As the GeForce 7 series comes to a close with the impending launch of the G80 and the GeForce 8 series, NVIDIA has been fleshing out the last bits of its product line, setting up a unique GeForce card for nearly every price point. Last month we saw the introduction of the 7950GT and the 7900GS on the desktop, and this month the mobile space gets a new product with the introduction of the GeForce Go 7950 GTX.

As with the other products in the fall refresh, NVIDIA isn't introducing anything significantly new here and the Go 7950 GTX is no exception. As can be expected with the name change, the only differences here are the core and memory speeds, with NVIDIA taking advantage of the mature 90nm production process to bin faster chips that won't use more power. In this case the Go 7950 GTX is a drop-in replacement for the Go 7900 GTX, maintaining the same 45W power consumption rating. The 7950 GTX is clocked at 575/1400, compared to 500/1200 for the 7900 GTX, which results in the 7950 GTX being about 15% faster on paper than the 7900 GTX. Compared to desktop cards, it's clocked slightly higher than a base-speed 7950GT and should perform similarly.

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Since this is just a speed bump, NVIDIA is still shooting for the desktop replacement market with the 7950 GTX. With some of these machines approaching a dozen pounds in weight, the goal isn't battery life or easy portability so much as it is how powerful a computer can be put into a laptop case. Accordingly, NVIDIA sees the target market for the 7950 GTX being LAN party-goers, who want to take their gaming computer with them but find full sized desktops and separate peripherals too much to move at once. These people also need to be willing to pay top prices for gaming laptops. Since these laptops won't be used away from a power outlet or on a lap often, the relatively high power usage and heat output of the 7950 GTX over NVIDIA's more power-conservative products isn't a problem.

NVIDIA is offering SLI support once again for the 7950 GTX, although they are not doing so immediately. Considering that most SLI GeForce Go setups are using the cooler 7900GS, this may have something to do with power, though we can't be sure. Also, NVIDIA is continuing to offer support for these high-end mobile GPUs in their official drivers so that gamers aren't stuck waiting on official vendor updates which can be a problem with new games requiring a driver update. Last, as with all NVIDIA mobile GPUs, the 7950 GTX does have PowerMizer support, so when it is running on batteries the GPU's power usage is kept in check.

While this is a hard launch, we do not yet have the hardware in our hands so we won't have any benchmarks. In-line with past GeForce Go launches Dell is currently the only manufacturer offering a shipping laptop with the new GPU, offering it exclusively on their XPS M1710. We took a look at an earlier revision of the M1710 back in April, so performance should be comparable, taking into account the use of a Core 2 CPU and the 7950 GTX. As of this writing there's an additional 4 day wait for M1710's using the 7950 GTX, so the supply is fairly tight for a hard launch. Dell is initially charging a $150 price premium for the 7950 GTX over the 7900 GTX, though we expect this to come down slightly as more manufacturers ship 7950 GTX-equipped laptops.

With the launch of the GeForce Go 7950 GTX, NVIDIA has effectively finished filling out its GeForce 7 product line. Although still slower than the fastest desktop cards due to the requirements of a mobile form factor, the 7950 GTX should be more than powerful enough to hold over most laptop gamers for now. The next significant performance increase will not occur until next year, after NVIDIA has launched the GeForce 8 series and starts producing mobile parts based off of it.

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  • Wolfpup - Saturday, October 21, 2006 - link

    I'm wondering if this will be the highest-end GPU for a long time, or if the Geforce 8800GTX will come out within a few months. It sort of sounds like it it will-one site was claiming it's launch is in November along with the desktop part, in which case Dell will probably have it this year.

    Geforce 8800GTX, a fast Core 2, and Vista sounds like a pretty future proof notebook!
  • slivver - Thursday, October 19, 2006 - link

    I know of at least one other notebook manufacturer Rock Direct"> who can supply these GPUs.

    I have had mine along with an Intel Core 2 Duo T7600 2.33GHz since the start of September in the form of an Xtreme CTX Pro laptop and this bad boy flys; perfect for all those evening spent in hotel rooms working away from home.

    I have included a few benchmarks below taken on the system the only change I made from the delivered system was to install the ForceWare Release 80 Version: 84.63 drivers, which are the most recent supported mobile drivers.

    3DMark2001 / SE
    34340 -">

    19909 -">

    8714 -">

    4952 -">

    Super PI / mod1.5 XS
    Size -- Time -------- Checksum
    016K - 00m 00.203s - 46D495B2
    032K - 00m 00.437s - 1D11F4F0
    064K - 00m 00.937s - 1694E700
    128K - 00m 02.031s - C2633E79
    256K - 00m 04.437s - C7456F70
    512K - 00m 09.875s - 6BF146FB
    01M - 00m 21.984s - 569CA49E
    02M - 00m 55.328s - 55096249
    04M - 02m 10.093s - 29846EBE
    08M - 04m 54.750s - 4BD6C113
    16M - 11m 01.734s - 8D8BD4F5
    32M - 24m 17.000s - 99149563
  • Nfarce - Wednesday, October 18, 2006 - link

    I have looked all over from NewEgg to Zipzoomfly, and I cannot find any GeForce Go card for sale anywhere to upgrade from my Dell E1705's ATI x1400. Just damn. They've got the Core 2 Duo upgrade chip to replace the Centrino Core duo, but no video card. I need to upgrade to a desktop replacement gaming rig for travelling please.
  • Wolfpup - Saturday, October 21, 2006 - link

    You can't buy GPUs for notebooks like that. All notebook GPUs have to be purchased from the company that makes the notebook, and there are only a handful of notebooks that can potentially be upgraded (mostly Dell's stuff), and then only to other GPUs that were also offered on that system, and only if the company will sell it to you.

    In other words, you need to buy a notebook with as powerful a GPU as you can, because that's pretty much it.

    In the case of the e1705, if you can get Dell to sell you the part, the version of the 7900GS made for the e1705 is the only upgrade, and is still a huge boost over a low end Radeon x1400.
  • yacoub - Wednesday, October 18, 2006 - link

    How much RAM is onboard with this GPU? I don't see the RAM count listed on that chart for any of the cards, in fact, just the type of RAM (GDDR1-3).
  • abakshi - Wednesday, October 18, 2006 - link

    I find it strange/amusing that ATI just seems to have given up the high-end mobile market. Sure, the mid-range and low-end cards like the Mobility X1300/1400 and X1600/1700 probably generate a lot of volume, but high-end cards probably give higher margins - not to mention the halo effect.

    What happened after the Mobility Radeon X1800 fizzled out?
  • Basilisk - Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - link

    A bit vague. Are you asserting the rumored/delayed G73-[N/H]-B1 chip, anticipated as a 7650 product, is dead? Or are you only focussed on the mobile line? Given the price/power demands of the GF8's premier product, I expect we'll see the GF7 series, and possibly new products, for awhile.
  • rawr1234 - Monday, October 16, 2006 - link

    Come on you forgot about the new 7900GTO
  • IntelUser2000 - Monday, October 16, 2006 - link

    Why do the high-end graphics cards have PowerMizer, etc anyway?? All they need is two states, full power with games, and lowest power for everything else. People disable the power saving features anyway.

    Question to anyone knowledgeable: Why is number of ROPs used in calculating Pixel fill rate?? Isn't it dependent on Pixel pipelines, not ROP?? The chart indicates Pixel fill rate is limited by ROP while Texel fill rate is limited by pixel pipelines?? Why does graphics companies do that??
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - link

    Pixel fill rate is the final determination of how many pixels can be output, and not every texel ends up making it to pixel stage. So if you have 24 PP and 24 ROPs, it's likely that the extra 8 ROPs really wouldn't do much for performance. ATI and NVIDIA are both going with 16 ROP designs at the top end (though G80 and R600 may change that), so it seems a safe bet that ROPs are not a performance limiting factor given the number of pixel pipelines.

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