NVIDIA GeForce 8800M Preview

Introduction & Specifications


When we first looked at the NVIDIA GeForce 8M series of mobile graphics chips, over six months ago in early May, the series had just been announced. At the time, the lineup only consisted of the 8400M mainstream series and the 8600M mid-range series. Although rumors had been circulating about the possibility of a high-end, G80-based enthusiast chip for some time, and hopes were high, none were announced. This was compounded by the fact that the fastest chip in the initial lineup, the 8600M GT was quite a bit slower than last generation's top chip, the GeForce Go 7950 GTX.

A month later, NVIDIA announced what was supposed to be the first enthusiast-class chip in the GeForce 8M family, the GeForce 8700M GT. Again, this wasn't the rumored G80-gone-mobile super chip. Instead the GeForce 8700M GT turned out to be essentially a higher clocked version of the GeForce 8600M GT. While substantial core and shader clock frequency boosts allowed the 8700M GT to handily outperform the 8600M series, it still wasn't enough to take the title of fastest overall mobile graphics chip away from the GeForce Go 7950 GTX.

Several months of silence followed the GeForce 8700M launch and it seemed like the rumored mobile G80 chip was just that, a rumor. The most popular theory seemed to be that the G80's massive 185W TDP simply couldn't be tamed enough for a notebook to handle and we were unlikely to see G80 class performance in a mobile form factor until NVIDIA moved its technology to a more advanced manufacturing process.

This theory seems to be correct as the wait is finally over. Today NVIDIA is finally unveiling the rumored and much anticipated GeForce 8800M series of mobile graphics cards. The 8800M is powered by the new G92M GPU which is
built on a 65nm manufacturing process and as its name suggests, it shares a lineage with the desktop-bound G92 GPU announced three weeks ago. The 8800M series will come in two favors, a GTX and a GTS. The GeForce 8800M series is available immediately and over a dozen manufacturers are announcing new products today and in the coming weeks that will support the new chips.

Read on for specifications and preliminary benchmarks.

NVIDIA GeForce 8M Series
Features & Specifications

NVIDIA unified architecture:
Fully unified shader core dynamically allocates processing power to geometry, vertex, physics, or pixel shading operations, delivering up to 2x the gaming performance of prior generation GPUs.

GigaThread Technology:
Massively multi-threaded architecture supports thousands of independent, simultaneous threads, providing extreme processing efficiency in advanced, next generation shader programs.

Full Microsoft DirectX 10 Support:
World's first DirectX 10 GPU with full Shader Model 4.0 support delivers unparalleled levels of graphics realism and film-quality effects.

NVIDIA Lumenex Engine:
Delivers stunning image quality and floating point accuracy at ultra-fast frame rates.
16x Anti-aliasing: Lightning fast, high-quality anti-aliasing at up to 16x sample rates obliterates jagged edges.

128-bit floating point High Dynamic-Range (HDR):
Twice the precision of prior generations for incredibly realistic lighting effects - now with support for anti-aliasing.

NVIDIA Quantum Effects Technology:
Advanced shader processors architected for physics computation enable a new level of physics effects to be simulated and rendered on the GPU - all while freeing the CPU to run the game engine and AI.

NVIDIA ForceWare Unified Driver Architecture (UDA):
Delivers a proven record of compatibility, reliability, and stability with the widest range of games and applications. ForceWare provides the best out-of-box experience and delivers continuous performance and feature updates over the life of NVIDIA GeForce GPUs.

OpenGL 2.1 Optimizations and Support:
Ensures top-notch compatibility and performance for OpenGL applications.

NVIDIA nView Multi-Display Technology:
Advanced technology provides the ultimate in viewing flexibility and control for multiple monitors.

PCI Express Support:
Designed to run perfectly with the PCI Express bus architecture, which doubles the bandwidth of AGP 8X to deliver over 4 GB/sec. in both upstream and downstream data transfers.

Dual 400MHz RAMDACs:
Blazing-fast RAMDACs support dual QXGA displays with ultra-high, ergonomic refresh rates - up to 2048x1536@85Hz. 

Dual Dual-link DVI Support:
Able to drive the industry's largest and highest resolution flat-panel displays up to 2560x1600.

Built for Microsoft Windows Vista:
NVIDIA's fourth-generation GPU architecture built for Windows Vista gives users the best possible experience with the Windows Aero 3D graphical user interface.

Power Mizer 7.0 Technology:
Seventh generation of NVIDIA's advanced hardware power management technology dynamically adapts to the user's performance needs and provides longer battery life, by reducing system-level notebook power consumption and heat generation.

Hardware Decode Acceleration:
Provides ultra-smooth playback of H.264, VC-1, WMV and MPEG-2 HD and SD movies.

NVIDIA PureVideo HD Technology:
The combination of high-definition video decode acceleration and post-processing that delivers unprecedented picture clarity, smooth video, accurate color, and precise image scaling for movies and video.

Discrete, Programmable Video Processor:
NVIDIA PureVideo HD is a discrete programmable processing core in NVIDIA GPUs that provides superb picture quality and ultra-smooth movies with low CPU utilization and power.

High-Quality Scaling:
Enlarges lower resolution movies and videos to HDTV resolutions, up to 1080i, while maintaining a clear, clean image. Also provides downscaling of videos, including high-definition, while preserving image detail.

Inverse Telecine (3:2 & 2:2 Pulldown Correction):
Recovers original film images from films-converted-to-video (DVDs, 1080i HD content), providing more accurate movie playback and superior picture quality.

Bad Edit Correction:
When videos are edited after they have been converted from 24 to 25 or 30 frames, the edits can disrupt the normal 3:2 or 2:2 pulldown cadences. PureVideo HD uses advanced processing techniques to detect poor edits and recover the original content.

Video Color Correction:
NVIDIA's Color Correction Controls, such as Brightness, Contrast and Gamma Correction let you compensate for the different color characteristics of various RGB monitors and TVs ensuring movies are not too dark, overly bright, or washed out regardless of the video format or display type.

Integrated SD and HD TV Output:
Provides world-class TV-out functionality via Composite, S-Video, Component, or DVI connections. Supports resolutions up to 1080p.

Video Post-Processing:
Improves movie image quality by removing noise and increasing the contrast at edges.

HDCP Capable:
Designed to meet the output protection management (HDCP) and security specifications of the Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD formats, allowing the playback of encrypted movie content on PCs when connected to HDCP-compliant displays.

Spatial-Temporal De-Interlacing:
Sharpens HD and standard definition interlaced content on progressive displays, delivering a crisp, clear picture that rivals high-end home-theater systems.


The GeForce 8800M series is very similar to the rest of the GeForce 8M range and they share the same set of features. However it traces its lineage back to the G92 based GeForce 8800 GT, rather than the G86 and G84 GPUs that the other GeForce 8M products were derived from. However, the 8800M's G92M GPU isn't just a G92 desktop chip with additional power saving features enabled. In order to bring the G92's sizable 110W TDP down to something more manageable for a notebook, NVIDIA had to significantly cut back on clock frequency. One of the seven stream processor clusters (each containing 16 stream processors) of the G82 was also cut in the name of heat reduction (and better yields), bringing the G92M down to 96 stream processors, the same as an original G80-based GeForce 8800 GTS. These heat reduction measures seem to have paid off and they bring the TDP of the G92M down to a manageable 35 watts. That might even be low enough to allow a 8800M powered laptop to rest in your lap, although we still wouldn't advise it.

For a better understanding of the GeForce 8800M's architecture and feature set, we recommend you check out our coverage of the GeForce 8800 GT (G92) for more in-depth detail and you may also find our earlier coverage of the G80 helpful.

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