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ATI Technologies announced Tuesday its new graphics processor intended for portable computers. The graphics chip features twice higher number of pixel pipelines and twice wider memory bus compared to today’s mobile graphics processing units and is currently treated as the world’s highest performing graphics solution for laptops.

The new MOBILITY RADEON 9800 graphics processor, unlike the name may suggest, is based on the company’s latest graphics micro-architecture known as the R400-series and does not have a lot to do with the original RADEON 9800 for desktop computers, but more resembles ATI’s latest RADEON X800-series. The new mobile visual processing unit sports 8 pixel and 4 vertex pipelines offering tangible advantage over existing mobile graphics chips with 4 and 3 or 2 pixel and vertex pipes respectively. Additionally, the novelty boasts with 256-bit memory bus, previously a prerogative of desktop graphics cards.

In spite of expectations, MOBILITY RADEON 9800 still uses AGP bus, not PCI Express to interconnect with other parts of a notebook system.

Markham, Ontario-based ATI Technologies positions its new MOBILITY RADEON 9800 for gamers on the run, users who desire extreme gaming experience from notebooks. With growing popularity of the so-called “desknote” portable PCs – notebook form-factor PCs that are rarely transported and work on battery power – such market positioning seems to be wise for ATI, who is the leader in mobile graphics.

The new MOBILITY RADEON 9800 offers 60% - 90% higher performance compared to the previous high-end mobile offering MOBILITY RADEON 9700 in games like Halo, Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness, Splinter Cell and benchmark Auqamark3 in 1280x1024x32 resolution.

ATI’s new chip sports all technologies found in the RADEON X800-series graphics processors as well as the company’s patented power-saving capabilities.

ATI remained tight-lipped over thermal envelope of the MOBILITY RADEON 9800 with memory as well as their core-clocks, but said that the chip is being made using 0.13 micron low-k fabrication process at TSMC in Taiwan.

Some believe that the MOBILITY RADEON 9800 is a technology that will eventually make it to the desktops targeting performance-mainstream market segment.

The RADEON 9800 for portables will be shortly available in Dell’s high-end notebooks aimed at gamers. Later this year ATI will also release MOBILITY RADEON 9500 technology to address gamers who do not wish to pay for a fully-fledged MOBILITY RADEON 9800.


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