by Anton Shilov
02/25/2004 | 10:57 AM
NVIDIA Corporation announced Wednesday two new multimedia co-processors for mobile phones as well as a 3D graphics core for use in cellular handsets. Both introductions reflect NVIDIA’s aggressive intention to enter the market of handheld applications with rich multimedia capabilities.
The mobile phone of today is evolving into a full fledged multimedia device where voice becomes just one of many different capabilities offered. The main point of every phone – to communicate with other people – still remains. Thanks to integrated cameras and powerful MPEG4 codecs communications are now ready to go forward to a new level – shortly, we will not only be able to hear out interlocutors, but to see him or her – something that used to be fantastic just 10 – 15 years ago. Besides communication, mobile phones can also be used for a myriad of multimedia applications, such as digital photography, video capturing, game-playing and so on.
While some high-end smartphones are capable of delivering everything mentioned above out now, they cost too lot for the majority of end-users. In order to pack all the latest and greatest features into tiny and stylish mobiles, the industry needs fully-integrated multimedia co-processors and that is why the two multimedia and graphics experts, ATI and NVIDIA, are here.
NVIDIA’s GoForce 4000 and GoForce 3000 multimedia chips are capable of all anticipated features that may be needed later this year and in 2005, including advanced 2D engine with hardware support for 2 displays, camera support with digital zoom, JPEG encode/decode, MPEG decode for 352x288@30fps video playback, SD/SDIO support and so on.
The GoForce 3000 is designed for more or less mainstream handheld applications, such as those for youth. The part sports a 2MP camera module, 480x320 maximum display resolution, 320KB embedded memory along with above-mentioned generally-expected capabilities. The GoForce 4000 is a mobile powerhouse that sports a 3MP camera module, video-conferencing, 640x480 maximum display resolution, 640KB embedded memory as well as features available on 3000 model.
The NVIDIA GoForce 4000 and GoForce 3000 incorporate NVIDIA’s nPower technology for power-saving, which leverages activity-based clocking techniques, dedicated algorithm processing and on-die ultra-low power video and display memory to maximize talk time.
The GoForce 4000 is made using 0.15 micron process and packed in 168-pin 10x10mm package. It boasts 1.425-1.575V core voltage and 1.71V to 3.60V I/O voltage.
The GoForce 4000 and 3000 are currently sampling and phones will be available later this year, NVIDIA said.
In addition to multimedia co-processors, the Santa Clara, California-based graphics company unveiled its AR10 core it plans to license to 3rd parties. The AR10 core features the industry's first shader instruction set for handheld devices. Shaders offer two fundamental benefits for handsets – reduced storage and power, and advanced cinematic visual effects, according to NVIDIA. With native hardware geometry acceleration, the AR10 core completely supports industry standard OpenGL ES and Direct3Dm APIs. In addition, the AR10 incorporates NVIDIA’s patent-pending nPower technology, which saves battery time.