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3Digest MOBILITY: January 2007

February 7, 2007








Monthly drivers report and popular 3D
accelerators comparison

Monthy 3Digest is the project of iXBT.com and Digit-Life.com dedicated to informing you about the performance of a large number of graphics cards under Windows XP in the past month.

It's our 80th issue of 3Digest.

January 2007

Starting this year we begin benchmarking notebooks with rather powerful Middle-End or even Hi-End graphics.

We clearly understand the impossibility of benchmarking a notebook graphics card separately from a notebook. We are bound to the given notebook configuration, which may differ radically in terms of RAM and CPU. And even the core logic plays its role. Nevertheless, more and more users are willing to know the difference between various notebook graphics cards, market share of which grows each year.

So, how do we compare devices with very different system resources and no clear GPU/memory clock rate regulations (since each vendor clocks its notebooks graphics as he wishes.)

Thus we had no choice, but to go the "hard way". We will be gathering statistics for different notebooks from the angle of their graphics subsystems. Therefore in our digest we'll be benchmarking resolutions from 1024x768 to 1600x1200. Of course, these are rather relative, since many notebooks have wide displays, but there's huge variety of matrices and sizes, many having their peak resolutions. We believe that even the highest-end mobile machine with the most powerful graphics can fail even at 1600x1200. Do not forget that while having the same markings as desktop solutions, notebooks graphics can have pared-down clock rates, pipelines, etc.

As our statistics database grows, we'll be publishing newer issues of 3Digest MOBILITY with updated charts and ratings.

We are open to your opinions, creative criticism and suggestions. We would like this material to be interesting and wanted. We must also say it straight: questions about the absence of certain notebooks in our ratings will be rejected. We usually can't select models to test, so we get what we're offered.

CONTENTS

  1. Testbed configurations and test software
  2. Tested videocards list
  3. What's new in 3Digest
  4. Test summary diagrams and digest bottom line
  5. 3D accelerator rating calculations for the end of the month
  6. Screenshot gallery
  7. Game Quality Section
  8. Game Quality Control Section



1. Testbed configuration



Of course, each notebook is a testbed of a kind, so there's no unified testbed configuration.

All notebooks have Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2, DirectX 9.0c installed. 22" Mitsubishi monitor was used. (22").

The list of benchmarks is here

2. Notebook list

Below are links to pages for each of the benchmarked notebooks. Each page contains brief information about the notebook and, most of all, its graphics subsystem.

Speaking of quality values, they are identical to those of desktop graphic cards. So, you can see the quality of 3D produced by tested cards in our monthly updated Screenshot gallery.

Card list:

  1. ASUS W2PC (RADEON X1700 Mobility)
  2. Fujitsu-Siemens AMILO Xi1546 (RADEON X1800 Mobility)
  3. RoverBook Voyager V700 WP (GeForce 7900 Go)
  4. Roverbook Nautilus W790 (GeForce 7900 Go SLI)

Archive (video cards, information on which is not updated anymore)

3. January 2007 news and current matters

4. Summary charts of notebook graphics performance for January 2007

All willing to see the complete results in Excel 2003 format can download this RAR 3.0 or this ZIP archive.

Before you start browsing charts, we would like you to revise the differences between desktop and mobile graphics with the same markings.

You should remember that while mobile GPUs might be named the same as their discrete desktop modifications, they are ALWAYS pared-down in something. For example, a usual Radeon X1800 has 16 rendering pipelinesm while its mobile variant has only 12. And even if you find desktop and mobile graphics identical in architecture and pipelines, the latter would always be underclocked.

So if you see a notebook featuring, say, ATI Mobility X1800, you shouldn't expect an X1800 XT. At best, it may be an underlocked X1800 XL. As a rule, mobile graphics performance ranges between similar desktop solutions and desktop cards of a lower level. E.g., X1800 Mobility performance will be between those of X1800 XT and X1600 XT. Sometimes, it may just be a mere marketing trick. You won't find X1700 Mobility in desktop series, though it's architecture is identical to that of X1600. The performance can be even lower though due to lower clock rates.

And another thing: while all desktop cards (with certain exceptions) have a clear clock rate regulations, the clock rates of mobile GPUs and memory vary according to vendor needs. Some may prefer lower energy consumption and heat emission and reduce clock rates. And some may wish superb performance at the expense of battery life and cooling system noise.

So, if you see GPU test results for a certain notebook, do not consider them correct for all notebooks with similar graphics. This is another difficulty of comparing mobile graphics. Even the same name, like GeForce 7900 Go, won't guarantee same performance in every one notebook.



5. Notebook 3D Graphics Rating

The rating was calculated using the gathered gaming benchmark results.


All willing to conduct their own rating calculations with own values are invited to download this Excel XP table in RAR 3.0 or ZIP format.

The method of rating calculation is described here.

Calculations were conducted considering the following assumptions:

  1. Percentage of performance and quality demand ratio:
    • performance priority - 60%
    • quality priority - 40%

  2. Only the HIGHEST resolution available in games was used to calculate prospect ratings.
  3. The usability rating indicates performance and features of a card (numerator) related to its price (denominator).

WE UNDERSTAND THAT PERFORMANCE IS HEAVILY AFFECTED BY SYSTEM RESOURCES, OTHER THAN GRAPHICS CARD. THEREFORE THESE RATINGS ARE RATHER RELATIVE.

"Usability" Rating:

GENERAL usability rating

01. RoverBook Nautilus W790
577
1177
66100
02. Fujitsu-Siemens AMILO Xi1546
518
923
47700
03. RoverBook Voyager V700 WP
418
917
56700
04. ASUS W2Pc
320
912
75000

"Prospect" Rating:

GENERAL prospect rating

01. RoverBook Nautilus W790
577
1177
66100
02. Fujitsu-Siemens AMILO Xi1546
518
923
47700
03. RoverBook Voyager V700 WP
418
917
56700
04. ASUS W2Pc
320
912
75000



Ingame quality



6. Games screenshot gallery

All test screenshots are compiled into a gallery where you can qualify the work of a chosen videocard. All shots were taken at the same 1024x768 resolution at the maximum quality. Screenshot gallery

7. Game Artefacts Gallery

Game Quality Section

8. Game Quality Control Section

Game Quality Control Section



We thank all the companies that provided us with graphics cards and other equipment for our 3Digest, including:
Foxconn Russia,
MSI Russia,
Gainward,
HIS (and personally Peter Yueng)
NVIDIA Russia,
ATI Technologies Russia,
Sapphire Technology Russia,
ASUStek Russia,
Gigabyte Russia,
AOpen Russia,
Bench'emAll! (and personally Alexander Kondratyuk AKA Render for helping us optimize bechmarking).



The PSU for the testbed was kindly provided by HIPER




                               The Dell 3007WFP monitor was kindly provided by NVIDIA




Vitaly Milov (vmilov@ixbt.com)
Danil Gridasov (degust@ixbt.com)





Andrey Vorobiev (anvakams@ixbt.com)
06.01.2007

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