Right after the Centrino buzz, we reported in March of ATI’s and NVIDIA’s new mobility graphics processors. This got the mobile industry excited because for the first time, we were told that full high performance DX9 mobile parts were going to be released to the market. No small news either, since they were going to bring the relative performance of desktop systems to mobile systems.

It has been a bit hard to get together a Mobility Radeon 9600 and GeForce FX Go5600 head to head because of the odd product cycles that have been going on. Toshiba was the first to release a GeForce FX Go5600 based system, but this was on the Japanese product cycle, which is around spring/summer. Since the relationship between Japan and North America are intertwined via manufacturers, the US and Canada saw units trickle into their marketplaces. Meanwhile, Europe was really the earliest to see production systems that were based on the Mobility Radeon 9600, but due to marketplace relationships, North American didn’t see any of these products retailed. Mobility Radeon 9600 in North America wasn’t really seen until VoodooPC’s Envy M: 460 hit the market, which was just several weeks back.

Required or not these days, students back in North America are commonly buying notebooks for school use, and NVIDIA’s marketing has decided to go after the back-to-school cycle with their GeForce FX Go5600. Meanwhile, ATI’s Mobility Radeon 9600 will be aimed toward the US fall refresh cycle (sometime around late Q3 and early Q4), which means we will see more design wins in the near future. Though, at the moment, both graphic processors can be considered shipping components. Either way, the two cycles have lead to a shifted timeline between Mobility Radeon 9600 and the GeForce FX Go5600. With GeForce FX Go5600 arriving earlier than its competitor, it was sometimes unfairly compared to Mobility Radeon 9000 (code named M9). M9, though, was not a DX9 part nor supported AGP8X.

Today, we have the benchmark results to show for all of the countless hours. Not only do we have Half-Life 2 for viewing pleasure, but we will throw in the anticipated AquaMark 3. This should give you the full spectrum look into the latest and greatest from NVIDIA and ATI, with our look into full DX9 desktop and mobile graphic processors. You may have seen other media report benchmark scores [for these two mobile parts] that have been called into question, specifically involving odd margin results. In our time spent benchmarking the two mobile graphics processors, we have yet to be able to recreate similar scenarios.

ATI - Mobility Radeon 9600


View All Comments

  • Anonymous User - Monday, September 15, 2003 - link

    That 30 FPS-eye-limit rubbish always comes up in these sort of threads - I can't believe there are people who think they can't tell the difference between a game running at 30 FPS and 60 FPS.

    Anyway, I'd like to ask about the HL2 benches - you mention the 5600 is supposed to drop down a code path, but don't specifically say which one was used in the tests. DX8? Mixed? The charts say "DX 9.0", so if that was indeed used then it's interesting from a theoretical point of view but doesn't actually tell us how the game will run on such a system, since the DX8 code path is recommmended by Valve for the 5200/5600.
  • Anonymous User - Monday, September 15, 2003 - link

    The "car wheels not rotating right" effect is caused by aliasing, and you'll still get that effect even if your video card is running at 2000fps.

    Besides, you're limited by your monitor's refresh rate anyhow.
  • Anonymous User - Monday, September 15, 2003 - link

    #14 that is incorrect and totally misleading. Humans can tell the difference up to about 60fps (sometimes a little more).

    Have you ever seen a movie where the car's tires dont seem to rotate right? Thats becuse at 29.97fps you notice things like that.

  • Anonymous User - Monday, September 15, 2003 - link

    #13, unless your not human, the human eye cant see a difference at 30fps and up. 60fps is a goal for users cause at that point, even if there is a slow down to 30fps you cant see the difference. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Monday, September 15, 2003 - link

    Overall, I liked the article...

    However, whilst I understand that you wanted to run everything at maximum detail to show how much faster one chipset may be than another, it would have been helpful if some lower resolution benchmarks could have been thrown in.

    After all, what good does it do you to know that chip B may perform at 30fps whilst chip A performs at 10fps if both are unplayable?

    I don't mind whether I can play a game at an astoundingly good detail level or not - I care more about whether I can play the game at all! :)

    In the end, we'd all love to be able to play all our games in glorious mega-detail looks-better-than-real-life mode at 2000fps, but it's not always possible.

    A big question should be can I play the game at a reasonable speed with a merely acceptable quality. And that's the sort of information that helps us poor consumers! :)

    Thanks for your time and a great article.
  • Sxotty - Monday, September 15, 2003 - link

    Um do you mean floating point (FP16) or 16bit color? As opposed to FP32 on the NV hardware, as ATI's doesn't even support FP32, which is not 32bit color. ATI supports FP24. LOL and the no fog thing was just funny, that is NV's fault it is not like it has to be dropped they did it to gain a tiny fraction of performance. Reply
  • rqle - Monday, September 15, 2003 - link

    I really like this comment:

    "Don’t forget that programmers are also artists, and on a separate level, it is frustrating for them to see their hard work go to waste, as those high level settings get turned off."

    Hope future article on graphic card/chipset will offer more insight on how the may developer feel.
  • Anonymous User - Monday, September 15, 2003 - link

    please note: the warcraft benchmark was done under direct3d. now nvidia cards perform badly under direct 3d with warcraft whereas ati does a very fine job. it's a completely different story, however, if u start warcraft 3 with the warcraft.exe -opengl command. so please take note of that, only very few people about this anyway. my quadro 4 700 go gl gets about +10fps more under opgengl compared to d3d! Reply
  • Pete - Monday, September 15, 2003 - link

    Nice read. Actually, IIRC, UT2003 is DX7, with some DX7 shaders rewritten in DX8 for minimal performance gains. Thus, HL2 should be not only the first great DX9 benchmark, but also a nice DX8(.1) benchmark as well. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Monday, September 15, 2003 - link

    so valve let you guys test out half life 2 on some laptops eh? very nice. (great review to, well written) Reply

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