Introduction

We've been able to take a quick look at ATI's new high end mobile graphics part, formerly code-named M28 Pro. The Mobility Radeon X800 XT is essentially another speed boost in mobile graphics. This time around, we see an increase in the number of pipelines from 12 in the MR X800 to 16. Aside from the 33% increase in the number of pixel pipes, this part is essentially the same as previous Mobility Radeon parts based on R420 hardware. For more information, please see our initial look at the MR X800.

This marks quite an occasion: on a hardware level, both NVIDIA and ATI mobile parts are just as powerful as their highest end desktop parts. The deciding factor in performance will be total power allocated to the graphics card in any given notebook. The only thing separating the ultra high end in the mobile and desktop worlds is now clock speed. This is indeed a landmark event, and with the push towards modular designs with AXIOM and MXM, we hope to see this paradigm hold. Hopefully, the upcoming generation of graphics cards will see an even faster move into the mobile space. But we must say that we aren't disappointed with what we see right now.

Yes, the market for the ultra high end in the mobile space isn't huge, but it's important to provide the option for those who want it. Even more useful is the fact that budget and mid-range mobile graphics based on the absolute latest technology is available because of the push in the high end. Now more notebook users can buy a product for business without worrying that any graphically intensive program will bring it to its knees. Top that off with a slice of notebooks outselling desktops last month (as per research done by Current Analysis), and the future is looking bright for mobile computing.

Workstation graphics parts have even made their way into notebooks. And the ones that we've seen are lighter than the Alienware box that we tested for this review. This has to be the heaviest, hottest-to-the-touch notebook that we have ever tested.

In addition, gamers who plan on using notebooks like this Alienware system will need to invest in a high quality sound system. The fan noise generated by the system rivaled even the loudest desktop systems that we've tested. It was startling to realize that, while holding a conversation with someone a few feet away from me, I had been shouting over the system to the point of discomfort.

The system stats are quite impressive. The Alienware Area-51M 7700 is a 3.8GHz Pentium 4 system with 1GB of RAM and a 1680x1050 panel. The featured part is, of course, the ATI Mobility Radeon X800 XT. The core and memory clock speeds of the MR X800 XT are 480MHz and 550MHz respectively.

Performance Overview
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  • Shadowmage - Monday, June 06, 2005 - link

    Damn i just noticed that the article even failed to mention the CLOCK SPEEDS it was running at! :(

    Remember that laptop manufacturers love to mess with the clock speeds to artificially enhance battery life and heat.

    Also does it use DDR1 or DDR3?
    Reply
  • DerekWilson - Monday, June 06, 2005 - link

    heh ... fixed the second incorrect use of 1024x768 :-)

    Reply
  • Shadowmage - Monday, June 06, 2005 - link

    #2: The Prescott will take at least 110W, but the X800XT Mobility will actually use less power than the 6800 Ultra go: 35W vs 66W! Reply
  • Shadowmage - Monday, June 06, 2005 - link

    Jeez, you're using a default Sager notebook which SUPPORTS the standard X800 Mobility AND the 6800 go (but not the ultra).

    I like to see it compared to both of those for a few more benchmarks, please.
    Reply
  • bhtooefr - Monday, June 06, 2005 - link

    No, you didn't ;-)

    "We tested the Alienware system at both 1280x1024 and 1680x1050 (the panel's native resolution). As we can clearly see, the ATI Mobility Radeon X800 XT is no slouch when it comes to pushing pixels around. The **1024x768** numbers are great, but on a notebook like this everyone will want to run native resolution."
    Reply
  • DerekWilson - Monday, June 06, 2005 - link

    fixed the 1024x768 typo -- thanks Reply
  • Warder45 - Monday, June 06, 2005 - link

    Typo on the performance page. Is it 1024x768 you tested at or 1280x1024?

    I have to agree with #3, since Alienware is not locked into intel like dell, they should have gone the A64 route. However even that seems dumb when the Dell XPS with a Pentium-M chip did just as well as a desktop system, and without the heat and noise.

    The only thing keeping me back is battery life. If I could get 4+ hours of full gametime on one battery I'd be good, but 2 hours is just too short.
    Reply
  • Icehawk - Monday, June 06, 2005 - link

    A buddy was looking at this machine - looking at the spec's I said it has got to be a nut roaster!

    Interesting that both NV and ATI's laptop products are actually faster than the desktop equivalent from all appearances by a small margin.

    Definitely cool to see that laptops could eventually become the main type of consumer machine with faster 2.5" HDs and these new gen VCs.
    Reply
  • gibhunter - Monday, June 06, 2005 - link

    Stupid decision on Alienware's part. Why go with P4 when a similar level of performance can be achieved with mobile A64 or high end Centrino part and the fan noise could be lessened by a great deal with either of those CPUs. Not to battery life and heat output. P4 3800 is a freaking oven. I wouldn't be surprised if you could cook eggs on the underside of that laptop. Reply
  • snedzad - Monday, June 06, 2005 - link

    I wonder about TDP rating of this "laptop". Who needs this machine, really?

    Reply

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