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ATI Mobility Radeon 9000 - gaming on the move
Many articles have been written on how portable platforms are becoming viable gaming stations. Yesterday ATI launched their latest mobile Radeon GPU for laptops boasting technologies such as SMARTSHADER, SMOOTHVISION, FLEXFIT and POWERPLAY and christened it the Mobility Radeon 9000, or M9 for short.

Technologies that are first introduced on this GPU are :
FLEXFIT is the term given by ATI to their pin compatible GPUs. This results in a couple of interesting points. It allows users to upgrade the graphics subsystem of their laptop. It's a bit like upgrading to a faster version of the same CPU. Mainly intended for OEMs to easily solve their upgrading needs (without the need for a replacement motherboard) it can also provide users with an easy upgrade path.

POWERPLAY is ATI's power management technology. It changes the frequency and voltages depending on the current power requirements and what is left in the battery. It also allows the refresh rate of the LCD panel to be lowered in order to save on battery life.

SMARTSHADER allows up to 8x anti aliasing, with 16 programmable sample modes and is fully compatible with DirectX 8.1's multi-sample buffers.

SMOOTHVISION provides support for DirectX 8.1 programmable shader model, OpenGL (using custom extensions) and up to 6 textures per rendering pass.
We were lucky enough to be one of an elite few who had access to benchmark a laptop running the new Mobility Radeon 9000. In the testing suite we were presented with an ECS model which sported a yet to be released Pentium 4 Northwood M CPU running at 2.26Ghz. The full specifications were :
  • Pentium 4 M (Northwood) clocked at 2.26Ghz
  • Intel 845 chipset
  • 256Mb DDR RAM
  • ATI Mobility Radeon 9000 (64Mb version).

  • For those interested, the ECS model should be out in the first week of September 2002, and my general impressions of this laptop was very good. For our comparison, our usual test machine was used.

    Although one can argue that there is far too many differences between these machines it is important to look at what we are trying to find out in this article. Our aim is to find out whether we can find a suitable gaming machine for people on the move. Our test rig is a very capable desktop machine. The specifications of this machine is as follows :
  • AMD Athlon XP 2000+ (1.67Ghz)
  • Via KT333 chipset
  • 256Mb DDR RAM
  • Leadtek Geforce 4 Ti4600 (128Mb RAM)
  • Hercules Prophet 9000 PRO (128Mb version).
  • Time to get jiggy.