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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  • HermosaBeach - Saturday, June 18, 2005 - link

    A 1600x1080 LCD would cost more than $400.

    I would love to see the ATI X800 as an option with Dell XPS Gen 2 laptop.

    For me, battery life is nice, but not as important as performance. I like the portability, but I don't mind plugging in where-ver I go - airports, friends house, at work, different locations around the house, even restaurants have available power.

    Dave
    Reply
  • ElFenix - Friday, June 10, 2005 - link

    systems like this should not be called notebooks, much less laptops. more like 'super huge 3 ring binder stuffed full of papers'

    i like how alienware doesn't mention the weight on the 'tech specs' page of the monster. oh, i found it. "starting at 10.0 lbs*" i wonder what that asterisk is for? there is no asterisk as the bottom of the page. lets continue on to configure... oh, i get it, the asterisk tells you that that is the weight without the battery! "12.5lbs with battery"
    Reply
  • SDA - Wednesday, June 08, 2005 - link

    >>Seeing as I'm not going to spend the time to come up with specifics, I'm going to have to conceed the point. But, the original comment wasn't meant to be insulting, so I wish you'd lighten up. >>
    I'm sorry if I seem rude or insulting, but I hate it when people say that AMD machines (or Intel machines, or Transmeta machines, or DEC machines, or Apple machines, or...) are innately unstable in some way. It's a silly argument on many levels, but one that people take to very easily if they see it. I appreciate your response, fwiw.
    Reply
  • Hatglance - Wednesday, June 08, 2005 - link

    Seeing as I'm not going to spend the time to come up with specifics, I'm going to have to conceed the point. But, the original comment wasn't meant to be insulting, so I wish you'd lighten up.

    The point of my original post was to add my own first hand observation about the fan noise issue and my general satisfaction with this well built machine.

    To add more perspective to the cost issue, I remember 10+ years ago a high end laptop cost nearly $10k.
    Reply
  • SDA - Wednesday, June 08, 2005 - link

    >>I do get the thermal and power advantage of AMD, but I'm afraid my comment stands. If anything has really changed with AMD stability recently, I may be proven wrong.>>
    Nothing has changed with "AMD stability". Processors can not be innately instable unless they are defective. It is possible for overheating processors to cause instability, but obviously this is not a problem with the A64.

    Again: do your research before you spew BS.


    >>Problems which are a minor anoyance to the average Anandtech poster are a nightmare to the average gamer who is buying the majority of computers. They want it to work, period. >>
    What "problems"? Are you just assuming that AMD processors must have problems because they aren't in any of the overpriced laptops you've bought, or do you think they have problems because your friends have stability problems? If it's the latter, guess what: just because someone builds an unstable system with component X in it doesn't mean component X is causing the problem. In the case of processors, it is VERY unlikely that the CPU is the problem.
    Reply
  • Hatglance - Wednesday, June 08, 2005 - link

    re #35

    I do get the thermal and power advantage of AMD, but I'm afraid my comment stands. If anything has really changed with AMD stability recently, I may be proven wrong. Problems which are a minor anoyance to the average Anandtech poster are a nightmare to the average gamer who is buying the majority of computers. They want it to work, period. Developing a laptop is difficult as it is (the reason for the price premium), so offering a choice of Intel or AMD probably isn't an option.

    What has really brought laptops up to speed with desktops is the Mobility 9800 & X800 and Geforce go 6800 cards. Any performance advantage gained with AMD64 is marginal. My previous top of the line laptop was 2 years behind desktops when I got it, so I'm more than happy with the new one.
    Reply
  • SDA - Tuesday, June 07, 2005 - link

    #25, when are they slated for release? Also, hi.

    #29, but the 9300's a brick.. oh, right, they're all bricks. Good price, then.

    #31, I think "these AMD lovers" are just trying to say that since A64s offer (slightly) better performance in games than comparable P4s AND put out less heat, they seem like much better choices for this application. Also, if you're implying that systems based on AMD processors are somehow innately unstable, you really need to learn more about hardware before you comment on it. (Of course, that goes for most Alienware owners.)
    Reply
  • Shadowmage - Tuesday, June 07, 2005 - link

    Wow, amazing! This includes the RAM, GPU, etc?

    The nVidia 6800 Ultra go uses 66+W!

    Another GREAT design win for ATI :D
    Reply
  • DerekWilson - Tuesday, June 07, 2005 - link

    Shadowmage -- you are correct -- 35W. Reply
  • Shadowmage - Monday, June 06, 2005 - link

    What's the TDP on the X800XT Mobility part? I heard it's 35W, but I would really like to verify it :) Reply

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