Gaming on the go has never been more thrilling if youíre an enthusiast who craves performance. On the CPU side, Intelís Pentium M processor is turning heads.
By combining the best attributes of the Pentium III with elements from the Pentium 4, Pentium M delivers performance competitive with the latest P4 chips, without the nasty power and heat issues that are now associated with Intelís latest high-end Pentium 4 processors. In fact, a lot of analysts have wondered aloud why Intel didnít adopt the Mís architecture instead of the Pentium 4.
On the graphics end, the situation is equally blissful. Whereas traditionally the introduction of a new mobile graphics chip has preceded its desktop counterpart by 9-12 months, more recently both ATI and NVIDIA have introduced their latest mobile offerings just a few months after the equivalent desktop part launches.
ATIís MOBILITY RADEON X700 is a perfect example of this. ATIís PR announcing the MOBILITY RADEON X700 hit the wire in mid-January Ė thatís approximately four months after the RADEON X700 launched on the desktop! In our performance preview of the chip, we were extremely impressed by its performance. In our testing, it outperformed a fully-fledged RADEON 9700 PRO desktop card in many tests, leading us to conclude that ďATI not only trumps the RADEON 9700 PRO, they do it in a package thatís intended for use in notebooks that can easily fit on your lap.Ē
Thatís pretty remarkable considering that a year ago, the 4-pipeline MOBILITY RADEON 9700 was considered to be the fastest DX9 chip out there in the mobile space.
As its name implies, the MOBILITY RADEON X700 (MRX700) is based on ATIís X700 RV410 VPU on the desktop. The MOBILITY RADEON X700 supports all the key features found in its desktop cousin, most notably being the chipís 8-pixel pipeline architecture with six vertex shaders backing them up. ATI relies on the same 0.11-micron manufacturing process used for RADEON X700, with a 128-bit memory interface. Notebook manufacturers can choose between DDR1, DDR2, or GDDR3 memory types, with memory configurations of 64MB or 128MB being the most popular.
Since itís a mobile graphics offering, the key changes ATI has incorporated into the chip are related to conserving power and heat. To help accomplish this, ATI uses lower clocks for the MOBILITY RADEON X700: 350MHz on the graphics core and 350MHz memory (700MHz effective). In addition, underlying changes are also important.
Thanks to PowerPlay 5.0, MRX700 can dynamically power down parts of the graphics core which arenít in use (such as the 3D engine), while technologies such as Vari-Bright and Low Power LCD technologies adjustís the LCD panelís brightness and refresh rate for greater power savings. The chip can even dynamically adjust PCI Express lane usage, when the graphics core is idling, the number of PCI Express lanes used by the graphics core can be reduced from 16 to just 1, conserving battery power. Once the graphics core is being taxed, it kicks back into gear running in x16 mode.
But enough about the graphics core, how does it perform in a thin and light notebook? Thatís what weíre here today to find out.