NVIDIA Unleashes NV45 Graphics Processor

NVIDIA Places HSI on NV40 Chip

by Anton Shilov
06/02/2004 | 06:10 AM

NVIDIA Corporation is showcasing a new high-end product at Computex Taipei 2004 show in Taiwan. The newcomer is called NV45 and has support for emerging PCI Express x16 graphics bus, indicating NVIDIA’s ability to serve innovative personal computers with up-to-date graphics technology.


NVIDIA NV45 – NV40 with PCI Express?

The new graphics processor code-named NV45 will continue the competitive race between NVIDIA Corp. and its arch-rival ATI Technologies, who unveiled a lineup of PCI Express x16-supporting graphics processors. While typically NVIDIA’s products which code-names end with 5 (e.g., NV15, NV25, etc) have something different from the original series of chips which code-names end with 0 (e.g., NV10, NV20, etc), the NV45 processor is not likely to bring anything extra compared to the NV40 graphics processing unit unveiled in mid-April.

The revamped NV45 will differ from the product known as GeForce 6800 Ultra with a special HSI chip placed on the substrate near the graphics processor, AnandTech web-site said. This effectively means that the NV45 is still an AGP chip, but since it will be supplied already equipped with the HSI bridge, it will be compatible with PCI Express x16 applications. Earlier NVIDIA GeForce PCX product-line intended for PCI Express computers had the bridge chip placed onto the PCB of the graphics card, not directly on the substrate of the graphics processor.

It is not clear whether the graphics processor code-named NV45 will have any architectural changes versus the presently shipping GeForce 6800-series chips.

The NVIDIA GeForce 6800-series of chips unveiled in mid-April are the company’s flagship products in the GeForce 6-series of graphics processors. The GeForce 6-series of graphics processors will be eventually available across entry-level, mainstream, performance-mainstream, high-end as well as so-called ultra high-end graphics cards. The new series of NVIDIA’s graphics processors is the company’s second generation lineup of DirectX 9.0-compatible offerings that greatly leverage the feature-set of NVIDIA GeForce FX graphics chips and brings important additional capabilities, such as Shader Model 3.0, as well as great performance improvements over the previous generation hardware.

New Power Connector Required

The new PCI Express graphics cards, including the NVIDIA NV45 and ATI RADEON X800-series will make use of a new type of 12V power connector to pour some extra power for high-performance graphics processors. Initially graphics cards makers plan to supply a special adapter that allows connecting widely-available Molex connectors to the new add-in cards, but eventually new power supply units are likely to provide the new type of connector for graphics cards.

Current high-end graphics cards from NVIDIA – the GeForce 6800 Ultra – have two Molex power connectors, while ATI’s RADEON X800-series products need only one Molex power cord.

Shipping Dates Unclear

Even though NVIDIA seems to demonstrate the code-named NV45 product now, a company’s spokesman said “NV45 is not a public product” and declined to comment on its specifications or shipping dates.

Various sources name Q3 2004, Q4 2004 and even Q1 2005 as presumable shipping dates for the NV45 part.

NVIDIA needs high-performance graphics technology to address the enthusiast and professional markets as soon as possible, as computer enthusiasts and workstation professionals are likely to be among the first to get the new PEG x16 platforms and powerful graphics cards for them starting from late June 2004.

ATI Technologies ships top-to-bottom family of PCI Express x16 visual processing units later this month.