Voodoo Envy M:855 Part 1 - Athlon 64 DTR and Mobility Radeon 9600 Proby Andrew Ku on November 4, 2003 5:45 PM EST
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It isn’t often that there is something to get excited about in the mobile industry, as it is basically reflective of the desktop market, which usually debuts a product almost a full quarter before it hits the mobile side. Additionally, the term “mobile computing” is plagued with the connotation that there is a sacrifice of performance for mobility, as that has been naturally intuitive. (Desktop replacements fall out of this typical bound, as the term itself conjures up images of oversized and overweight notebooks.)
In fact, the only substantial news on the mobile front, recently, is the emergence of Centrino technology based notebooks. This is something that we continue to rave about because of the low power consumption, which in turn leads to lower heat emissions, lower cooling requirements, lower noise emissions, and all the while without compromising performance. The scale of the Pentium-M has reached further than previously anticipated, as they are now used in place of the Pentium 4-M (and Pentium 4 in some cases) for desktop replacement notebooks. Dell’s latest Inspiron refresh is indicative of this.
While Intel has been continuing to bathe in the glory of Centrino, we await to hear word from AMD on their latest mobile processor. AMD has never been that large in the mobile market and the lack of support for the big three: IBM, Dell, HP/Compaq has been a major factor in our inability to review a current AMD based notebook.
Meanwhile, on the graphics end, it seems to be a no bar winner in the mobile race, for now, as Mobility Radeon 9600 took a significant lead over its NVIDIA counterpart (GeForce FX Go56X0). This was clearly seen in our Mobility Radeon 9600 and GeForce FX Go5650 coverage. Interestingly enough, it was Voodoo, who was the first system vendor to showcase Mobility Radeon 9600 in working and shipping samples with their Envy M:460. This is the backdrop for what Voodoo recently handed to us, a M:855 system, which is the first production AMD based notebook we have seen in sometime. The kicker is that this isn’t based on the Athlon XP or XP-M, neither of which took off in the mobile market; rather this is powered by the new Athlon 64 DTR processor. This is big enough news as it is, and in order to complete this review on a timely basis, we have split the review into two parts...