ATI Mobility Radeon X700

ATI has raised the bar for thin mobile notebook performance with their launch of the Mobility Radeon X700. Read on to find out what kind of gaming experience you can expect out of this latest offering from ATI in the world of thin mobile notebooks.

Grammatical & Spelling Editor: Timothy Daniel

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When it comes to notebooks, size matters. A couple of years ago if you told me Iآ’d be enjoying DOOM 3 and Half Life 2 on a thin mobile notebook I would have given you a confusing stare. Times are changing though and technology is ever progressing. Notebook graphics chips have evolved to mirroring counterparts in the desktop video card world.

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In the mobile market there are four main categories or classes of notebooks. At the very high-end of the performance scale are the desktop replacements. The desktop replacement notebooks are heavy, bulky and consume a lot of power. However, they pack in them the fastest processors and video graphics chipsets among every feature you can think of. While they can be used for mobility their main purpose are for those environments where you need a very powerful system but space is at a premium. These laptops typically have large widescreen displays. At this level is where you will find the likes of the Mobility Radeon X800.

The next class is the performance thin class of notebooks. These are notebooks for people that want performance on the go with a smaller form factor but still maintaining a widescreen and the latest features. As the name suggests these notebooks are much thinner than a desktop replacement, as such they are lighter and more portable and are powered by the likes of the Pentium M CPU. The other two levels below that are the value mainstream class and the mainstream thin and light. These two classes have smaller displays, typically 14آ” to 15آ” wide and Celeron M or Pentium M class CPUs.

Understanding the difference in these classes is important because just like we have different segments of desktop video cards we have different segments for mobile video chipsets.

Mobility Radeon X700:

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ATIآ’s new Mobility Radeon X700 is aimed directly at performance thin notebooks. The Mobility Radeon X700 is geared for those people who want high performance but still the ease of mobility a notebook can provide. The Mobility Radeon X700 is a native PCI-Express graphics chip for notebooks. The Mobility Radeon X700 is manufactured using TSMCآ’s .11 micron process which reduces power consumption that is very important for notebooks.

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The Mobility Radeon X700 is based on Radeon X800 PCI-Express graphics architecture. This means that it fully mirrors its desktop counterparts in features. To learn all of the features behind the Radeon X700 series see our Radeon X700 Series Preview here or skim ATIآ’s specifications for the Mobility Radeon X700 here.

The Mobility Radeon X700 supports SMARTSHADER HD which includes Shader Model 2.0, specifically Pixel Shader 2.0b and Vertex Shader 2.0 in DirectX9.0c. The Mobility Radeon X700 has 8 pixel-pipelines and 6 vertex units. The Mobility Radeon X700 also supports SMOOTHVISON HD which gives you up to 6X Multi-Sample AA with gamma correction and up to 16X Anisotropic Filtering. The memory bus width is 128-bits wide using GDDR3 memory modules. There are three versions of the package available, a discrete model with no integrated RAM meant to be used with a separate modules of memory, a 64MB and 128MB model with modules on the packaging itself.

The Mobility Radeon X700 also fully supports every feature of the X800 series in video capability. It supports HDTV component output, FULLSTREAM for video deblocking, VIDEOSHADER technology and video processing acceleration. The Mobility Radeon X700 is not only built for gaming but is also built as a media conscious solution for notebooks.

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Saving power on a notebook is extremely important. The longer you can prolong the battery life the better. The Mobility Radeon X700 supports POWERPLAY 5.0 which has new capabilities that can not only shut down portions of the VPU itself but also some functions of the PCI-Express bus to conserve power. POWERPLAY introduces a new feature called Dynamic Lane Count Switching or (DLCS). DLCS can actually manipulate the PCI-Express bus to save power. It can reduce the lane count width from x16 to x1 which reduces the amount of power needed. ATI claims up to a 30% power savings in typical usage scenarios. Among DLCS are the other usual features of POWERPLAY, clock gating, POWER-ON-DEMAND and different modes for power savings manipulated through software.

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For the first half of 2005 ATI is positioning the Mobility Radeon X700 in the middle for performance thin notebooks while the Mobility Radeon X800 remains on top for desktop replacements and the Mobility Radeon X300 remains for the mainstream thin and light. To see the mobile manufacturers who have adopted the Mobility Radeon X700 click here.