Introduction & Specifications
The PC has undergone quite a metamorphosis recently. Over the past few years, we've seen the boring beige boxes of yesterday, transform into the multi-colored, windowed and lighted works of art of today. We've also seen (or should we say heard?) the community move away from multi-fan, super-loud cooling techniques, to more intelligently designed and near silent methods that are much easier on the ears. And now, more and more users are even trading in their monstrous full-towers in favor of the much smaller and more provocative SFF systems available from companies like Shuttle, Biostar and Iwill. With so many PC users making the move to distinctive, silent, and small systems, the recent boom in notebook popularity should come as no surprise. These trends, coupled with the fact that ATi and NVIDIA have both been hard at work producing mobile GPUs that rival the performance and feature sets of some of their desktop counterparts, have spawned the present day "desktop replacement" notebooks. These machines are packed with high-end CPUs, large hard drives, plenty of memory and have large high-resolution screens. We recently got our hands on one of these beasts, with an ATi Mobility Radeon 9700 beating at its heart. So, we fired-up some popular games to see just what ATi's current flagship mobile GPU could do...
|The MOBILITY RADEON™ 9700 gives you the freedom to create, communicate and entertain, anywhere, anytime:
Unprecedented Graphic Processing Power in a Notebook
•_Low-K Technology delivers the fastest mobile performance and longer battery life
•_Up to 30% faster than its highly acclaimed predecessor
•_Supports the Microsoft DirectX 9.0 programming standard which will drive the most demanding next generation games
•_Enough processing power to turn your notebook into a mobile video editing studio
Share the Visual Wealth
•_Enable Hollywood feature-film quality realism without compromising performance
•_Bring streamed video, and the latest games roaring to life
•_Complex lighting and shading technology effects are seamlessly delivered at blistering frame rates
•_Create dynamic presentations with superb 3D motion visuals
Higher Performance with Longer Battery Life
•_ATI's POWERPLAY™ technology continually monitors the workload on your notebook by automatically adjusting clock speeds and voltages based on your level of activity to extend battery life even longer.
Get Connected To All of the Latest Displays
•_Take your notebook on the road knowing that your system connects to any projector
•_Be the first to connect a notebook* to wide-screen HDTV
•_Use the HYDRAVISION™ feature to connect to multiple monitors for presentations and to increase your productivity (OEM Option)
Premium 3D Performance
•_Offering up to a 30% MHz boost over its predecessor•_Supports Microsoft DirectX 9.0
•_Pixel and Vertex Shaders
•_Quad rendering & dual vertex engines
•_Full precision floating point with full performance
•_0.13 micron VPU featuring Low-K process technology
•_Fastest 3D engine speed
•_Low power operation
•_Support for AGP 8X
•_Provides comprehensive hardware accelerated support for Microsoft DirectX 9.0.
•_Full supported by OpenGL using custom extensions
•_Up to 16 textures per pixel
•_Enables advanced Microsoft DirectX 9.0 effects such as multiple render targets, user clip planes and high dimension floating point textures
•_Multisampling with 6 unique samples per pixel and ATI's patented gamma correction
•_Eliminates "jaggies" on the edges of objects and other visual artifacts for smoother-looking images without compromising performance
•_16X Anisotropic filtering improves image quality by sharpening blurry textures to bring out finer detail
•_ATI's fourth-generation POWERPLAY™ power management technology provides users with the optimal balance between performance and power consumption
•_Multiple power-saving settings offer increased control and flexibility
|POWER-ON-DEMAND - Constantly monitors system activity, dynamically adjusting clocks and voltage based on user scenario
LOW POWER LCD – enables lower LCD refresh rate for longer battery life
ATI OVERDRIVE™ – on-chip thermal sensor enables performance to scale up dependent on notebook thermal environment
Razor-Sharp Visual Quality
•_HYDRAVISION™ software which provides the most flexible and easy-to-use interface for multiple display settings
•_Integrated dual-channel LVDS, with support for notebook LCD panels as up to QXGA resolutions (2048x1536)
•_165 MHz integrated TMDS transmitter, for support of DVI Digital Flat Panels at up to UXGA resolution (1600x1200)
•_Integrated TV-Out Encoder
•_Dual RAMDACs at speeds of 400MHz
•_Integrated HDTV encoder, supporting component output (YPbPr) for both North American and Japanese D-link connectors
Accelerated Home & Business Multimedia
•_Hardware acceleration for MPEG encoding and decoding, for DVD playback, personal video recorder and time-shifting applications
•_Video Input Port for notebook TVtuner solutions
•_FULLSTREAM™ - hardware accelerated video de-blocking for enhanced Internet streaming video quality
•_Optimized support for wide-aspect LCD panels and HDTV output
Multiple Variants For Ultimate Design Flexibility: MOBILITY™ RADEON™ 9700 series is ATI's eight generation of mobile graphics with integrated on-chip memory delivering true flexibility for numerous mobile form factors, from full size to "thin-and-light".
•_On-chip 64MB DDR (128-bit)
•_On-chip 128MB DDR (128-bit)
•_Control panel allows gamers to enable exciting pixel shader effects in Direct3D or OpenGL applications
•_Automatically activated if the graphics processor hangs, triggering the driver to reset the VPU, avoiding system "crash"
FLEXFIT™: Enabling The Upgradeable Notebook
Using ATI's innovative FLEXFIT™ technology, notebook vendors can deliver the future with upgradeable notebook designs while ensuring time and cost savings for their customers.
•_Save design costs: use one motherboard design for all market segments – high-end, mainstream, and value
Faster time to market: deliver better performing systems to users more quickly
•_One driver architecture and interface for all systems: ensures less qualification time and easier product migration with users
•_Performance, technologies and features listed above can vary with specific notebook implementations. Please consult with Notebook vendor for a complete list of supported features.
Before we get into the specifics, we thought we give you a glimpse of the notebook we used to test the ATi Mobility Radeon 9700. These are images of Eurocom's upgradeable D870P Mirage, a notebook Eurocom likes to call a "mobile workstation". We guess Eurocom doesn't consider the term "desktop replacement" befitting of this powerhouse! This behemoth is packed with 1GB of RAM, a 3.2GHz "Northwood" Pentium 4, dual 60GB hard drives and a DVD/CD burner, along with the Mobility Radeon 9700. We should also mention that the Mobility Radeon 9700 installed in this laptop is equipped with a full 256MB of DDR RAM, not the 32MB or 64MB normally found in less powerful notebooks. This D870P also has an integrated 6-in-1 card reader, a built-in 300K pixel Video Camera and the screen is a gorgeous 17" wide with a native resolution of 1440 x 900 (WXGA). It's got video in, DVI Out, Gigabit LAN - you name it. This is definitely a capable machine, and a platform worthy of the Mobility Radeon 9700. With all these goodies, comes some heft, however. This particular model is a bear to carry at around 12lbs, and with all of the fans spinning, it's definitely not one of the quietest notebook we've worked with.