NVIDIA at CES 2008, Page One

NVIDIA was at CES in full force: showing off new chipsets for the integrated AMD platform and even some high-end AMD chipsets. The 780a, Hybrid SLI and even a new PureVideo HD feature are all discussed in our coverage.
    On the Sunday before CES 2008, NVIDIA held an Editor’s Day to preview the upcoming technology for Q1 and beyond.  Some things we obviously cannot talk about, but we do have some pretty interesting pieces of technology that we are allowed to pass onto our readers.

    2007 was a year that NVIDIA saw very little competition from its primary adversary in the graphics field.  When we look back though, we see surprisingly few major releases from what has been a product powerhouse in the past.  There were essentially three major releases in 2007 for NVIDIA, and these were comprised of the GeForce 8600/8500/8400 release, the nForce 7 chipset series for Intel (both integrated and performance), and finally the very impressive G92 releases with the 8800 GT and GTS products.  When we consider that the 680i for Intel and the 500 series chipsets for AMD have been around a LONG time, not to mention the still dominant 8800 GTX, we have been wondering when NVIDIA would update some of its other offerings.

GeForce 8200

    NVIDIA is announcing its new motherboard GPU (mGPU) which will be powering their AMD offerings for 2008.  The GeForce 8200 is a new design based on the G86 technology.  It is built to work with the 8400 and 8500 series of discrete graphics cards, so we can assume that architecturally they are all quite similar.  The GeForce 8400 and 8500 are both powered by the G86 chip which features 4 ROPs and 16 stream processors and is based on TSMC’s 80 nm process.  The GeForce 8200 is now based on a 65 nm process technology.

NVIDIA at CES 2008 - Shows and Expos 9

    Specific graphics details on this part are still sketchy, but I am betting that it features 2 ROPS and the full 16 stream processors.  The most exciting aspect of the GeForce 8200 is the new PureVideo HD engine that it sports.  Previous PureVideo parts only offloaded certain portions of HD codecs, and this was an area where AMD had a distinct advantage over NVIDIA.  This no longer appears to be the case.  The new PureVideo HD engine in the GeForce 8200 offloads 100% of H.264, VC-1, and MPEG-2.

    1080p playback with a motherboard GPU is now possible with a lower powered processor.  Without offload, it would take a quad core part at 2.2 GHz and above to have smooth playback at that resolution with software decode.  With PureVideo HD a 2 GHz dual core processor can push the same kind of framerates with smooth playback.  NVIDIA is really aiming for multiple markets with the 8200, and it will in fact be the basis for all 700 series chipset parts from AMD.

    NVIDIA is also showing off a dynamic contrast enhancement technology which should do just as the name says, namely improve the contrast in videos in realtime.  I have yet to see this in action, so I really cannot comment on how well the technology works.

NVIDIA at CES 2008 - Shows and Expos 10

    The single chip GeForce 8200 also features a 16X PCI-E 2.0 PEG connection, 3 x 1 PCI-E 2.0 lanes for add-in cards, 1 x GbE with First Packet Technology, 6 SATA 2.0 ports, 2 PATA, 5 PCI lanes, 12 USB 2.0, HDA/Azalia support, and VGA/DVI/HDMI outputs.  It also is fully HT 3.0 compliant, so it can work at full speed with the latest Phenom processors.  This is a fully functional chipset with some impressive features.

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