Mobile Gaming At Desktop Speeds

Mobile Gaming At Desktop Speeds - Page 2

Mobile Gaming At Desktop Speeds
Tests & Benchmarks With The Pentium 4M & NVIDIA's GeForce4 440 Go

By Dave Altavilla

And you thought your ATX Full Tower packed some serious punch.  How about a 2.5" thick slab not much larger than an 8.5X11 sheet of paper?

HotHardware's Test System - Dell Inspiron 8200
Desktop Replacement - Power and mobility


  • Pentium 4M Mobile Processor - 1.6GHz

  • Intel i845M Chipset based motherboard

  • 512MB of PC2100 DDR SDRAM

  • 30G ATA100 5400 RPM EIDE Hard Drive

  • GeForce 4 440 Go Graphics w/ 64MB (220MHz Core / 440MHz Memory Clock)

  • 24X CD-RW/DVD Combo Drive

  • Integrated, Sound, Modem, and 10/100 NIC


The Dell Inspiron 8200 we had configured for us, is certainly a well equipped machine.  It runs a Pentium 4M 1.6GHz CPU on a i845M based motherboard.  It was also set up with 512MB of PC2100 DDR DRAM and a very sharp 15" UXGA screen.  We have nothing but great things to say about this system.  It looks fantastic and is as fast as greased lightning.  The design is well planned with  a comfortable and convenient keyboard and control layout.  Battery life is also excellent due in part to the Pentium 4M Speedstep technology.  We were actually able to watch 2 full DVD titles on this machine, before the battery alert came on.


PowerMizer Setup and Testing
Dusting off the old Multi-Meter

The Engineers at NVIDIA walked us through a test setup and methodology that would allow us to test the relative effectiveness of their PowerMizer technology.  Essentially, this meant splicing a Multimeter in line between the laptop and AC adapter power pack.  We then removed the battery from the unit, since battery charging can cause power fluctuations.  After that, we turned the Multimeter to the 20AMP setting and set it up to drop readings into a log file text document on the machine via a serial cable.


This setup will isolate the actual power draw that is being place on the AC Adapter power source.  When we enable the various settings available to us with PowerMizer, we can then determine its effectiveness in power savings.  Here are a couple of screen shots of the GeForce4 440 Go drivers and the PowerMizer settings. 


Incidentally, Dell did not have the PowerMizer control panel enabled on our unit, so we had to modify the system registry (like the coolbits tweak) to get the control tab to appear.  In any event, you can see here that there are three levels in PowerMizer settings, Max Power Savings, Balanced Mode, and Max Performance.  Here are the results that were recorded in our log file,  plotted out in Amps.

Here we see plots for 25 sample readings, taken during a Time Demo run with Quake 3 Arena.  In order to get a reading in numbers of Watts consumed, you have to multiply the total Amps used by the voltage.  In this case, our AC Adapter was driving 20Volts into the unit.  In Max Power Savings Mode, the entire system consumed and average of 1.536 Amps or 30.72 Watts.  In Balanced Mode, it consumed 1.756 Amps or 35.12 Watts.  And in Max Performance mode, the system drew 2.45 Amps or 49 watts.  Keep in mind however, that these are power consumption readings for the entire system.  Regardless, as you can see, PowerMizer does conserve power quite well. 

We know what you're thinking.  What effect does PowerMizer have on performance?  Let's take a quick look.

As you can see here, PowerMizer does take its toll on frame rate.  It down clocks the GPU fairly significantly and as a result, fill rate and bandwidth do suffer.  Regardless, at 1024X768 in Balanced Mode, with max quality and detail, Quake 3 is still very playable at approx 60 fps.  Playing a Fist Person Shooter, like Q3, in Max Power Saving Mode, is not advisable.  The action is just too fast paced for 30 fps.

So, enough energy conservation.  We're power hungry folks here at HotHardware, right?  Let's plug the unit into the wall and see what it can do, when we run things flat out!


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