ATI Mobility Radeon X800 XT: More Pipes in Notebooksby Derek Wilson on June 6, 2005 7:48 AM EST
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IntroductionWe'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.