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  • buzznut - Saturday, May 30, 2009 - link

    Looky there, I went and missed "bash AMD day"

    Damn, they're prolly still reeling.
  • Johnmcl7 - Friday, May 29, 2009 - link

    In the specs for this machine it lists an 8x DVDR drive initially, then refers to it as a blu-ray drive just further down - I assume the first entry should read bd-rom/dvd-r combo.

    I have to say the pictures are extremely disappointing as the main shots of the laptop are badly underexposed concealing most of the details. I do realise these machines are not easy to get a picture of but normally the pictures in reviews are pretty decent. It would be good to see some pictures with some standard items (DVD cases or something) when the laptop is open to get a better idea of the scale, I think the sleek look makes it look smaller than it is especially given it makes the D901C look small which I didn't think possible.

    As for the laptop itself I did consider one of these mainly because the price was good but decided against it due to the size/weight. I had a Dell XPS 2 then M1710 and I think that's really the upper limit to carry around with me. I have an XPS M1730 at the moment and it never leaves the house as combined with its huge powerpack makes it quite a bit bigger and heavier than the M1710, there's no way I would go bigger again.

    It's a shame to see the driver situation is so poor when the performance is clearly there, it's not very encouraging for other companies to pick up mobile ATI parts either.
  • mrbios - Friday, May 29, 2009 - link

    Jarred (or anyone who may purchase this notebook), I have a different Asus laptop that has the same multimedia touchpad, and I did find a way to disable it. Go into the Mouse control panel, go to Device Settings, expand tapping, click on tap zones, and uncheck "enable tap zones". Reply
  • garydale - Friday, May 29, 2009 - link

    Why is it so difficult to get good display drivers for games? The OpenGL interface is well defined so what's the problem with writing a driver for it that game developers can have confidence it will work according to spec.?

    Is this a case of the hardware manufacturers screwing up with the driver or the game developers trying to get around the API to work directly with the hardware or a bit of both? Frankly, I don't care. If I want to play a game on a computer, it should install and work just like any other piece of software or hardware.

    Hopefully AMD/ATI's release of details of their API will help bring stability and performance, at least for Linux games. Now will NVidia follow suit and allow the open source community to build their own drivers to end this proprietary "buggy driver" lunacy?
  • JarredWalton - Friday, May 29, 2009 - link

    I believe most of the driver updates are to optimize the way the GPU executes certain code. In theory, the drivers should run all code properly but not optimally. The reality, sadly, is that the "properly" part is only correct about 80% of the time with new titles. Add CrossFire into the mix and that seems to drop down to 50%. If you have a regular dual card CrossFire setup, disabling CrossFire in the CCC often solves compatibility issues, but that's not an option on the drivers I've received for the W90Vp.

    In the case of Empire: Total War it looked like the drivers were rendering properly on one card but not on the other. If I grabbed a screenshot via the PrintScreen button, everything looked correct, but looking at the screen only the landscaping and sky were always visible and correct. The units, trees, buildings, etc. were only visible about 10% of the frames, which pretty much means you can't play the game.
  • mbaroud - Friday, May 29, 2009 - link

    I own one the W90VP-A1.
    I have been dyingto update the drivers, it sucks running on OUTDATED drivers :(
  • nubie - Friday, May 29, 2009 - link

    If these are simply mobile desktop replacements why doesn't somebody get on making a desktop built into the screen already?

    And I don't mean the hideous monstrosity that is the Dell XP1.

    I am all for laptops, but this form factor is silly above 15.4" in my opinion.

    (that said, I love the tech, it is very cool.)
  • Jackattak - Friday, May 29, 2009 - link

    Dunno if you've been asleep for the past two years but just about every major PC manufacturer offers a desktop built-in to the screen nowadays, none of which are "hideous" (strictly my opinion, but I find it hard to find a screen "hideous", and that's essentially all these offerings are is a screen). Reply
  • garydale - Friday, May 29, 2009 - link

    It's generally cheaper and faster to run multiple desktops in the locations you need than to lug a "desktop replacement" around. Just keep your documents (and other settings) on a USB key or implement an Internet synchronization scheme.

    The simple fact is that you cannot get anything that can be reasonably called a laptop to match the performance of a desktop. Laptops don't have the space for multiple drives, they can't dissipate heat as well, and they certainly can't accommodate expansion.

    To get the same performance of a desktop in a mobile platform, you have to wait for the technology to become available then pay a premium for the privilege. People have been saying laptops are getting near desktop performance for decades. What is actually happening however is the price of admission for an application platform has been decreasing.

    You can get a resonable desktop today for what a hard drive would have cost you twenty years ago. However, if you want cutting edge power, you need a desktop or larger.
  • frozentundra123456 - Friday, May 29, 2009 - link

    The charts are technically labelled incorrectly. I believe for instance the first chart, black bar, means the ratio of nVidia performance to ATI, not percent improvement as it is labelled. Saying "102 percent improvement" actually means that the nVidia solution is twice as fast as the ATI, which from reading the rest of the article appears not to be what the author meant. The rest of the charts are labelled in this way also.

  • tynopik - Friday, May 29, 2009 - link

    the charts are a COMPLETE DISASTER

    the first few, I'm still not sure what they're trying to say

    the FRAPS charts are better, but:

    1: thousandth's of a frame per second? talk about unnecessary precision
    2. NO CONSISTENCY. different tests were run for each game, it's bizarre

    we have:
    - W90Vp OCed / W90Vp 1080p OCed / W90Vp (new drivers? who knows?)
    - OCed New Driver / OCed Init Driver / Initial Driver
    - OCed New w/o CCC / OCed New Driver / OCed Init Driver / Initial Driver

    3. The HD (1920x1080) benchmarks suddenly switch over to 1680x1050 with Mass Effect

    - even though you have 2 charts for 1680x1050 results (one on the 1080p page and one on Standard gaming page), the results don't match (for instance on the 1080p page it says the Q6600 had 51.674 fps in Mass Effect while on the standard page it says 53.375)

    I can tell it took a lot of time to run all these benchmarks on all these different platforms, but you have to FINISH!
  • JarredWalton - Friday, May 29, 2009 - link

    The 1080p Mass Effect listed as 1680x1050 is merely a typo. I'll correct the labeling of the initial charts - I didn't subtract the 100%, but it makes for an easier chart since there aren't negative values. The earlier poster is correct that it's a ratio, so 100% means equal performance. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, May 29, 2009 - link

    FWIW, I initially "finished" at 5:30AM. I have now edited the graphs, added a bit more commentary, and inserted a page analyzing the overclocking results of the W90Vp. Enjoy! Reply
  • strikeback03 - Monday, June 01, 2009 - link

    One more - last page first paragraph under the photo, I'm guessing you said "ear splitting" but Dragon has 'your spreading" there for the description of the volume levels. Reply
  • Jackattak - Friday, May 29, 2009 - link

    LOL poor Jarred... ;) Get some rest, mate!

    Thanks for the article. Was nice to see benches on a system like this. Why anyone would lug around a 17er I have no clue, though. I think the 15.4" form factor is the perfect balance of size/weight/performance.

    I just wish more manufacturers offered higher-end GPUs or at least gave more options for end user installable discrete GPUs (would love to slap a 8800M GT 512 in my XPS1530).
  • The0ne - Friday, May 29, 2009 - link

    I have a loaded vostro 17" with wuxga and it's very nice. However, lugging it around with me on oversea business trips can become tiresome. This thing is almost 12lbs O.o I can't imagine having this at all even if I wanted the specs.

    Most people don't realize those extra small lbs will drag you down sooner than you ever can realize :)
  • The0ne - Friday, May 29, 2009 - link

    Oh, and this comming from a guy that's actually in shape and built lol Reply
  • Golgatha - Friday, May 29, 2009 - link

    "ATI's Mobile Driver Program -- or Lack Thereof"

    Seriously, if they want to sell a multi-thousand dollar laptop, they better have drivers available the same day as the desktop GPUs. I can't imagine anyone buying a gaming laptop with anything but nVidia GPUs inside it.

    BTW, I have 4870 1GB cards in Crossfire on my desktop, so this isn't a post to just bash ATI. However, they do need to get with their industry partners and correct this issue fast.
  • Zoomer - Friday, May 29, 2009 - link

    Don't know what the fuss is about, I recall installing up to date ATi drivers on my 9600 mobility and possibly even the Rage 3D (can't really that well, unfortunately).

    *Requires mobility modder or inf editing.
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, May 30, 2009 - link

    The ATI Catalyst drivers on their website "install" without apparent issue, but they don't actually update the drivers - just the CCC. In the past, ATI may have provided drivers that would work with all of their chipsets, but that's not the case with modern GPUs as far as I can tell. Certainly, it's a problem with HD 4870 CrossFire. Reply
  • nubie - Friday, May 29, 2009 - link

    Well. . .

    If there was a PCI-e standard for mobile, then maybe you could choose your graphics and the laptops would have to work properly with standard drivers?

    What if you used DisplayPort for the interface to the display? Then you could plug in any graphics chip and it would work with the standard drivers.

    You would of course need "thermal" stages, where you had a cap on the amount of power that it could dissipate, but if you wanted to set your PC on a fan and cut out a vent you could move up.

    I think that a standard needs to be set already. There is no excuse for making a handful of extra or different pins, or form factors off by a few millimeters just so that you can't build your own system or upgrade it.

    I would hope that as time progresses you could put a faster chip on a smaller more advanced process into an older laptop, or just choose the exact graphics you want (IE less powerful) in a system with the processing power you need.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, May 29, 2009 - link

    Unfortunately, the biggest reason for a lack of unified mobile GPU standards is that OEMs along with ATI and NVIDIA like to compete in a variety of ways. Look at Apple and imagine trying to tell them they their laptops need to conform to a standard layout.

    It *could* happen, and for higher performance laptops with discrete GPUs like the W90Vp, that would be ideal. In fact, the GPU modules in the W90 look very similar to the GPU modules from NVIDIA. The problem is, no one wants to do the work to make sure upgraded GPUs would work -- plus you need to worry about having not just a standardized form factor, but standardized heatsinks/fans.

    Ultimately, a standardized notebook form factor would probably lose more customers than it would gain. Everyone would complain about the "boring design and aesthetics", and the number of new bugs/problems we'd see would probably skyrocket. But hey, maybe someone will prove me wrong on this and make the idea work....
  • Goty - Friday, May 29, 2009 - link

    Wait, NVIDIA managed to release drivers on all platforms simultaneously ONCE and suddenly they have a unified driver model? I'd have to wait and see if that trend continues down the road, but I'm not holding my breath.

    There's also the issue that a large number of notebooks simply won't accept the drivers directly from NVIDIA.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, May 29, 2009 - link

    NVIDIA previously had a mobile driver program where they committed to quarterly updates, and they delivered on that three times (though the first wasn't quite "quarterly"). The drivers started out several months behind the desktop releases, and now we have drivers released on all platforms twice (185.81 and then the final 185.85) - though granted they're mostly the same thing.

    As far as laptops where the NVIDIA drivers won't work, are they in the "unsupported" list? They've worked on every laptop I've tried, which ranged from 8600M to 9500M to 8800M SLI to 9800M. What laptops specifically don't work or have problems? Or are these problems caused by old and cluttered Windows installs where malware or something else gets in the way?

    If NVIDIA doesn't continue to release unified drivers, we'll certainly point it out, but at the same time they've already strongly committed to minimum quarterly updates. That's more than anyone else has done for mobile graphics.
  • rbfowler9lfc - Friday, May 29, 2009 - link

    Really impressive battery life. You can watch a 1080p movie on the road, as long as it doesn't last longer than 1h. Bah! Reply

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