Mobility Radeon X600

The Mobility Radeon X600 looks to be (oddly enough) a mobile version of the X600 with certain enhancements. We're looking at a 130nm low-k process with a 128bit memory interface, 2 vertex pipes and 4 pixel pipes. The extra enhancements that ATI has made to the GPU include a new revision of Powerstep (5.0), and something that ATI is calling "LCD-EE".

Powerstep 5.0 includes an exciting feature called "VARI-BRIGHT". This technology is the same as something that we saw at last fall's IDF from Intel. The idea is to control adaptively the brightness of the LCD's back light based on what is happening on the screen. The power required to keep an LCD panel lit up for extended periods of time can really eat into battery life, and if ATI and Intel can include adaptive backlight control on their mobile graphics parts, then we could see some pretty decent leaps in effective battery life for notebooks.

I've also been asking around to see whether or not this could help make blacks blacker on LCD displays; even when an LCD pixel is "off", some of the light from the backlight bleeds through. If both the backlight behind a pixel and the pixel itself are off, could this help? No one seems to know the answer, but I'm sure that we'll end up seeing what happens when this technology rolls off the shelf.

The other interesting thing about ATI's upcoming mobile part is LCD-EE. This block of the GPU includes resolution scaling for laptops and support for new high resolution widescreen panel support. But the feature that we are most interested in learning more about is LRTC (LCD Response Time Compensation). The idea behind the technology is to match the timing of a video overlay better with the response time of the LCD panel. This should, in theory, keep pixels from being drawn faster than they can switch, thus avoiding blurriness issues.

We don't know enough about LRTC technology to know how it works or whether or not it will be really useful to the end users, but we are hoping to learn more from ATI as soon as possible. The technology has potential, but we'll need to learn a little more about it and see it in action before we write home about it.

X300 Debuts at 110nm Modular Mobile Technology


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  • Pumpkinierre - Tuesday, June 1, 2004 - link

    Maybe 110nm is just on that limit where present technology allows the usual shrink/power reduction effect to be maintained without all the 90nm problems that really require a rethink to sort out. If that's the case it might be a good overclocker but could suffer from overvoltage or early death.

  • quanta - Tuesday, June 1, 2004 - link

    I wonder if anyone even cares about the 130nm X600 part, when they can just overclock 110nm X300 cards. But then again, die shrinks from 130nm to 90nm has given Intel a lot of trouble in the form of voltage leak and heat, I suspect X300 may not be able to run as fast as X600 without generate a lot more heat. Reply
  • Gholam - Tuesday, June 1, 2004 - link

    Hmm, do I get it right that there won't be an 8-pipeline PCI-E Radeon? Straight from 4-pipeline X600 to 12-pipeline X800 PRO? Sounds somewhat strange... X800SE anyone? Reply
  • sxr7171 - Tuesday, June 1, 2004 - link

  • nserra - Tuesday, June 1, 2004 - link

    Nice explanation, have you used on processors too, like it would be amd 90nm athlon 64 die size?

    This is much like digital camera 3mp to 5mp, it's almost the double but if you look at it, you would say it's only 30%/40% bigger. Or ati 160m transitors vs nvidia 222m. Ati is almost "big" but it has less 62m or a radeon 9600 less, funny isn't it?
  • Cycophant - Tuesday, June 1, 2004 - link

    Small spelling mistake on the article intro:

    "Today, ATI fills out their new X series with three new PCI Express parts based on current __technolgoy__ that we are seeing. "
  • spikemike - Tuesday, June 1, 2004 - link

    I don't believe blacks will look any blacker, you have to remember that the backlight is constant throughout the entire lcd. You can't control the brightness at a single pixel, so if you wanted to make blacks blacker then the whole screen would get darker, making the whites darker too, and in a very low darkness scene, you don't want to lose the black level resolution. Reply
  • vedin - Tuesday, June 1, 2004 - link

    Darn..and I was really hoping that the X600 would be a little faster in the core and memory than the 9600XT. Say..550mhz? Honestly, I was hoping for a scaled down much for wishful thinking. Reply
  • jcromano - Tuesday, June 1, 2004 - link

    I believe your claim that "a straight die shrink only accounts for about a 30% increase in space efficiency," found in paragraph 3 of the page titled "X300 Debuts at 110nm," may be in error.

    I'm not really sure what "space efficiency" is, but you make this claim in contrast to ATI's claim of a 40% increase in transistors per given area.

    Assuming that the number of transistors per unit area scales inversely with the square of the (linear) process size, we have:
    transistor density = k/d^2

    For the old 130nm process, then,
    transistor density (old value) = k/130^2.

    For the new 110nm process,
    transistor density (new value) = k/110^2.

    The generally accepted way of presenting a percent increase or decrease is to use the old value as the denominator of the fraction. A formula such as this one would be appropriate:
    (new value/old value) - 1
    where the result is re-expressed as a percent, and a positive result is interpreted as an increase.

    If we plug in, using k/110^2 for the new value (numerator) and k/130^2 for the old value (denominator), and cancel the k's, we get
    130^2/110^2 - 1 = .39669 = 39.669%, which is admittedly lower than the 40% claimed by ATI, but close enough for me.
  • ducsauce - Tuesday, June 1, 2004 - link

    I wonder if ATI will put out an All-in-wonder version of the x800 some time this year. The AIW 9800 pro is not going to keep up for long. Reply

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