Mobile Gaming At Desktop Speeds

Mobile Gaming At Desktop Speeds - Page 3

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

By Dave Altavilla


Our last battery of tests, for the GeForce4 440 Go infused Dell Inspiron, was MadOnion's 3DMark2001SE. This benchmark is driven by the Max Payne game engine, designed by Remedy Entertainment.  In addition to testing CPU and Main Memory subsystem performance, 3DMark2001SE also makes use of DirectX 8 in various tests.  However, the GeForce4 440 Go won't support Pixel and Vertex Shaders in hardware, so as a result, the scores scale accordingly.

MadOnion's 3DMark 2001SE - On the road
Remedy's Max Payne Engine, paints the scenery



3DMark2001SE Detail
Click for viewing


We also have provided you the test run details in the above spreadsheet snapshot.  As you can see the GeForce4 440 Go does score admirably, pulling in almost 5K 3D Marks at 1024X768.  Remedy recommends a baseline of 2000 3D Marks, in order to have playable frame rates for Max Payne.  The GeForce4 440 Go and Pentium 4M combination in the Inspiron 8200, has plenty of power, even at the high resolutions we tested.  Also, interestingly enough 3DMark2001SE reports the CPU as 1419MHz.  We're not sure why this is, other than perhaps it is not reading the processor correctly.  Again these, tests were run with the unit plugged into the wall for maximum performance and no concern for power consumption.


Overclocking The GeForce4 400 Go
Plenty of headroom

It just wouldn't feel right, if we didn't overclock things a little bit.  The Inspiron 8200 doesn't have the ability to overclock the processor.  However, that didn't stop us from overclocking the GeForce4 440 Go graphics card in our unit!  With the "Coolbits" registry tweak added to the system registry, we were free to slide core and memory clock speeds up a couple of notches.


We were actually able to overclock the card quite a bit and achieved speeds of 250MHz Core and 525MHz Memory Clocks, without a graphical glitch or lock-up.  We didn't stress test the system for hours.  It did however make it easily through a 3DMark 2001SE batch run across 2 resolutions, without a hiccup.  It was nice to see the machine break the 5K barrier and we chalked up an additional 368 3D Marks, in the process.  The moral of the story here?  The GeForce4 440 Go used in our machine is clocked way down below its top end clock speed.  As you will note from our pictures on page one of this piece, there is no heat sink or fan on the GPU or memory chips.  As a result, heat is definitely something that needs to be controlled.  Obviously, one way to keep things in check is to keep clock speeds down.  We realized a 12% clock speed gain at the core speed of 250MHz and a 24% gain in frame buffer memory speed, at 525MHz DDR. (insert overclocking disclaimer here)


One word can best describe our experience with 3D Gaming on this leading edge mobile platform, impressive.  These days, the average end user has fantastic "work station" class power at their disposal, with this new breed of notebooks.  Sure, you can crunch spreadsheets and Power Point presentations all day long but when it's time to unwind, the real fun begins when you pop in Jedi Knight II, Return To Castle Wolfenstein, Flight Simulator or any other current game genre for the PC.  The kicker is that now, you don't have to scale back image quality or resolution, in order to get acceptable frame rates.  In addition, if you are playing something a little less demanding, battery life can be extended exponentially, with features like Speedstep for the Pentium 4M or PowerMizer for the GeForce4 440 Go GPU.

Let's also not forget the LAN Gamers in our midst, since we haven't really even covered that aspect of the feature set for the Dell unit we tested.  However,  this Pentium 4M based machine with integrated 10/100 Ethernet and GeForce4 quality graphics, is an absolute natural of those who wish to travel light but not sacrifice frame rates, as the action gets tense and frag counts climb.  On the other hand, as the saying goes, this type of setup certainly isn't "ghetto" by any stretch of the imagination.  The design engineering costs and expense of the micro-components inside these power-house notebooks, drives cost up to about 2X a similarly configured desktop system.  However in the long run, if you want your cake and the ability to eat it to, or at least take it with you, there is no denying that a powerful "desktop replacement" laptop, like the Dell Inspiron 8200 with a Pentium 4M processor and GeForce4 440 Go, has more than enough horse power to host big 3D Gaming fun on the run.


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