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Tuesday, October 21, 2008, 07:00 am PT (10:00 am ET)

NVIDIA to join Mac gaming push, intros new desktop chipsets

With its new mobile chipset platform now embedded in each of Apple's notebook families, NVIDIA plans to step up its efforts to advance Mac game developments. Separately, the chipmaker has just announced similar GeForce 9400 and 9300 chipsets for desktop CPUs, which could find their way into new iMacs.

In support of Mac gaming

Speaking to bi-tech.net last week, NVIDIA General Manager for Notebook GPUs confirmed that his firm would proactively leverage its The Way It’s Meant To Be Played program to encourage developers to release more titles for Mac. He said NVIDIA would also push for cross-platform developers to schedule their Mac gaming releases much closer to their PC counterparts.

The Way It's Meant To Be Played, or TWIMTBP, is a five year-old program that helps game makers with game development and incorporating exclusive features that take advantage of the latest GeForce video cards. Developers who participate in the program are provide extensive guidelines on game performance optimizations and often co-brand their titles with a TWIMTBP splash screens.

New chipsets for desktops

On Monday, NVIDIA said its engineering team was presented with a challenge from an unnamed party, to "deliver a desktop GPU which integrates full system I/O and discrete-level performance in one-half the size of previous integrated graphics solutions."

The result is a new pair of GeForce 9400 and 9300 motherboard GPUs for desktop PCs running Intel processors. The 16-core CUDA-capable graphics architectures provide high-quality video playback with NVIDIA PureVideo HD technology, support for Hybrid SLI technology, and support for advanced audio and video connectivity, such as uncompressed LPCM 7.1 audio, dual-link DVI, and HDMI.

“We’ve combined the power of three different chips into one highly compact and efficient GPU,” said Drew Henry, general manager of MCP business unit at NVIDIA. “In doing so, we’ve redefined the level of performance people can expect from a motherboard solution to enrich visual computing experiences for mainstream systems. You can now have the performance of a discrete GPU in a small form factor PC.”

NVIDIA says the single-chip design has a much smaller footprint than competing chipsets, making it ideal for small form factor and ultra-slim media center PCs. Motherboards featuring the GeForce 9-Series are shipping this month from several motherboard vendors, the chipmaker said. A photo of a GeForce 9-equipped ASUS motherboard can be seen below.

ASUS


As would be expected, NVIDIA made no mention of Apple while announcing the new desktop chipsets, but is likely to be working with the Mac maker on new graphics solutions for a refreshed line of iMacs due shortly.