ATI Announces New Mobile GPUs

By Dave Salvator  |  Print this article Print


Desktop-as-a-Service Designed for Any Cloud ? Nutanix Frame

The GPU formerly known as M28 now becomes Mobility Radeon X800, and ATI also unveiled its new Mobility Radeon X300 for Thin/Light Notebooks. Plus, ATI is planning to bring some of its CE HDTV technology into its GPUs.

Canadian GPU maker ATI announced today that two new mobile PCI-Express Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) are going to address the thin/light notebook segment, as well as the high-end gaming laptop market. Additionally, the company hinted at coming video features that will leverage technologies developed by ATI for the consumer electronics (CE) market. These video-specific features currently are in some Sony HDTVs.

Today's announcement includes two new GPUs. The first is the Mobility Radeon X800, a 12-pipe R423-based architecture that's intended to power high-end "SUV" gaming laptops. As of today's announcement, the X800 cannot be ordered yet, but will be available for purchase in December, according to ATI. Clock speeds for the X800 will be 400MHz for the GPU core, and the memory clock will be 400MHz as well. We got an initial look at the X800 in our preview of the GeForce 6800 Go, and it was impressive out of the gate. In particular, its geometry processing performance appears to be well ahead of the GeForce 6800 Go. Also announced today was the four-pipe Mobility Radeon X300. It is designed to replace the Mobility Radeon 9200, offering twice as many pixel pipes and DX9-class functionality.

Missing from the new lineup is an eight-pipe PCI-Express GPU, which presumably would be a mobile variant of the Radeon X700. However, ATI made no announcement about that particular part, though it's not too much of a stretch to say ATI will likely be bringing such a part to market.

ATI hinted at things to come and announced its intent to incorporate HDTV and video functionality from its CE line of products into its "product portfolio" (read: GPUs). This announcement was very high-level, which means details are few and far between. But reading the tealeaves, we believe ATI will be bringing HDTV-specific video filtering and other similar features from its Xilleon system-on-chip design that currently resides in several Sony HDTVs, as well as the Roku media player.

According to ATI, these new features will not replace the current video acceleration features in its GPUs and its Theater 550 ASIC, but will complement them instead. ATI has a market lead in the area of HDTV and video processing, thanks in large part to its Xilleon design team, and it appears the company is intent upon leveraging that work in its GPUs. Expect to see these features in ATI's next major GPU release, the R500, due out next year.

ATI's announcement is likely in response to nVidia's recent touting of its improved video features found in the GeForce 6600 GT and 6200 GT. Curiously, these features are currently not enabled in the 6800 Ultra and 6800 Go, though nVidia has stated that a coming driver release will enable that functionality. It's been widely reported on the Web that the video processing engine in the 6800 is broken, a claim nVidia officials have denied. We took close looks at the Geforce 6800 Ultra and Geforce 6600 GT.

Laptop systems using ATI's new Mobility Radeon X800 GPU will be available in December from Alienware, Eurocom, Rock and Velocity Micro, according to ATI's press release. Expect to see other high-end laptop makers like VoodooPC, Falcon Northwest, and Dell offer this new GPU as an option in the coming months.

Dave came to have his insatiable tech jones by way of music—,and because his parents wouldn't let him run away to join the circus. After a brief and ill-fated career in professional wrestling, Dave now covers audio, HDTV, and 3D graphics technologies at ExtremeTech.

Dave came to ExtremeTech as its first hire from Computer Gaming World, where he was Technical Director and Lead (okay, the only) Saxophonist for five years. While there, he and Loyd Case pioneered the area of testing 3D graphics using PC games. This culminated in 3D GameGauge, a suite of OpenGL and Direct3D game demo loops that CGW and other Ziff-Davis publications, such as PC Magazine, still use.

Dave has also helped guide Ziff-Davis benchmark development over the years, particularly on 3D WinBench and Audio WinBench. Before coming to CGW, Dave worked at ZD Labs for three years (now eTesting Labs) as a project leader, testing a wide variety of products, ranging from sound cards to servers and everything in between. He also developed both subjective and objective multimedia test methodologies, focusing on audio and digital video. Before all that he toured with a blues band for two years, notable gigs included opening for Mitch Ryder and appearing at the Detroit Blues Festival.


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