updated 09:30 am EDT, Fri April 4, 2008
NVIDIA GeForce 9M Leak
NVIDIA's planned replacements for the rest of the GeForce 9M notebook graphics line have been leaked, courtesy of driver information surfacing in the latest beta of the company's ForceWare graphics drivers. While some early versions of the mobile video hardware are already in use by ASUS and others, the new leak shows several new models that are likely to replace the majority of 8M graphics chipsets in current portables. Significantly, the lineup includes mid-range GeForce 9600M GS and GT chipsets, which are most likely to surface in replacements for systems that already use 8600M parts, such as the Dell XPS M1530 and Apple's MacBook Pro.
Other chips are believed to serve as drop-in substitutes for both high-end and budget notebooks. The 9700M line will serve as the fastest available for systems that still need a moderate level of portability, while the 9800M line will directly replace the 8800M series in desktop replacements such as the Gateway FX series or the HP Pavilion HDX. A new top workstation graphics chip, the Quadro FX 3700M, is also listed in the drivers, as are budget GeForce 9200M, 9300M, and 9400M models.
The 9M series is expected to serve as an incremental upgrade regardless of part and chiefly optimizes the performance of earlier 8M parts by using a smaller 65 nanometer manufacturing process. The smaller chips allow the parts to run more efficiently and are said to let NVIDIA ramp up clock speeds without increasing the power and heat output compared to previous models.
NVIDIA hasn't provided clues as to the release dates of any of its GPUs, but may time them to release with or near Intel's Centrino 2 platform in June.