 8400M will be equipped with DDR2. The entire GeForce 8M line-up will use NVIDIA's various MXM form factors and be integrated directly into some notebook designs as well.  We've summarized the main differences between the five parts being announced today in the table below.

Compared to the GeForce Go 7 series , the new GeForce 8M probably won't be setting any performance milestones. Until NVIDIA releases some high performance parts for the 8M series, the GeForce Go 7950GTX is still king of the hill when it comes to pure mobile graphics processing power. However, the mid-range and value solutions presented by the 8M series should bring affordable, low power DirectX 10 support to the notebook market. NVIDIA claims the new 8M series will outperform the GeForce Go 7 series by about 50% in several more recent titles. Performance is greatly improved for applications that make use of HDR, such as Rainbow Six Vegas and Oblivion. According to NVIDIA, both of these games see up to a 50% improvement in performance compared to current mid-range GeForce Go 7 parts.

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