Enhanced manufacturing process
Unlike MOBILITY 9600, whose M10 graphics core was centered around the desktop RADEON 9600, MOBILITY 9700 is based on ATIís follow-up chip, RADEON 9600 XT.
If you recall the design of RADEON 9600 XT, the key difference between it and RADEON 9600 is its 0.13-micron manufacturing process with low-k dielectric material. The addition of low-k reduces the 9600 XTís power draw, as less power is wasted from crosstalk, especially when higher clock speeds are reached. Another added benefit ATI has gained from the introduction of low-k is that the chip generates less heat.
These two benefits are especially important in mobile systems, where heat and power are two important obstacles that must be overcome in any graphics chip design, so when ATI saw their RADEON 9600 XT core pay off so well they were eager to move the technology into the mobile space. Hence, MOBILITY 9700 was born.
ATI starts the MOBILITY 9700 off with their M11 graphics core, which is fundamentally quite similar to ATIís RADEON 9600 XT on the desktop. Image quality is the same from both chips because of this. However, due to the stringent power and thermal requirements found in a laptop system, core and memory clocks arenít up to the same level as the RADEON 9600 XT on the desktop. ATI has specified a clock frequency range of 390MHz-450MHz on the M11 core. This is an improvement of at least 40MHz on the MOBILITY 9600 PRO, as most notebook manufacturers clock their MOBILITY 9600 PROís at 350MHz.
For memory, MOBILITY 9700 can be configured with up to 256MB of DDR memory operating between 200-260MHz (400MHz-520MHz effective). Memory clock frequency for MOBILITY 9700ís predecessor, MOBILITY 9600 PRO, topped out at 200MHz.
Thanks to these increased clock frequencies, MOBILITY 9700 offers improved performance in games, making it a better match for the high-end displays used on most desktop replacement notebooks, which run natively at higher screen resolutions. Also keep in mind that each notebook manufacturer will determine the final clocks for their specific mobile system depending on the market theyíre targeting and the power and thermal output theyíre willing to live with inside their system.
In comparison to ATIís desktop offerings, on paper MOBILITY 9700 falls somewhere between the RADEON 9600 PRO and RADEON 9600 XT. At up to 450MHz, MOBILITY 9700 has a very fast core, ATIís RADEON 9600 PRO is clocked at 400MHz while RADEON 9600 XT runs at 500MHz. MOBILITY 9700ís memory subsystem does fall a little short of RADEON 9600 PRO/XT though, both operate at 300MHz (600MHz effective).