Mobility Radeon X800 and X300 Launch to Low Availabilityby Derek Wilson on November 23, 2004 5:57 AM EST
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IntroductionJust two weeks ago, NVIDIA launched their Geforce 6800 Go mobile solution. Today, ATI is announcing their competing Mobility Radeon X800 and more wallet friendly Mobility Radeon X300. Formerly codenamed M28 and M22, respectively, the introduction of these GPUs mark ATI's push towards top to bottom mobile PCI Express graphics.
We were able to benchmark the Mobility Radeon X800 earlier this month with the launch of the 6800 Go. We weren't sure of the shipping clocks of the then M28, but we can confirm that the part we tested is the part that ATI is announcing today. Running at a 400/400 core and memory clock speeds, the MR X800 bests the Geforce 6800 Go which can be found shipping right now in notebooks at the 300/300 clocks we tested.
NVIDIA has stated that a higher clocked version of the 6800 Go will be paired with GDDR 3 memory at 450/600 clocks, in which case the performance battle could get much more interesting. Of course, the availability of a 450/600 6800 Go notebook is exactly the same as the MR X800 right now. We will try our best to get our hands on some parts for testing as soon as possible, but getting a hold of a shipping notebook will take some time.
We will be counting in weeks, but ATI is saying we will definitely see the MR X800 before Christmas, with the MR X300 following in early January. While the history of mobile graphics has gotten us quite used to waiting months between a GPU launch and it's inclusion in a shipping notebook, the advent of AXIOM, MXM, and custom modular components has really helped to decrease the time it takes to get silicon into a laptop. Weeks down from months for the MR X800 should not go unnoted, but the achievement is quite overshadowed by the fact that NVIDIA pulled off immediate availability of its 6800 Go two weeks before this announcement. We would definitely like to see ATI match this in the future. The blessing and curse for ATI is that they ship a much higher volume of mobile parts than NVIDIA. This may make the logistics of a launch harder, but if anything it only increases the responsibility ATI has to maintain a leadership position in minimizing the time between an announcement and high availability of shipping product. To top that off, NVIDIA has a good jump on the holiday/spring semester season by getting product out in the market place before Thanksgiving.
Just to clarify, this isn't the first time we've seen X800 based tech go mobile. The MR 9800 was based on the desktop R420 chip, but configured with 4 vertex and 8 pixel pipelines (more like a desktop 9800). There are a few differences here: PCI Express, GDDR3, higher clocks, and ... well, let's wrap it all up in a nice package.