NVIDIA GeForce 8200 -
NVIDIA has been discreetly working on the GeForce 8200 for the past several months and introduced it at CES 2008. We have provided preliminary details on new features like HybridPower and Hybrid SLI (GeForce Boost) along with NVIDIA already providing early specifications on their website. The GeForce 8200 is shaping up to be a formidable competitor to the AMD 780G and from all indications an excellent uATX platform for SOHO or HTPC applications.
After posting some early comments about the 780G chipset, we had a flood of requests wondering about the HDMI output capabilities of the GeForce 8200. We will have further details later today but at this time the chipset is HDMI 1.3a "compliant". The mGPU does not support 12-bit or 16-bit deep color but meets the other video specific criteria. Also, 8-channel LPCM output is fully supported
but decoding of TrueHD and DTS-HD MA is not available. We are still trying to understand NVIDIA's translation on the lack of TrueHD/DTS-HD MA support.
We do understand the chipset will not decode these audio standards but what is still not confirmed is if TrueHD/DTS-HD MA streams can be passed to PowerDVD 7 Ultra (or other supporting software applications), decoded, and then passed on as multichannel LPCM or out to a supporting A/V receiver to be decoded. We hope to have a final answer later this morning. In the meantime, we have to continue to express our concerns about the lack of multichannel LPCM output over HDMI in the AMD 780G product. Intel has already introduced this feature in the G35 chipset and NVIDIA will be introducing it later this month or in early March.
The specifications and features of the 780G and GeForce 8200 are very similar and most users will probably be satisfied with either solution. However, when it comes HTPC duty, generally the more advanced features the better, and in this case having multichannel LPCM output is an important distinction. We will have to wait to compare the video quality of AMD's UVD technology to the revamped NVIDIA PureVideo HD engine along with Hybrid CrossFire versus Hybrid SLI, but right now it appears NVIDIA is a couple of steps ahead in the audio area.