New ATI Products Confirmed: The X Series Line-upby Derek Wilson on June 1, 2004 6:00 AM EST
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Mobility Radeon X600The 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.