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NVIDIA is ready to deliver on last week's promise

When we think of notebook computers which use Intel Pentium Dual Core, Core 2 Solo, or Core 2 Duo processors, the systems are usually paired with an Intel Northbridge and Southbridge. Intel hopes to carry on this tradition with its Centrino 2 platform which is slated to launch during the summer.

NVIDIA, however, has plans of its own when it comes to mobile platforms for Intel-based notebooks. NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang recently called Intel out on its integrated desktop/mobile graphics performance. Huang even went so far as to say that NVIDIA would "open a can of whoop ass" when it comes to its upcoming products.

It appears that NVIDIA's first few cans of "whoop ass" are just now leaving the factory and they are labeled MCP79. MCP79 is a new single-chip integrated chipset for "small form factor" notebooks according to NVIDIA. Each variant of MCP79 incorporates a DX10-capable GeForce graphics controller supporting Shader Model 4.0, NVIDIA's VP3 video processor, and support for Hybrid Power/Hybrid SLI/Hybrid Performance.

In addition, MCP79 features a single-channel TMDS interface for HDMI 1.2, support for a 1066 MHz FSB, 800 MHz DDR2, 1333 MHz DDR3 memory support, 3 Gbps SATA/eSATA, NVIDIA DriveCache (similar to Intel Turbo Memory), an NVIDIA GbE controller, High Definition Audio, TPM 1.2, and up to 20 PCIe 2.0 lanes.

NVIDIA has plans for six members of the MCP79 family. On the low-end, the MCP79ML lacks such features as RAID 0/1, PCIe x16, DisplayCache, and DriveCache. The MCP79GLM will feature a Quadro-based graphics controller instead of GeForce and the MCP79-SLI will support NVIDIA SLI as its name implies. Other members of the family include the MCP79MH, MCP79MX, and MCP79MVL.

NVIDIA's MCP79 family will be going toe-to-toe with Intel's Centrino 2 platform (Montevina) in June. Montevina Northbridges will include the integrated GM45/GM47 and the discrete PM45. The integrated Northbridges will incorporate Intel's new X4500 HD graphics processor (DX10, HDMI, DisplayPort) which NVIDIA doesn't think too highly of at this point in time. Like NVIDIA's MCP79, Centrino 2 chipset will support DDR2/DDR3 memory and support FSB's up to 1066MHz.

Since the Centrino platform won't be a single-chip solution like NVIDIA's offering, the GM45/GM47 and PM45 will be paired with either the ICH9M or ICH9-M Enhanced Southbridge.

It's shaping up to be an interesting summer with NVIDIA and Intel battling it out in the notebook platform sector. If flash manufacturers could expedite their downward trend for solid-state drives, the outlook would be even better for consumers.

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RE: Will it support HD audio over HDMI?
By omnicronx on 4/24/2008 1:28:51 AM , Rating: 2
Read this part in the hdmi spec.
7.1 Relationship with IEC 60958/IEC 61937

It all has to do with the process they call 'Audio Sample Clock Capture and Regeneration'

Audio data being carried across the HDMI link, which is driven by a TMDS clock running at a rate corresponding to the video pixel rate, does not retain the original audio sample clock. The task of recreating this clock at the Sink is called Audio Clock Regeneration.

I took me a few minutes to actually wrap my head around it, so I know how confusing it sounds.
Whenever transmitting a valid audio stream, HDMI Sources shall always include valid and correct information in Channel Status bits 24 through 27. For L-PCM audio, these bits shall indicate the audio sample frequency. For compressed audio formats, these bits shall indicate the IEC 60958 frame rate. An HDMI audio stream shall only indicate values shown in Table 7-4. Note that the allowed values do not include the IEC 60958-specified “Sample frequency not indicated” value.
(you need to see the table)

Simply put the audio stream is sent down as part of the video stream, but they are able to change the audio sample clock speed but in the end both bitstream and lpcm are sent down in similar ways. It simply comes down to the fact that HDMI 1.2 devices do not support IEC 60958 formats and HDMI 1.3 does.

Whether or not this is because the new formats were not finalized in time, or some other reason is up in the air, I doubt anyone except for the guys at HDMI consortium, and Dolby/DTS know for sure.

By omnicronx on 4/24/2008 1:46:56 AM , Rating: 2
*support IEC 61937 formats and HDMI 1.3 does.*
I am still not convinced the TMDS bandwidth increase is actually needed for bitstream, although for deep colour, xvYCC and other 1.3 features it is probably required. (and don't get me started on deep colour, which is useless unless you have an expensive 1080p sony camcorder or you are waiting for the next iteration of consoles, as both the BD and ATSC spec only support colour depths up to 8bit, and thats never going to change)

"This is from the It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh

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