Nvidia today unveiled the GoForce 5500 handheld graphics processing unit, intended to provide high-quality graphics for mobile phones and PDAs.
Nvidia is touting this as the industry’s first handheld GPU to playback H.264, WMV9 and MPEG-4 video up to D1 resolution at 30 frames per second (fps). The GPU is compatible with major mobile TV standards including DVB-H, ISDB-T, and DMB networks, features high fidelity surround sound, and crossfade and multistream technologies help to prevent breaks between songs and music cut out when the ringtone is activated.
Besides the obvious in improving graphics, the 5500 also aims to improve the sound on mobile devices, including features such as cross-fading between tracks. This will be useful for pausing music playback when a phone call comes in, for example. According to Nvidia, the audio quality of the 5500 is "professional".
"The signal to noise inside our GPU is purely determined by the math precision," Ballew said. "The theoretical limit of 24-bit math for signal-to-noise ratio is ~148dB. Professional quality D/A and A/D equipment can deliver ~110dB-120dB. The signal to noise ratio of the analog audio signal that the end users actually hears will depend on which DAC is used, but will generally be a 16-bit DAC, with a theoretical max of ~96dB (or ~93dB with the dithering used on 16-bit CD audio)."
Nvidia’s new chip has received support from major game developers including Id Software, which will demonstrate its "Quake III" on a phone with the GoForce 5500 at 3GSM.
The GoForce 5500 adds support for the h.264 codec and externally stacked SRAM (static random access memory) chips to the GoForce line of handheld graphics chips, first unveiled in 2003. It will allow phone makers to boost screen resolution to 1,024 by 768 pixels, and is capable of taking up to 10-megapixel photos in rapid succession.
These GPUs just get smaller and faster as time goes on, don’t they?