ATi Mobility Radeon 9800 - Benchmarked

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Test System & Final Fantasy XI

HOW WE CONFIGURED THE TEST SYSTEM: Unfortunately, we did not have two identical laptops to do a direct comparison between the Mobility Radeon 9800 and another mobile GPU, preferably a Mobility Radeon 9700. What we did to level the playing field, however, was configure a desktop system with specifications similar to the Dell XPS laptop we used for testing. On both the laptop and our desktop machine, the hard drive formatted and Windows XP Professional with SP2 was installed. When the installation was complete, we installed the Intel chipset drivers and hit the Windows Update site to download and install all of the available updates. Then we installed all of the necessary drivers for the rest of the system's components and removed Windows Messenger from the system. Auto-Updating, System Restore, and Drive Indexing were then disabled, the hard drive was de-fragmented and a 768MB permanent page file was created. Lastly, we set Windows XP's Visual Effects to "best performance", installed the benchmarking software and ran all of the tests.

The HotHardware Test System
Intel Powered Screamers
Intel P4 3.2GHz E.E.

Dell XPS Motherboard
Intel i865P Chipset

512MB 2x256MB DDR RAM
Mobility Radeon 9800
On-Board 10/100 Ethernet
On-Board Audio

Windows XP Pro SP2
Dell Branded ATi Catalyst Drivers:
DirectX 9.0c
Intel P4 3.2GHz E.E.

Abit IC7-MAX3 Motherboard
Intel i875P Chipset

512MB 2x256MB DDR RAM
Radeon 9800 Pro
On-Board 10/100/1000 Ethernet
On-Board Audio

Windows XP Pro SP2
ATi Catalyst v4.9 Drivers:
DirectX 9.0c
Performances Comparisons With Final Fantasy XI Benchmark 2 v1.01
A Classic Console Franchise On The PC

Final Fantasy XI
The Final Fantasy franchise is well known to console gamers, but Squaresoft has since made the jump to the PC with a MMORPG version of this classic. The Final Fantasy XI benchmark runs through multiple scenes from the game and displays a final score every time a full cycle of the demo is completed. Although the demo is meant the check an entire system's readiness to play the game, the number of frames rendered scales when different video cards are used. Lower scores indicate some frames were dropped to complete the demo in the allotted time. The scores below were taken with the demo set to its "High Resolution" option (1024x768), with anti-aliasing disabled.

Even with a relatively "lite-duty" benchmark like this one, the power of the Mobility Radeon 9800 is immediately evident. It wasn't quite capable of catching the desktop system powered by a Radeon 9800 Pro, but with a score of 5636 the Mobility Radeon 9800 was a mere 4.5% behind. This is interesting because the Mobility Radeon 9800's core and memory are clocked 8.5% and 13.3% lower than the Radeon 9800 Pro. At equal clock speeds, it's likely the Mobility Radeon 9800 would have pulled ahead in this test. But let's see what happens when with something a little more intensive, shall we?

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