The world has long been used to seeing desktop performance and graphics capabilities increase at incredibly high rates. We have also borne witness to the fact that integrated and mobile graphics have lagged desktop performance by a significant amount. While integrated graphics still trail modular graphics performance by at least a generation in features (and closer to 2 generations in performance), summer '04 sees the introduction of a mobile graphics part from ATI that will change the face of notebook graphics as we know it.

The ATI Mobility Radeon 9800 GPU marks the first time bleeding edge desktop technology has pushed its way into the mobile market only one quarter after its desktop R420 counterpart. In fact, the MR9800 debuts even before we see reasonable availability of the X800 line, but that's a whole other article.

We've been able to get our hands on a Dell XPS system equipped with the new MR9800 GPU. As this part marks the new face of desktop replacement graphics, the MR9800 will be pitted against our desktop GPUs in this exploration. We haven't included any other notebook graphics in this review both because we didn't have a module readily available to drop into the XPS for comparison purposes and there simply isn't anything out there that performs comparable to this part in the notebook space. Traditional notebook graphics are targeted at low power first and everything else second, which isn't what is needed or wanted in the DTR space (which often times uses desktop parts rather than mobile parts).

The future will see more mobile GPU reviews using the same game suite as our desktop GPU reviews. For now, let's move on to the MR9800 and take a peak under the hood.

Good Things in Small Packages
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  • nserra - Monday, August 23, 2004 - link

    Thanks for the reply and it's really impressive that a 256bit memory interface is going into the mobile market so soon.

    I also don’t understand the problem about the driver? Is it about the time taken to release a new one (validation)? What i do is to force the last catalyst to install, it have worked just fine with me.
  • ATIMobileGuy - Friday, August 20, 2004 - link

    #28 nserra

    Keep in mind the development cycle for mobile designs is longer than desktop development - when the design was started there were still questions on GDDR3 power and availability at the time, so we felt DDR was the ideal solution for the initial mobile introduction of this type of product. Plus, running at 300MHz and using the full 256-bit memory interface we felt the memory bandwidth was pretty good for a mobile design.

    This is not to say GDDR3 is not going to show up in Mobile soon - as I said in post #26, there are a lot of surprises coming your way in the future. ;-)
  • nserra - Friday, August 20, 2004 - link

    To DerekWilson and/or ATIMobileGuy:

    On you nvidia Geforce5800 review about ati Anisotropic Filtering:
    “Since there is virtually no difference between ATI's Performance and Quality modes, …..”

    Does this still hold true in today’s games?
    Since I could get some nice performance boost according to these charts
  • nserra - Friday, August 20, 2004 - link

    To ATIMobileGuy:

    -If this is for the mobile market, why not use the new GDDR3 memory, since it would lower the power consuming and heat and deliver higher speed.

    -Isn’t these chip a "little" waste of time if taken into desktop, since you guys already have a very similar chip but at .15, or we will only will see it on notebooks for the time.
  • DerekWilson - Thursday, August 19, 2004 - link

    #22 suryad

    We actually had the XPS in early July IIRC. We used ATI's latest drivers at that point. I'm not sure what driver the current Dell release is based on, but maybe Darren (ATIMobileGuy) can help us out there ;-)
  • ATIMobileGuy - Thursday, August 19, 2004 - link

    Comment 5 [I](Posted by Anemone)[/I]

    Anemone, thanks for the comments. Without saying too much, I can tell you that this was really our first attempt at a new class of product, and once we move into PCI Express we'll have a few more surprises for you that should make you happy!
  • ATIMobileGuy - Thursday, August 19, 2004 - link

    Re: Comment 20 (the esteemed Mr. Baumann)

    This is true Dave - unlike the desktop side, every Mobile driver is customized for each notebook for things like power management, hot keys, panel support - all kinds of things. If ATI were to provide "generic" drivers the user would run the risk of losing a lot of features or would experience potential instability.

    The OEM has to do a lot of qualification to test all these unique aspects of their driver before feeling comfortable releasing it. Dell has been very good in understanding the need for fresh drivers, expecially for this segment, so I think it won't be too long before you see a new driver release for this system from them.
  • ATIMobileGuy - Thursday, August 19, 2004 - link

    Hi Everyone - I'm Darren from ATI Mobile group. Just finished reading the review, and wanted to read the comments and see if there was anything I could answer from the comments that were posted; will be checking in sporadically and will give some responses to some of the things that have already been posted if possible.
  • jediknight - Thursday, August 19, 2004 - link

    Doom 3 benchmarks, please!!
  • suryad - Thursday, August 19, 2004 - link

    I have a similar specced Dell XPS and I was initially getting a 5440 with 3dmark but then I used Dells release of the 4.8 Catalyst drivers and that alone pushed me to a 6600 on 3dmark and over 43.1k in Aquamark3 all stock settings. Now I am not saying that the benchmark is the tell all in this situation but where these benches performed using the latest driverset? I am curious since I have yet to install any new games on it and wanted to know if I would get a performance boost sorta similar to what I got in 3dmark.

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