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Nvidia Corp., a major graphics chip supplier, will introduce cost-effective chips with support for copyright protection technology produced using thin fabrication process. The new graphics processing units (GPUs) will enable affordable graphics cards for multimedia personal computers equipped with Blu-ray or HD DVD optical drives.

The GPU developer reportedly readies code-named G73-B1 (GeForce 7600-series) and G72 (GeForce 7300-series) chips produced using 80nm process technology at TSMC or UMC, reports HKEPC web-site. The chips are positioned for graphics cards that have high definition multimedia interface (HDMI) connector and support high-bandwidth copyright protection (HCDP) technology.

The G73-B1 reportedly has special logic inside, which mixes audio and video streams for HDMI, which can transfer both video and audio data using the same cable. This should allow graphics cards makers to build graphics boards with HDMI connector without additional chip, such as SiliconImage 1930 or similar processor from other makers. The company reportedly has plans to add the aforementioned functionality only into the G73-B1, thus, into the GeForce 7600-series of the GPUs, not into the GeForce 7300 or the GeForce 7900 families.

80nm process technology, which is an optical shrink of the proven 90nm fabrication process, should allow Nvidia to increase clock-speed potential of its chips and lower the manufacturing costs too. Rival ATI Technologies is also working on several GPUs produced using 80nm process technology, which should be available commercially in early Q4.

In order to track-down the piracy, movie studios insisted to implement HDCP onto content distributed using the Blu-ray and HD DVD media. Typically, the playback of HDCP content should include an HDCP transmitter (computer or player), a digital interface (DVI or HDMI) and an HDCP receiver (a display or a TV-set). The content is encrypted at the transmitter and the signal is transmitted to the HDCP receiver a special bus where it is decrypted before viewing. Both the transmitter and the receiver should comply with the standard, otherwise, it was planned to limit the output resolution – using so-called image constraint token (ICT) – to 540p (960x540), which is a bit better than 720x480 resolution of typical DVDs, but far from high-definition 1080i or 1080p (1920x1080) resolutions. Nevertheless, recently it was reported that movie studios decided not to implement the ICT just yet, hence, high-definition videos should play even without HDCP.

Nvidia did not comment on the news-story.

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