M26 graphics core
As its name implies, MOBILITY RADEON X700 is based on ATIís desktop RADEON X700 part, youíve got the same 8 pixel pipeline core architecture with one texture unit per pixel pipeline (8x1). MOBILITY RADEON X700 also retains the X700ís six vertex units, which is the same number found in ATIís high-end RADEON X800s.
ATI clocks the graphics core at 350MHz, this is only 70MHz slower than ATIís RADEON X700 PRO on the desktop. Paired alongside this is 128MB of memory, also running at 350MHz (700MHz effective).
The interesting part about this is that at 350MHz core/350MHz memory and with an 8-pipeline core, the fill rate of MOBILITY RADEON X700 is actually greater than ATIís RADEON 9700 PRO on the desktop. The chip lacks the RADEON 9700 PROís 256-bit memory interface, but features a more powerful vertex processing engine. In testing with the desktop RADEON X700 PRO, weíve found the chip is capable of dusting the RADEON 9800 PRO in some cases, and, in the right conditions, can even challenge the RADEON 9800 XT. In theory, since the MOBILITY RADEON X700 is fairly similar to the RADEON X700 PRO, it should be capable of giving RADEON 9700 PRO a run for its money.
This is pretty impressive when you consider how diminutive thin and light notebooks are: a six pound notebook PC could potentially spank a high-end desktop PC from a few years ago!
But big performance from a small package isnít all that MOBILITY RADEON X700 brings to the table. Like MOBILITY RADEON X800, MRX700 features ATIís POWERPLAY 5.0 technology, including clock gating and dynamic lane count switching (DLCS). This new feature in particular reduces the number of PCI Express lanes used by the graphics core from 16 to just 1, conserving battery power. Once the graphics core is being taxed, it kicks back into gear running in x16 mode.
ATI also expects some notebook manufacturers will pair MOBILITY RADEON X700 with their THEATER 550 chip via the AXIOM-TV module. This combo adds TV tuning capability, making it perfect for use with Microsoftís Windows Media Center Edition.
In order to see how the MOBILITY RADEON X700 compares to similar solutions on the desktop, we specifically requested ATI send us an MRX700 reference card, rather than showcasing a notebook featuring the technology. This way we can do direct comparisons with todayís desktop graphics solutions. We also included a RADEON 9700 PRO 128MB. Not only is the 9700 PRO a popular solution, weíve found in our testing last summer that it performs similarly to a MOBILTY RADEON 9800, so we can draw comparisons to the MRX700 versus previous ATI mobile solutions from 2004.
Also we definitively wanted to know if a thin and light MRX700 notebook PC could keep up with a high-end rig from a few years ago; by including the RADEON 9700 PRO in our tests we get a firm answer!