Gfx card for a notebook
LSd016

Do the gfx cards usually installed in notebooks have accelerated features? My mother is going to buy a notebook this month and I'm concerned about the card. Since notebooks aren't usually used for games, is it likely that I will get some crappy card with it?

The rest of the components seems fine: CPU 2600MHz, 256 MB DDR, CD-RW and DVD. But the gfx card is something like:

Integrated AGP with SIS M650 16-64MB.

Could this be non-accelerated? Also, if it's something with "Radeon" in its name, can I be sure it's a good accelerated card?

Matthew Leverton

I have the Radeon Mobility 9000 and it plays Age of Mythology relatively well. I'm not familiar with the chip you mentioned.

Thomas Fjellstrom

if its a Mobile Radeon or Mobile Gforce, you can at least assume games will run. With that SiS chip, you might have some problems ;)

LSd016

To be more precise, will every card in a notebook support OpenGL and Direct3D?

And what class of games do you mean? I'm aiming at the newest UT and many games yet to come in... a year? Some card for $200 would be enough, but what's the counterpart for a notebook?

Steve Terry

you cannot guarantee that all notebook video cards support OpenGL or Direct3D. You cannot change a notebook video card since it's soldered into the motherboard. I'd stick with a moile Radeon or mobile Nvidia designed notebook. Simply look for the Nvidia or Ati logo on the keyboard part of the notebook. At least if those logos are present you can guarantee HW accelleration on games... but it's not going to be very fast at newer games... especially the "next gen" games.

Chris Katko

From my experience, SIS cards aren't known for quality or power.

I'd really recommend one that says Radeon Mobility or the nVidia equivilent. I doubt you'll be able to play Doom 3 on that SIS. I mean, 64mb of ram...my GeForce4 has 128.

Quote:

Also, if it's something with "Radeon" in its name, can I be sure it's a good accelerated card?

Pretty much, yeah.

Derezo
Quote:

I doubt you'll be able to play Doom 3 on that SIS. I mean, 64mb of ram...my GeForce4 has 128.

You're right, but I don't see what the amount of memory has to do with it. Notebooks have shared memory anyways, don't they? :P

Quote:

Also, if it's something with "Radeon" in its name, can I be sure it's a good accelerated card?

More or less... but, memory bandwidth is the primary factor in choosing onboard video. I usually go by what memtest86 tells me. Seems to be very accurate.

For example, an A7N8X-VM motherboard has about ~1.3GB/s at DDR333. That's awesome, because it has onboard video (GF4 MX440). It can play all sorts of games.

The K7VM2 I have here has ~360MB/s bandwidth (DDR266 though). It is pathetic. It simply cannot play games. It has trouble with 2D stuff :P The video chip on it is a VIA ProSavage 8.

Finally, a A7N266-VM gets ~640MB/s at DDR266. It's video is far better than the K7VM2, but is a little over half as good as the A7N8X-VM in benchmarks.

These are all desktop solutions, but I'm doubtful notebooks will be completely different. So, find out how much the memory can pump out. That's the most important factor.
Not to say the chip is completely irrelevant, but in terms of nVidia VS ATi for onboard solutions, that's fairly accurate.

Chris Katko
Quote:

You're right, but I don't see what the amount of memory has to do with it.

It's (usually) a good indication of it's relative speed. Newer faster cards often have more RAM then the older slower ones. 64mb used to be a ton, now, you can't even get a current generation card (GF FX/etc) with that much.

Voodoo 3 - 16 to 32mb
Kyro II - 32 to 64mb
GeForce 4 TI - 64 to 128mb
Radeon 9800 Pro - 128 to 256mb

The RAM part aside. From my experience, SIS cards are bad. Every onboard of theirs I've seen has been horribly slow.

Quote:

Notebooks have shared memory anyways, don't they?

Probably. So in that case, it's not as essential. But I imagine they still brag about it in the laptop descriptions, so it might still apply.

Derezo

Well, with integrated situations 64MB VS 128MB is irrelevant. It's just a bios setting, really.

With desktop solutions, especially mid market cards, 64MB, 128MB and 256MB does not show the power of a card.

Quote:

now, you can't even get a current generation card (GF FX/etc) with that much.

Like This 64MB GeForce FX5200, or This radeon 9200? :P

The 9200 will pummel even it's 128MB brother on that site.. because the 128MB version there is a mere 64-bit memory interface, while the 64MB version has a full 128-bit memory interface. :)

Then there's the 256MB Radeon 9600's and 256MB GeForceFX 5600's. Both awful cards, which suffer greatly from their large memory capacities. They cheap out on the ram and use ram which has higher latency, which leads to slower performance. The first generation of 256MB Radeon 9800's suffered from this if I remember correctly.

SIS cards are bad in most cases though :P
The chip on the K7SEM I have here isn't half bad for 2D applications.. and the odd older game at 640x480.. but, it's terrible in 3D.

Chris Katko
Quote:

Like This 64MB GeForce FX5200, or This radeon 9200?

Well, I'm not familar with the radeons too much, but 9200 isn't exactly high-end, is it? And considering that GeForce FX5200 goes for $55 on pricewatch, so I'm going to take a guess and say it's a POS.

Often cards with large amounts of RAM will have a lower RAM frequency (like mine) then the lower RAM ones. I didn't bother touch up on that, because I'm lazy. :)

And I didn't say it was the end-all, I said usually. Compare a 4mb card to a 64mb. Take a guess at which one is faster.

Derezo

Which 64MB? Onboard SIS? ;D ;)

Quote:

but 9200 isn't exactly high-end, is it?

High-end? Dear me no. Nor is any other card in this thread :P
The 9200 is way under $300, which I would say is the price of a mid range gamer's card.

I got a 3DMark01 score of over ~8400. I was really impressed, for a budget card.
Definitely a good buy for a gamer on a tight budget.
Not quite as good as the 128MB FX5200 I put in 23's system, which had a score of ~8700 when tested in my computer. It's also DirectX 9.

For non-integrated affordable solutions, those are definitely the best offerings from ATi and NVIDIA... but.. this thread isn't about desktop cards! ;D

Bob
Quote:

I got a 3DMark01 score of

3DMark01 is almost entirely CPU bound...

Derezo

Ohhh..
That MUST be why my system gets over double when it's using my 9800.. ;D

Sorry bob, but that doesn't sound very accurate. With a Radeon 7000LE in here, I get less then 2000 marks.

LSd016

It doesn't look good. Now she's going to buy a notebook with Radeon IGP340M, which gives 8 fps in Quake3 in 1024x768x32. :( Because the one with MR9000 will cost some insane ammount, even though the version for a normal PC is a mere $80.

Such is life I guess... :'( I was hoping to run Crazy Taxi on it.

Adol

For the ultimate laptop gaming machines, at a reasonable price, goto [url http://www.storepc.com/pricelist.asp].
My top choice would be the [url http://www.storepc.com/smoreinfo.asp?iid=166642] because it has a radeon 9600 pro, believe it or not. Plus the 800 fsb. My friend called the company to make sure this was for real, and he found out a few things:

1) Yes, it's for real
2) They use desktop processors, and they will give u a heatsink if you decide not to purchase one of their processors
3) The video cards are not shared memory (at least the one he asked about wasnt...)
4) They dont force you to purchase an OS or any of that software crap companies normally bundle in with computers you buy. Kudos to storepc.com for that!

You just gotta find yourself a harddrive and ram and you should be set! (P4 desktop processors are relatively easy to come by) 8-)

EDIT: Ohyeah, forgot about the WXGA screen that you can upgrade to an SXGA for I believe 80 bucks or something...

Bob

Don't forget, you also get up to 30 min of battery! ;D

Adol

Really? They can run on batteries?!
Seriously though, I have no problem whatsoever using an outlet when I would take the laptop to a friend's LAN party. Besides, if you had a 2 hour battery life, that's still not enough for a real lan party or for a long trip... more IS better, but it's still not a lot.

Thomas Fjellstrom

Laptops usually run on batteries yes.. Otherwise they wouldn't be all that portable now would they? ;)

Marcello

Mine lasts about 15 minutes... fucking pain in the ass, can't really use it at school or anywhere except at home or when I go on vacation... Then I have to find an outlet and hook everything up and blah....

1ghz p3-m, geforce2go 32mb (not shared).

Marcello

jhuuskon

Uhh. My old an crappy AST Ascentia J10 has an hour of battery life even if the battery is almost eight years old and probably lost some of its capacity. I guess laptop power consumption rises at the same pace as batteries improve. :)

Chris Katko

Batteries technology hasn't increased much at all. I recently read an interesting article on that. Generally, the more powerful the hardware, the more watts it takes. A Radeon All-In-Wonder 9800 Pro sucks more juice I care to think about.

Marcello: Chances are, all you need is a new battery.

Marcello

It never lasted much over 30 minutes when it was new... and I never use it on battery.

Marcello

Matthew Leverton

My Dell 600m (14" screen, 1.3GHz Pentium M with Radeon M 9000) gets 4 hours on the battery when doing programming, web surfing, etc.

Marcello

How heavy is that one?

Marcello

Matthew Leverton

It's the second lightest model Dell makes. Unlike the ultra-slim models, it has an interal (removable) bay for CD/DVD, etc. It's right at 5 pounds. Lightest model is 3 pounds.

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