IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad Z61p

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Gaming Performance: 3DMark05, 3DMark06, & Q4


Performance Comparisons with 3DMark05 v1.2.0

3DMark05 is the part of a long line of synthetic 3D graphics benchmarks, dating back to late 1998. 3DMark05 is a synthetic benchmark that requires a DirectX 9.0 compliant video card, with support for Pixel Shaders 2.0 or higher, to render all of the various modules that comprise the suite. To generate its final "score", 3DMark05 runs three different simulated game tests and uses each test's framerate in the final tabulation. Fillrate, Memory bandwidth, and compute performance especially all have a measurable impact on performance in this benchmark. We ran 3DMark05's default test (1,024 x 768) on all of the cards and configurations we tested, and have the overall results posted for you below.

When looking at the numbers below several factors need to be considered.  First and foremost, the ATI Mobility FireGL V5200 is a workstation graphics adapter.  Based off of the .09 micron X1600 Mobility chipset, it is a 128-bit PCI-E X16 adapter with 5 vertex pipelines and 12 pixel shaders.  Unlike the X1600 however, the card is primarily designed for pro OpenGL applications as opposed to Direct 3D games and the drivers are written as such.  There are other differences with regard to the core clock speed and memory clock speed as well, which are lower on the V5200.  The X1600 has a core speed of 470MHz and a memory speed of 470MHz, whereas the V5200 has a core speed of 400MHz and a memory clock speed of 330MHz.

Given the fact that 3D performance can be driven in large part to the driver and version you are using, we had the opportunity to test with other driver variants.  Although we tested with the latest optimized Omega 3.8.291 Catalyst drivers based off of ATI's 6.9 reference driver, we were not able to produce results worth posting over the latest Lenovo ATI supplied drivers.  We also tested the latest strait ATI Catalyst 6.9 drivers (modified using Driver Heaven's Mobility Modtool to install on our laptop) and again did not see a performance increase worthy of posting. 

As the results of the above chart show, the V5200 is no match for the current generation mobile 3D adapters only churning at an average of 3559.  The FireGL still managed to top the previous generation Nvidia adapter clocked at 375/350 and the abysmal performance of the Intel IGP. 

Performance Comparisons with 3DMark06 v1.0.2

Futuremark recently launched a brand-new version of their popular benchmark, 3DMark06. The new version of the benchmark is updated in a number of ways, and now includes not only Shader Model 2.0 tests, but Shader Model 3.0 and HDR tests as well. Some of the assets from 3DMark05 have been re-used, but the scenes are now rendered with much more geometric detail and the shader complexity is vastly increased as well. Max shader length in 3DMark05 was 96 instructions, while 3DMark06 ups the number of instructions to 512. 3DMark06 also employs much more lighting, and there is extensive use of soft shadows. With 3DMark06, Futuremark has also updated how the final score is tabulated. In this latest version of the benchmark, SM 2.0 and HDR / SM3.0 tests are weighted and the CPU score is factored into the final tally as well.


In our test bed the V5200 simply could not compete with the performance of the Dell and Alienware machines in 3DMark06.  Much of this could be attributed to the lower core clock/memory speeds and lack of pixel shader and vertex pipelines.  For example, the 7900GTX has 8 vertex shaders and 24 pixel shaders as opposed to the V5200's 5 vertex pipelines and 12 pixel shaders. 

Performance Comparisons with Quake 4

Quake 4
id Software, in conjunction with developer Raven, recently released the latest addition to the wildly popular Quake franchise, Quake 4. Quake 4 is based upon an updated and slightly modified version of the Doom 3 engine, and as such performance characteristics between the two titles are very similar.  Like Doom 3, Quake 4 is also an OpenGL game that uses extremely high-detailed textures and a ton of dynamic lighting and shadows, but unlike Doom3, Quake 4 features some outdoor environments as well. We ran this these Quake 4 benchmarks using a custom demo with the game set to its "High-Quality" mode, at a resolution of 1024x768 without anti-aliasing or anisotropic filtering enabled and the aspect ratio set to "Widescreen".


Lastly we look at Quake 4.  At first glimpse, the results appear to be disheartening.  But considering that the test was run with Max settings on everything, one can see that the results are not all that bad.  Given the lower core clock/memory speed, the V5200 faired well for a business class notebook.  Had we lowered the settings from Max and perhaps tweaked the game somewhat, the results would have been considerably different.

Now the final question begs to be asked.  Can this unit be used for gaming?  Yes, but considerable tweaking would need to be made in order to achieve optimal results.  Unlike the Z61p, the Dell systems use a MXM based video card solution which allows for upgradeable graphics clearly designed at the hardcore gamer. The Z61p is in a different class all together with integrated workstation graphics.  During some additional experimentation and testing - and tweaking - we were able to produce playable framerates in such games as Guild Wars, FEAR, PREY, BattleField 2, and Call of Duty 2 (all of which truly tax the video subsystem), albeit with lower quality settings and resolutions.

Tags:  Lenovo, ThinkPad, IBM, Pad, ink, thin, think, K

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