NVIDIA GeForce Go 6800 Ultra: Gaming On Dell's Inspiron XPS Gen 2

Introduction, Specifications & The Notebook

About three weeks ago, we tested a new Acer notebook powered by ATI's Mobility Radeon X700. With our testing complete, we found the Mobility Radeon X700 to be a well-balanced mobile GPU that offered very good performance, in a thin and relatively light form factor. Then, a few days after that article went live, we were contacted by representatives from NVIDIA and given an opportunity to test a different sort of animal. NVIDIA told us they'd be releasing a new mobile GPU meant for high-end, desktop replacement notebooks. What we ended up getting our hands on was a new Dell Inspiron XPS Gen 2 with a GeForce Go 6800 Ultra pushing the pixels.

The GeForce Go 6800 Ultra incorporates all of the technology found in NVIDIA's desktop NV4x architecture, like PureVideo, UltraShadow II, and PS 3.0 support, plus some mobile-specific features of its own. The specifications listed below, and the information in this article, will bring you up to speed on what the NV4x architecture brings to table. When you're done perusing that, read on to see what NVIDIA has in store for gamers on the go; you won't be disappointed.

Specifications & Features of The GeForce Go 6800 Ultra
Top-of-the-Line Mobile Graphics
CineFX 3.0 Shading Architecture
Vertex Shaders
_Support for Microsoft DirectX 9.0 Vertex Shader 3.0
_Displacement mapping
_Geometry instancing
_Infinite length vertex programs

Pixel Shaders
_Support for DirectX 9.0 Pixel Shader 3.0
_Full pixel branching support
_Support for Multiple Render Targets (MRTs)
_Infinite length pixel programs

Next-Generation Texture Engine
_Support for 16-bit floating point format and 32-bit floating point format
_Support for non-power of two textures
_Support for sRGB texture format for gamma textures
_DirectX and S3TC texture compression
_Full 128-bit studio-quality floating point precision through the entire rendering pipeline with native hardware support for 32bpp, 64bpp, and 128bpp rendering modes 64-Bit

64 Bit Texture Filtering and Blending
_Full floating point support throughout entire pipeline
_Floating point filtering improves the quality of images in motion
_Floating point texturing drives new levels of clarity and image detail
_Floating point frame buffer blending gives detail to special effects like motion blur and explosions

Intellisample 3.0 Technology
_Advanced 16x anisotropic filtering
_Blistering-fast antialiasing and compression performance
_New rotated-grid antialiasing removes jagged edges for incredible edge quality
_Support for advanced lossless compression algorithms for color, texture, and z-data at even higher resolutions and frame rates
_Fast z-clear
_High-resolution compression technology (HCT) increases performance at higher resolutions through advances in compression technology

PureVideo - Advanced Video Functionality
_Dedicated on-chip video processor
_MPEG HD video encode and decode
_WMV9 HD decode acceleration
UltraShadow II Technology
_Designed to enhance the performance of shadow-intensive games, like id Software's Doom 3

Advanced Display Functionality
_Dual integrated 400MHz RAMDACs for display resolutions up to and including 2048x1536 at 85hz
Dual DVO ports for interfacing to external TMDS transmitters and external TV encoders
_Full NVIDIA nView multi-display technology capability

Advanced Engineering
_Designed for PCI Express x16
_Designed for high-speed DDR, DDR2, and GDDR3 memory
_Advanced thermal management and thermal monitoring

NVIDIA Digital Vibrance Control (DVC) 3.0
_DVC color controls
_DVC image sharpening controls

Operating Systems
_Windows XP
_Windows ME
_Windows 2000
_Windows 9X
_Macintosh OS, including OS X

API Support
_Complete DirectX support, including the latest version of Microsoft DirectX 9.0 Shader Model 3.0
_Full OpenGL support, including OpenGL 2.0

PowerMizer Technology
_Mobile power reduction technology unique the GeForce 6 Go family of GPUs
_Power & thermal management technology to deliver the longest battery life
_Advanced process technology delivers performance at lowest power consumption levels
_CLK, supply-VDD, thermal-throttling closed loop control mechanisms optimize "on the go" performance
Enables control of system levels components (such as CPU, display-panel, etc.) power consumption, for a balanced and complete notebook PC power savings
_SmartDimmer – technology to intelligently control and save display-panel power consumption

The Dell Inspiron XPS Gen 2




We got to spend some time with Dell's new Inspiron XPS Gen 2 to test the NVIDIA GeForce Go 6800 Ultra. The new Inspiron XPS Gen 2, is a much more portable notebook than the original XPS. The Gen 2 is thinner, lighter (about 9lbs), doesn't generate as much heat, and is much more attractive than the first XPS notebook.  There are green lights interspersed behind all of the grills, which make the unit glow when powered up and the lid is adorned with a brushed metal, rippled sheath.  At the heart of this unit is an Intel Pentium M 2.13GHz processors, 1GB of DDR2 533 RAM, Intel's Mobile i915 Express chipset, and of course the NVIDIA GeForce Go 6800 Ultra.  In this particular notebook, the GeForce Go 6800 Ultra's core is clocked at 450MHz and its 256MB of GDDR3 RAM is clocked at 550GHz (1.1GHz DDR).  That makes the GeForce Go 6800 Ultra the second highest clocked NV4x based product we've ever tested.  Only the elusive GeForce 6800 Ultra Extreme Edition, with its 600MHz (1.2GHz DDR) memory, is clocked higher.

The Inspiron XPS Gen 2 has a 17" LCD, with a native resolution of 1920x1200.  We found this display to be surprisingly adept at interpolating lower-than-native resolutions. The typical blur associated with running an LCD below its native resolution wasn't very pronounced when viewing the Windows desktop and while gaming at lower resolutions, blurring was hardly noticeable at all.

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