ATI’s New Mobile Graphics Chip

ATI have unveiled their latest mobile graphics chip – the Radeon Mobility 9800. The DirectX 9 card is actually based on the new Radeon X800 core, and will first appear in Dells Inspiron XPS and Inspiron 9100.

Graphics capabilities have become far more important in recent years due to three factors: screens have become far better, good TFT screens are cheaper, and many people are buying laptops not just for business, but because they don’t have enough space at home for a full sized PC. And many of those people want to play games.

“Thanks to the new Mobility RADEON 9800, the Dell Inspiron XPS is the first laptop in the world with the power to run the Splinter Cell 3 E3 Weather demo at above 30 fps.” said Dany Lepage, Splinter Cell 3 lead programmer at Ubisoft’s Montreal studio. “The strong performance of the Mobility RADEON 9800, with antialiasing and the widescreen display of the Inspiron XPS, should allow players to experience Splinter Cell 3 in the best possible conditions.”

“ATI continues its outstanding graphics performance with the MOBILITY RADEON 9800 and enables us to be more creative with the visual effects in our games,” says Peter Molyneux, founder of Lionhead Studios. “Gamers can now experience the advanced 3D graphics in applications like Black and White 2 previously available only to desktop users.”

The Mobility 9800 has eight pixel pipelines and uses ATI’s Smartshader technology. A powerful graphics processor will basically eat your laptop battery in one gulp, but ATI have developed Powerplay to make sure you can actually play Splinter Cell past the loading screen.

Paradoxically, the chip runs at 100MHz less than its predecessor the 9700, but it has a staggering 110 million transistors – more than twice that of the previous offering.

Mobility Radeon

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?