Nvidia Editors Day
It’s All About MXM!
NVIDIA proudly displayed their top to bottom mobile graphics solutions during the event. In late 2004 mobile platforms are basically starting from scratch, due to the move from an AGP bus to the faster PCI Express bus. Nvidia highlighted that one of the largest problems with notebooks and graphics was the time to market factor. Since each notebook chassis is virtually unique the lag time between new technology being implemented on shipping notebooks used to take months. Enter the MXM (Mobile PCI eXpress Module) socket, which will allow for a uniform system and therefore will allow notebooks to be built without having to worry about what is coming down the pipes from ATI and NVIDIA. Once the MXM systems start hitting the shelves in 2005 expect future mobile processor launches on the same day that the desktop cards are launched! That is a huge improvement for time to market and will benefit everyone from the ODM’s to the consumer.
Upgrading MXM Cards?
When MXM was announced it was embraced by the gaming community as finally being something that would allow the video on notebooks to be upgradeable. Slow those thoughts down as it won’t be that simple! For starters there are three types of MXM cards: MXM 1, MXM 2, MXM 3. While they all have the same socket and GPU socket they differ in overall card size and Thermal Design Power (TDP) requirements. This means that if your notebook came with an MXM 2 card more than likely your chassis wont be able to fit an MXM3 card let alone handle the higher TDP rating. So, what does this mean in layman terms? If you had a Geforce GO 5600 64mb card you’d be able to upgrade to the next generation equivalent card, so in the case the 5650 or 5700 series. An upgrade to a Geforce GO 6800 would be out of the question since it is a different form factor. Of course with MXM you will also be able to change between ATI and NVIDIA MXM cards, but users will still have to observe the TDP and MXM card type to make sure it will work. The take home message here is if you buy an MXM notebook make sure you buy the right GPU/MXM form factor that you demand from the get go as it will make future graphics upgrades a breeze.
MXM GPU’s In Home Theatre PC’s? (HTPC)
It turns out that NVIDIA has more than just notebook plans for the versatile MXM slots. It is clear that NVIDIA is working on a reference design that will go in a low profile housings for the media center in a home near you. MXM will offer a thinner system case, lower thermal profiles, and less noise. With companies like DFI launching Dothan based desktop motherboards successfully the MXM socket could be the ace in the hole for HTPC users. For more information check out this news post by David (Fast Fingers) Ross who managed to break the article before NVIDIA made a full comment on it.