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Monday, November 13, 2000
NVIDIA's New Portable Chip is Mac-ready
2:18 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

CNET has posted details on NVIDIA's new graphics chip for notebook computers, known as the GeForce2go. This low-power, 0.18-micron chip is specially designed for high performance and very low power requirements, making it perfect for battery-powered systems.

As you might recall, there have been many rumors of NVIDIA's entry into the Mac OS market through a third party. Over the Summer, NVIDIA released the GeForce2 MX, a low-cost 2D/3D acceleration chipset with impressive performance which was explicitly stated to be "Mac-compatible"; however, NVIDIA does not make graphics cards, just the chips and drivers -- it would be up to a third party to actually make compatible cards for Mac systems.

However, there have also been rumors that NVIDIA is angling to take over ATI's position as the OEM supplier for Apple 3D hardware, which would eliminate the need for a third party. With the introduction of the GeForce2go, NVIDIA has a complete lineup of chips -- high end, mid-range, and portable -- which may make them more attractive to Apple in the future. Here are some details on the new portable chip, from CNET's coverage:

The Geforce2go offers much of the performance of Nvidia's desktop PC chips while consuming a fraction of the power, Nvidia chief executive Jen-Hsun Huang told CNET News.com. Some of the gains in power usage come from production of the chip using thinner, 0.18-micron wiring, but Nvidia got additional gains by allowing parts of the chip to power down when a particular function, such as video playback, is not being used.

As previously reported, Santa Clara, Calif.-based Nvidia is attacking the laptop market following a successful conquest of the desktop market once dominated by Canadian rival ATI Technologies. Although the laptop market is about one-quarter of the overall PC market, it is growing far faster, Huang noted...

Like the Geforce2 MX from which it is derived, the Geforce2go is Macintosh-compatible. Nvidia has said that it plans to enter the Mac market--another ATI stronghold--but has offered few details.

Huang said the next news that people hear about Nvidia in the Mac market will likely come from Apple chief executive Steve Jobs. Rival ATI raised Jobs' rancor earlier this year when it prematurely said that its chips would be part of iMacs and PowerMacs that had not yet been introduced.

The next news about Apple to come from Steve Jobs will most likely be at next year's Macworld Expo San Francisco, in the first week of January 2001. It remains to be seen if NVIDIA can unseat ATI from their five-year reign as the sole OEM provider for Apple; while ATI's relationship with the Mac platform has been declared on shaky ground several times, the recent release of the Radeon and the strong performance of that card on Mac systems indicates that their ties with Apple are still quite strong. In any case, it is clear the future will hold even more choices for Mac gamers when it comes to 3D acceleration, and that can only be a good thing.

NVIDIA Introduces GeForce2go at CNET
NVIDIA GeForce2 MX In-depth

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Archives  News  NVIDIA's New Portable Chip is Mac-ready