Today’s high-end notebooks ship with cutting-edge hardware. You’ve got desktop Pentium 4 processors running at speeds of 3.4GHz (while mobile Athlon 64 tops out at 3400+), 7200 RPM hard drives, and high-end SXGA and UXGA displays. But many gamers would argue that the missing link has been graphics – the latest high-end desktop graphics processors are nowhere to be found in mobile systems, the power requirements and heat output have been too excessive for use in laptops. Until now that is. ATI’s MOBILITY RADEON 9800 brings the technology found in ATI’s flagship RADEON X800 to the mobile world.
We first previewed
the MOBILITY RADEON 9800 a little over a month ago, so we won’t rehash everything again. The key points to remember are its 8-pixel pipeline architecture with four vertex pipelines, and 256-bit memory interface. While it may not have the 16 pipes found in X800 XT Platinum Edition, 8 pipelines is still an impressive figure that was only eclipsed recently. MOBILITY RADEON 9800 also supports 3Dc and SMARTSHADER HD, which features 2.0b shaders.
MOBILITY RADEON 9800 chip
ATI clocks the MOBILITY RADEON 9800’s core at 350MHz. This is 25MHz higher than RADEON 9700 PRO and 30MHz shy of RADEON 9800 PRO. Meanwhile, its 256MB of memory operates at 300MHz (600MHz effective). Quad 64-bit memory controllers provide up to 19.2GB/sec of memory bandwidth.
Both of these figures are important, as most high-end notebooks sport hi-res 1600x1200 (and up) displays. Previous mobile graphics offerings just didn’t have the horsepower to run at these resolutions with adequate performance, but thanks to the MOBILITY RADEON 9800 PRO’s 8-pipe core providing up to 2.8 Gigatexels/second and its 600MHz memory, gaming at the native resolution of your notebook’s display is finally feasible; hopefully with a little anti-aliasing (AA) and/or anisotropic filtering (AF) as well.
That’s what we’re here today to find out. We recently got our hands on a fully-equipped
Dell Inspiron XPS notebook. This is Dell’s top-of-the line notebook with a desktop Pentium 4 “Prescott” 3.4GHz, 2GB of DDR400 memory, and a 1920x1200 display. Dell clocks MOBILITY RADEON 9800 at the full ATI specs of 350MHz core/300MHz memory, ensuring top notch performance. We paired it against a similarly-equipped desktop 865PE system