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Nvidia Launches High Powered Mobile Graphics Chip 152

elbazo writes "Nvidia today launched their new mobile chip the GoForce 5500, which provides a massive jump in graphics technology for handheld and mobile devices. Capable of 'easily' rendering Quake 3, support for 1024x768 graphics output and real time playback of H.264, WMV9 and MPEG4 movies at high resolution the chip looks set to rock the mobile world."
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Nvidia Launches High Powered Mobile Graphics Chip

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  • I just wonder, if this chip has really low energy consumption, is it possible to make a videocard out of it (i.e. one that doesn't require extra large heatsinks to work)?

    • This is a cool idea. Now add in SLI support and you've got yourself quite a card.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      That can already be done by tons of video cards out there (like my old TNT2). Remember, it says Quake 3, when you probably want Quake 4 performance.
    • Integrated motherboard graphics are on the same playing field as a gf5500. The gf5 series PC card isn't manufactured anymore. 5 series was a failure for nVidia letting ATI take the market.
      • This GPU has nothing to do with the GeForce 5xxx series. This is a GoForce not a GeForce. Totally different, only the numbers are similiar.

        This type of chip would be used in cellphones or PDAs, not motherboards, laptops, or graphics cards.
    • I guess you could, but its not made for it. This isn't a "low power" desktop chip, but a low power cellphone chip, power consumtion and processing power are less by several orders of magnitude. As the article says, this thing can handle output at 1024x768, which is the MINIMUM acceptable on modern desktops. The chip also has hardware on it for interfacing with the camera in webphones, which is unnecessary for a PC.
    • By opposite look: is it worth to play Q3 with strong desktop-like video card on the screen 3x3 inches wide? Is it worth?

      I would advise the mobile manufacturers to sell a huge magnifier together with their phones...

      Buy your own: Nokia 3231, 5MPixel photos + 10xMagnifier, Q3 for free! :-) Honestly if you have some nice demountable construction with magnifier that you can attach to your mobile then you can achieve twice as big mobile phone display!

      I hope that Nokia will not patent it, so:

      LICENSE: I grant this
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 13, 2006 @06:56PM (#14711703)
    nVidia has been saying they were going to rock the mobile world for years. I'll believe it when I see more. nVidia may have been spanking ATI on the desktop (x1900 not withstanding), but ATI has been proven in mobile and handheld. nVidia's efforts have been too power hungry for anything but desktop replacement laptops. Lets hope things change, but I don't believe nVidia pronouncements of "rocking."
    • I think you got your NV's and ATI's backwards there. ATI's power saving abilities didn't show up until a couple years ago. Whereas NV's been able to have power-save modes for quite some time. I know of these things first hand, since I have been witness to an ATI powered laptop and I own an NV laptop. My laptop is able to get 3 hours while playing WarCraft 3 @ 1400x1050.
    • As for spanking in the desktop, the ATI 9700 pro was the comeback for ATI, I bought one and used it in everything, even my AMD64 3200 to this day (AGP). What made me pick up an Nvidia card was the 7800 GT, a cheap yet yet high end card.

      Nvidia just released the 7 series on AGP Due to ATI owning the AGP crowd. So no, theres no spanking going on.

  • beefy (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 13, 2006 @06:56PM (#14711704)
    because headshots with railguns aren't yet frequent enough on subways.
  • by lanc ( 762334 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @06:56PM (#14711712) you really want to play Q3 on your handheld?

    ...okok, I do :)

    • you really want to play Q3 on your handheld?
      ...okok, I do :)
      that is, I would love to, If I had a handhaeld, if they weren't so bloody expensive. I just hate to have a cell phone (or two), an mp3 player, sometimes a digital camera with me, all separated. I just want one gadget. An All-in-wonder single one. Is that really that difficult today yet?
      • I think a lot of the difficulty comes in when you consider the interface to such a device. When you hold a phone you like it to fit snugly up to your ear, but at the same time you want all sorts of connectors for your tv and to the computer which takes up space. Next you want it to be both a good video and still camera, which they don't seem to have mastered yet without the phone. Add in the mp3 player and other factors such as the amount of memory available and whether or not it would use cards or just
      • I have a motorola a1000. Comes very close to what you want: PDA style phone with very large (for a phone) touchscreen stylus interface, built in agps for mapping software etc, very good sounding mp3 player (using earphones - although built in speakers are better than most at that size, they're still not all that good), takes transflash cards : ( tiny flash memory, up to 512mb, only about 8*11*0.5 mm so you could fit quite a few in your wallet if wanted), plays back mpeg4 video, opens .doc, .pdf, .txt, .jpg
    • hey i wanna play quake3 on my ipod !! while watching a video on my TV... but wait a minute, does the ipod video have a TV-out ?
      Well, i have played Doom on a Sony Ericsson P800 while on a high speed train in europe, and its kinda *nice*... feels like playing it on a wide screen.
      • You can get Doom on your iPod [] today...
        • I cant find the link, but I used to have doom on my Hp digicam back around 2002 methinks. It was fun, but they warned that the buttons wore out easily, and it caused the camera to boot slower, eating the gears in the lens. I guess the last command in the boot sequence was STOP PUSHING THE LENS OUT!. Delaying that by even half a second made the most horrendous noise.
      • The video iPod must have tv/audio out, because when I was searching around for wearable displays, I found this [] ... And it actually looks like it might do the job fairly reasonably. For the geeks who love to fill up their video iPods with podcasts generated by their MythTV box so they have entertainment on the train to work, this might help a bit... Plus what geek wouldn't want to look like Geordi LaForge on the way to work? Pitty the stupid name of their company though.

        I'm really interested to learn how
    • If you run WindowMaker, you can simulate the effect here [] :-)
    • Do I want to play quake on my phone? No. (Unless I'm really bored)
      Do I want to watch video on my phone? Not really. (Unless I'm pretty bored)

      Do I want to copy all my divx, mpeg4, H.264, etc files to my iPod or other mobile device and be able to hook them up to any TV anywhere and watch them in full DVD or HD quality. Yes, very much so.

      The current iPod video can be hooked up to a TV but it can only play standard TV quality video. Once it can play at least DVD quality it will become a lot more enticing.
    • I play Quake 1 in my cellphone and it actualy looks good! It takes a while till it starts but the wait is worth it :-P Same sounds, same 3d graphics... but the screen is "a bit" smaller :-) If you're interested you should check the Motorola MPX200 or even better, the MPX220.

      Here's a link to the SpvQuake [].
    • The engine itself could be used for a variety of things, and is easily modded. That kind of power has many practical uses though, like GoogleEarth-style mapping on your phone (specificly refering to the full 3d mapped areas).

  • 1024x768? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    While I could see easily the benefits such a chip would have on the tablet PC market, I fail to see how it will help the PDA/SmartPhone market when the idea has been tried again and again, and people have shown that they are simply not interested in watching movies on their 1.5" flipscreen phone, especially when one considers that the battery life would be ultimately non-existant after watching even a short full-length movie...
    • wtf? I appreciate your view point, but with google video + the video ipod starting to really take off watching videos on a mobile tv seems to have a lot of interest - just given todays technology contrraints it hasn't been realised very well. Having a portable movie player/video camera/walkman sounds cool - they're just not good enough for me to have an interest yet.
  • "support for 1024x768 graphics output"

    Yes, we're living in the future!
  • by heatdeath ( 217147 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @06:57PM (#14711723)
    Maybe they're trying to create a market for multimedia stuff where there currently isn't one, but this doesn't seem like what people want. I'd rather have a cell phone with a long battery life than one that has really cool graphics that drain the battery after 20 minutes.

    Maybe they're hoping that fuel cell technology gets small enough for cell phones by the time this hits the market.
  • by edxwelch ( 600979 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @07:00PM (#14711744)
    Slightly offtopic, but you might find it interesting nevertheless.
    The Motorola RAZR V3X sports a nVidia Goforce 3D 4800 WMP, but for some strange reason it's not used by the KVM. In other words games using the Java 3D API will have the same sucky performance as phones with no hardware acceleration. Some guy even started a petition to get Motorola to change it ( l [])
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I'll be looking forward to this because what can withstand an online petition, the greatest political force known to man?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      To be fair to Motorola here, I was involved in a product based on the GoForce 4500 about a year ago. The lack of driver support from Nvidia caused a 6 month delay launching the product, and several features ended up being disabled (the chip had hardware MPEG4 support, but we ended up using a software decoder, the Open/GL drivers mostly worked but we had to give up on the DirectX support). I wouldn't be surprised if the 4800 drivers were similarly slow in catching up to the hardware.
  • by spacefiddle ( 620205 ) <> on Monday February 13, 2006 @07:03PM (#14711770) Homepage Journal
    Um... okay. So?
    I mean i guess it's cool they could do it and all, but... the PSP's screen size, frex, is acceptible. Barely. But my cellphone...? (I like how the articles cites "...the original Quake 3 for the Playstation," btw. Uh...)

    I just don't get how it's desireable or even not-painful to be looking at smaller and smaller screens and cramming higher resolutions on them. So WHAT? You REALLY want to watch a full length movie on a moving train/bus/backseat on a screen the size of your hand? Ow. Ugh. Oh what an experience. Nah. ...I'll just go back to waiting for the optic nervesplice HUD overlay, thanks :D
    • Actually, screens on cell phones and mobile devices are getting bigger and brighter, with more pixels all the time. The only reason the whole thing isn't one big touch-sensitive plasma or lcd display is the fact that it is too expensive right now.
    • I've watched quite a few movies already in my cellphone. Even subtitled ones. There was electricity where I was but no TV signal so... my 1 GB memory card with several Xvid encoded videos at more or less 200 MB per movie (take into consideration that the resolution is lower so it needs less bitrate). I also put TV series in it. It's actualy entertaining.
    • I mean i guess it's cool they could do it and all, but... the PSP's screen size, frex, is acceptible. Barely. But my cellphone...?

      The screen on my mobile is bigger than the PSPs. And I don't need to hack the firmware in order to run homebrew apps/scripts. And it has a qwerty keyboard.

      you REALLY want to watch a full length movie on a moving train/bus/backseat on a screen the size of your hand?

      Nope, that is a sure recipe for headaches. A ten min show is doable on a daily commute. News/weather translat

  • High-powered? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Tavor ( 845700 )
    And yet it has 1024x768, and no HDCP support?
    Slashdotters seem to have a short memory anyhow. Here's a jogger. []
    • Are you missing the fact that this chipset is aimed at mobile phones and PDAs? I don't think many people are really interested in hooking their cell phone up to their HDTV.
  • by appleprophet ( 233330 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @07:07PM (#14711811) Homepage
    Quake 3 was released in '99 - 7 years ago. I remember playing that on a 400 MHz G4 with an ATI 128 and being pretty impressed.
  • 1024x768 ... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hattig ( 47930 )
    Well, I suppose that Nokia's Linux based web tablet (770) has a pretty decent 800x480 display, and I bet that something like this chip would be quite a good match for it.

    I don't know about mobile phones though - maybe the highest end communicator style phones ... maybe.

    Of course digital cameras are multifunction these days, and have large ridiculous DPI displays on them. I wouldn't be surprised to see a 3" 800x600 display on one soon. Again, this GPU would be good for that, and for playback of recorded vide
  • by RiotXIX ( 230569 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @07:10PM (#14711843) Journal
    That is off the hook for using the phone as a (video) camera - I'm not much of a gamer, but if anything got me interested about upcoming phones it was the ability to always be carrying a high-def camera with you at all times.
    • by mythosaz ( 572040 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @07:46PM (#14712173)
      The problem with cameras in phones is the size and quality of the CCD sensor - not the size of the rest of the electronics necessary. I already cary a 1.3MP camera, and it's a vast improvement over the .3MP cameras on most "old" phones -- but they're nothing near a good 5+MP camera with a good (read: "large") CCD. You also need space and battery for a flash. Those blinking white LEDs don't cut it.

      The larger combo-everything phones made by HTC (top end Audiovoxes, iPaq's, iMate) all have this small sensor, no-flash 1.3MP camera. It's useless.

      You could easily put my 68 gram Panasonic phone into a Sony Cybershot and have a device smaller than my PDA-style phone -- but it's honestly not available yet.
    • You aren't going to get HD resolution out of a fisheye lense, regardless of what electronics you have backing it. That's the real limiting factor with a phone. I have a phone that takes 640x480 stills, which is SD essentially (SD is actuallt 720x480 for NTSC, but the pixels aren't square). In reality, it does not get that kind of resolution. Sure it takes that many pixels, but it's all kinds of blurry and noisy. That little lense is just insufficient to really resolve that kind of detail. To get any kind of
  • Why has no one developed an external fire-wire graphics card for laptops?

    The only reason that I can think of is that even fire-wire is not fast enough?

    Anyone know what order of magnitude increaase in communications speed we would need to make something like this work? (assuming that is the problem, or course)

    • I wouldn't be surprised if within the next year or two you get Expresscard graphics cards. It'd only be PCIe x1 (250MB/s bidirectional, so between AGP1x and AGP2x), and most likely in an external box rather than inside the expresscard, as it isn't the largest format in the world. If there's enough power provided by expresscard, that is ...
      • Funny that I'm reading this now... I was aimlessly looking for PCMCIA graphics cards just a few days ago and found []

        I think it's probably mostly software-based, but still pretty cool and relevent to you bringing up Expresscards...
    • Re:Riddle me this.. (Score:3, Informative)

      by MS_Word ( 877966 )
      Firewire 400 mb/s

      PCI express 4000 mb/s

      Also you would prob need an external power supply.

      Even Sata would need to double its bandwitdh dths#Computer_interfaces []

    • Even 800kbps Firewire(b), which no one has (yours is probably 400kbps) isn't enough to transfer video.

    • Firewire - 400 or 800 Mbps (megabits/second) = 50-100 MB/second (Megabytes/second) minus overhead
      PCI (standard old PCI) - 32 bits @ 33 MHz in most configurations = 133 MB/second 64-bit and 66 MHz PCI existed but were rare. Even standard PCI is faster than 1394.
      AGP - 1x is 266 MB/sec, 4x is 1066 MB/s, and 8x is 2133 MB/s
      PCI Express - x1 is 250 MB/sec, x16 is 4000 MB/sec (in both cases, this is minus some unknown amount of overhead.)
    • Why has no one developed an external fire-wire graphics card for laptops?

      The only reason that I can think of is that even fire-wire is not fast enough?

      Assuming you're referring to an external 3D card that renders on the laptop's screen, you'd be correct. The video would have to be fed to the notebook's existing graphics framebuffer, because this is usually the only thing capable of driving the screen. This may seem strange, but the PowerVR PCX1 / PCX2 used to render this way to avoid wasting memory on a f
  • In all seriousness, isn't it an archaic game? What is the point, its like saying an athlon x2 4800+ can run Solitaire with ease!
  • by Vellmont ( 569020 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @07:30PM (#14712034) Homepage
    That's really the key question here, and the answer will determine how usefull it is. No one wants a mobile device, be it a PDA or whatever that kills the battery in an hour. I see no technical specs on power consumption, which is a bit worrying since I can only assume that nVidia isn't terribly proud of it.
  • I think this could be huge for graphical interfaces. Everyone seems to be focusing on games just because the blurb mentioned Quake3, but what about Quartz3D on a handheld device. Hmmm? Handhelds would be great to fill with eye-candy. Touch screens with ripple effects, major WOW factor there.
  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @07:44PM (#14712148) Journal
    gamers can experience Quake 3 equal to that of the original PlayStation

    Now of course this is a statement in a press story so it probably has all the accuracy of well a press story (0) but what exactly does this mean?

    Quake 3 was a PC game. It was the game I got a matrox G400 (bumpmapping) for, well that and dualhead, and I think was typically played at 1024x768 resolution.

    So when was it released on the playstation. Oh right, never. A version was released for the playstation 2. Big difference right there but even with its improved hardware the PS2 is still not exactly up to snuff. The resolution is TV, wich is far far lower then you would ever accept on a pc.

    So what exactly is this new chip capable off? Can it play at 1024x768 OR can it play at playstation (2) resolutions? Why does it compare a pc game with a lesser console version?

    I smell a load of marketing. Reminds me of the days on the farm.

    It may be powerfull but comparing it to a poor console version of an old console game is not exactly inspiring.

    • Or you could read and see that this is aimed at PDA's, not laptops. 1024x768 Quake 3 on a Palm (or comparable) seems pretty frickin' fast to me. But what do I know, I only RTFA.
      • I got the quote from the article. So get of your high horse.

        And yes I know it is aimed at mobile devices. So what?

        But your clearly and idiot. 1024x768 Quake 3 seem fast to you. Right. Because game + resolution == frame rate.

        If you actually read my post you will have noted that I point out that it is not quake 3 but rather quake 3 revolution. The first is a PC game and the second is a PS2 game. The PS2 does not have 1024x768 resolution. If you had a brain you would realise that this could mean that the ch

  • by teslar ( 706653 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @07:52PM (#14712218)
    At first I was going to crack a joke on how hard it would be to circle-strafe-jump on a mobile phone.

    Then I realised that kids who can text at 40 characters per second probably won't even blink at the difficulty.

    You know you're getting old when you still need a mouse and a keyboard for FPS games...
  • Okay, the majority of the comments thus far come from a PC-centric mindset, that is, you assume that the consumers of this chip will have PCs so why would they bother? I see this product as far more likely to be aimed at South-East Asian (e.g. Malaysian) markets where people are far less likely to have computers, but practically everyone has a mobile phone. In those markets, a chip that can play Quake 3 is pretty damn awesome.

    And let's not forget that video encoding and decoding are vital steps in video ca
  • "Car Computer"? (Score:2, Interesting)

    Perhaps they could push these chips in the direction of "Car Computers." Personally, I think it would be really neat to have a full entertainment system, with a nice powerful LCD display at 1024x768 in my car. If I had kids, I suppose it would make more sense for long trips etc. ... just my $0.02 :-)
  • Ooh, a cell-phone that you can play games on...
    AND watch movies on...
    heck, let's even throw on an FM radio; more features = more profits, right?

    And we'll call it...
    The N-Gage.

    To their credit, though, if a cell-phone can take 10-megapixel pics, I'd seriously consider it.
  • Yeah, this is going to rock the mobile world, definitely. The phone I had 5 years ago would drop calls. My current phone drops calls and periodically crashes, totally locking up when the bluetooth, camera, MP3 player, or web browser decides to take a shit. Now we have souped up graphics going into these bad boys, and man, it's gonna rock. I can't wait until I have to install a video driver update on my friggin' telephone.
  • by ChrisA90278 ( 905188 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @09:05PM (#14712710)
    Everyone here thinks in terms of PC games. THis is for something else. Can you imagine a 4 by 6 inch hunk of black plastic maybe 3/8 inch think. It is a featurelass slab of black pollished plastic until you draw a circle on its face with your finger then it comes to life as a frameless LCD pannel that can show video lke an iPod. THere is even a picture of an iPod click wheel on the front of it. Had I turnned it on by drawing an "X" on the face rather then ther "O" it would come to life with a picture of a cell phone on the display and I could use it to make a call. Drawing a "V" turns it into a TV/TIVO remote with a live preview display.

    1024x768 is perfect for what I'll call ther "vertual gadget"

    THe rumer mills are saying Apple is woring on something like this. Recently filed pattents and trademarks back this up. I fuly expect them to sell some kind of touch sensitiv LCD scren handhald device that does NOT look or act like a small scale desktop.

  • Obligatory (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by Cytlid ( 95255 ) *
    I for one, welcome our Nintendo DS slaughtering overlords.
  • Aqua? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nojayuk ( 567177 ) on Monday February 13, 2006 @10:01PM (#14713030)
    I was chewing the fat with a Linuxhead-turned-MacAddict a few days ago, tossing up ideas about where Apple might go in the future. Friend dragged the stinking corpse of the Newton out of its uneasy grave (he has a thing about PDAs, forgive him). I pointed out that the Newt was buried for a good reason or six, then inspiration struck.

    Apples' range of portables has been, to be kind, lacking in features the past couple of years mainly because of their boat-anchor PPC fetish. Apple's Teh Shiny! has been the iPlod range of jewelry and fashion statements, their premier bottom-line enhancement mechanism. Video, hard disks, flash but no sign of an Apple PDA in the mix.

    But... imagine an Apple PDA with Aqua, enough smarts to do the look-and-feel kabuki of its bigger brothers, a coat-pocket tablet-gesture device with a 1024x768 display and a Centrino, a shitload of Flash and no battery-sucking hard drive, able to run those new-fangled PPC/x86 fat binaries native. Of course it would be slow and not exactly the device most people whould run PhotoShop on, but as a workalike sibling to the iBooks with all the wireless connectivity Teh Shiny! comes with as standard today I figure it would fly out the door sales-wise.

    The killer for this pipe-dream was fitting enough GPU power under the hood, affordable in power consumption terms, to make Aqua usable in less than geological time -- in independent tests, ten out of ten Apple owners never want to see a spinning beachball ever again. I speculated about Cell as a dedicated Aqua graphics engine but from what I've seen about its power consumption that doesn't fly. This device might just do the job though. Hmmm.

  • I think that this new chipset is pretty significant. While the ability to render Q3 at 1024x768 seems pretty useless on a tiny screen, the H.264 and WMV9 support stand out. These codecs (especially the H.264) could be used in the future to possibly do things like mobile TVIP from your house using something like a slingbox. This chip could also enable some pretty crazy menu effects/video effects in-phone, which could prove slightly useful. The limitations of the small cell phone screen do hamper this signifi
  • PCI Voodoo 3, 32 meg. Quake 3, 1024x768, Standard OpenGL, max everything else. I pull an easy 60 fps. I wish we would use a game that's a little more up to date for this type of comparison.
    • We're talking about PDAs, Smartphones, and Gameboy Advances here. Devices of this size can't even touch quake3, yet.

      Think about it like this... They gave it the 5500 number for a reason. It seems to me that they feel this chip fits in with the 5000 generation of nvidia products in terms of performance. You'll be pleased to know that my geforce 5700fx w/ athlon 2100xp runs Quake3 "easily" at 1024x768. This rig also happens to run doom 3 with some difficulty at 640x480...a little more difficulty at 80
  • It seems interesting the timing of this; I wonder if Apple will pick this up if they are indeed going to bring out a new IPod video. It seems to me this chip would be a perfect fit, with its resolution and H.264 capability.
  • It's like it's 1996 already!

With all the fancy scientists in the world, why can't they just once build a nuclear balm?