ATI Radeon

Interesting laptops spotted during the week

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

It is hard to be on holidays and try to keep up with tech news… During the days I spent in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria there have been news about interesting laptops:

  • Dell Latitude Z: ultraslim business laptop powered probably by Intel CULV processors.
  • Dell Vostro 1220: affordable 12″ business laptop powered probably by Intel CULV processors, too.
  • Dell Inspiron 14: 14″ affordable home laptop. The Inspiron Mini 11 seems to have been spotted, too.
  • Sony Vaio NW: home laptop, the cheapest series in Sony’s laptop line. The most interesting model (and likely the top of this series) sports an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4570 and BD player for less than 800 USD.
  • Updated graphics cards in other Sony Vaio series: up to now I have noticed the availability of the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4650 with 1 GB GDDR3 in the FW series (16″) and the 4570 with 512 MB GDDR3 in the SR series (13″; this is a lot of graphical power for a 13-incher!).

Did I miss something interesting?

Dell Studio XPS 16 with ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4670 almost ready?

Friday, June 19th, 2009

According to Notebook Italia the update to the Dell Studio XPS 16 to the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4670 (from the current 3670) could be imminent. Their sources are not very clear, but if you are going to purchase this laptop and you need a good gaming performance, maybe it is better to wait a little.

Update: while in the web the 3670 is the only card shown (correction: IT IS available at the Dell’s site), some users at the Notebook Review forums seem to have ordered their laptops with the 4670, so you could try ordering by phone and ask for that card.

Dell Studio 1555 available in Europe

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

The Dell Studio 1555 with the graphics card ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4570 is already available in Europe.

Dell Studio 1555 in Europe

There are very few benchmarks, but it looks like the performance of the Mobility HD 4570 is close to that of the mainstream graphics cards of the prior generation (a bit lower than the Mobility HD 3650).

Pricing in Spain is similar to that of the 1537:

  • 499 € base model (Intel Pentium T4200 a 2 GHz, 2 GB de RAM, 160 GB hard disk, Intel GMA 4500MHD).
  • 649 € with ATI graphics (Intel Core 2 Duo T6400 a 2 GHz, 4 GB de RAM, 320 GB hard disk, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4570 512 MB).
  • 929 € with BD player (Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 a 2,4 GHz, 4 GB de RAM, 500 GB hard disk, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4570 512 MB, BD player).

ATI Radeon HD 4770: great performance/price ratio but high idle power consumption

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

ATI released today the Radeon HD 4770, world’s first graphics card built on a 40 nm manufacturing process (but the Mobility Radeon HD 4830 and 4860 were announced first). Here you have the first available reviews:

The main conclusion is that this card has an excellent performance/price ratio: with a recommended price of 109 USD its performance is higher than that of the HD 4830 and similar to that of the HD 4850.

I was personally interested on this card because I’m thinking about upgrading my HD 3450, but I see that in my case it is a bad option: my computer is on may hours, but I play games very seldom, so I’m looking for a graphics card with a very low idle power consumption and I was thinking on the HD 4670. The HD 4770, in spite of the 40 nm manufacturing process, has an idle power consumption much higher than the HD 4670. So my first option still is the HD 4670, even with a much lower performance. The power consumption of the HD 4770 under heavy load IS much lower than that of graphics cards of similar performance, so in this situation the 40 nm manufacturing process shows its efficiency.

At the moment none of my sponsors has the HD 4770 available.

ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3450 gaming benchmarks (Call of Duty 4, Crysis, World of Warcraft, F.E.A.R. 2, Sacred 2, Red Alert 3, Unreal Tournament 3, World in Conflict, GRID, Far Cry, Half Life 2)

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

GPU-Z ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3450ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3450 is a quite common graphics card, often found in cheap laptops and its gaming performance higher than integrated graphics cards. While it is not a gaming graphics card, it delivers an acceptable performance in not very demanding games and, when resolution and detail level are kept low, even in the lastest titles. We are going to examine its performance in the demos of the games Call of Duty 4, Crysis, F.E.A.R. 2, Sacred 2, Red Alert 3, Unreal Tournament 3, World in Conflict, Race Driver: GRID, Far Cry y Half Life 2.  If not otherwise noted, all fps measurements were taken using FRAPS.

All tests have been performed in the demo versions, not in the full games. What impact can you expect on the measured performance? Usually the full game is better optimized, specially after one of more patches have been released, so performance can be better in the full game; but it is also usual that the full game has scenes of a higher visual complexity than the demo, resulting in a lower performance in such scenes.

All tests have been performed on a Dell Studio 15 sporting an Intel Core 2 Duo T5800 (2.0 GHz), 3 GB de RAM DDR2-800 and Windows Vista Home Premium SP1. Stock drivers were used. So both a faster processor and newer drivers can deliver better results. Results are expressed in fps (frames per second).

Call of Duty 4 (COD4)

  • Best performance: 800×600, everything Low or Off: 33-84 fps (average 50.4).
  • Native resolution: 1280×800, everything Low or Off: 8-48 fps (average 27.1)
  • Good compromise 1: 1024×768, Normal textures, all other settings Low or Off: 12-61 fps (average 31.1 fps)
  • Good compromise 2 (picture): 800×600, Low textures, all other settings Low or Off excepting Shadows On, Dynamic lights Low: 15-62 fps (average 30.0 fps)

At 800×600 and all settings at the minimum it is completely smooth, but visually the game is ugly and, removing shadows and most effects, it feels quite unrealistic. With shadows on and dynamic lights the game is more realistic and it is still quite playable. In conclusion, it is very playable if resolution and detail settings are kept low.

Call of Duty 4

Crysis

  • Best performance: 800×600, everything Low: 13-40 fps (average 25.3).

The demo is playable at 800×600 and even at 1024×768, but gameplay is not very smooth and can be annoying. In addition, some effects, such as fog and smoke, cause a noticeable reduction in fps, and this can be a problem in the full game: caution. The game is visually nice, but Crysis at minimum settings is not Crysis…

Crysis

World of Warcraft

  •  1280×800, Fair settings but High resolution textures: 22-30 fps (average 25.1).
  • Also playable at 800×600, Good settings (fps not measured).

I took the 10-days free trial. It’s very playable at 1280×800 and Fair settings, and you can even use High resolucion textures. Beware of expansions (mainly Wrath of the Lich King), because they need more graphics power.

World of Warcraft

F.E.A.R. 2 : Project Origin

  • 800×600, everything at minimum, shadows On: 10-61 fps (average 30.7).

I was surprised that one of the lastest games, F.E.A.R. 2, is playable in my modest laptop. Visual quality is quite good, but performance is lower when there are spectres and phantoms nearby, scoring 10-32 fps (average 29.7), so caution with the full game. Removing shadows will result in better performance, but in a game like this one I think it is very nice to keep them on.

F.E.A.R. 2

I uploaded a short video (30 s) to Youtube.

Sacred 2: Fallen Angel

  • Best performance: 1024×768, Low: 15-53 fps (average 33.5).
  • Native resolution: 1280×800, Low (picture): 13-38 fps (average 30.0).

It is good to find a game that works nicely at the native resolution of the monitor. fps scores are not very impressive, but this kind of game does not need as many fps as first person shooters. Perfectly playable.

Sacred 2

Red Alert 3

  • Native resolution: 1280×800, Low: around 30 fps.

Perfectly playable at 1280×800 and Low settings, but going to Medium quality results in slow moving units and laggy scroll, and that is a pity, because Medium graphics look really nice.

Red Alert 3

Race Driver: GRID

  • Best performance: 800×600, Low (picture): 30-40 fps (average 45.0).
  • Native resolution: 1280×800, Low: 13-31 fps (average 24.5).
  • Better quality: 800×600, Medium, MSAA Off: 14-22 fps (average 18.8).

Perfectly playable at 1280×800 and Low details, but it becomes too laggy for me at Medium details, even at 800×600.

Race Driver: GRID

World in Conflict

Tests performed using the built-in demo benchmark tool, not with FRAPS:

  • Good performance: 1024×768, Low: 12-114 fps (average 40 fps).
  • Native resolution: 1280×800, Very Low: 10-110 fps (average 42.0 fps).
  • Good compromise (picture): 1280×800, Low: 10-96 fps (average 34.0 fps).

The demo benchmark tool gives low fps when the big bomb is released, but playing the demo gameplay is smooth and visual quality is good. It is possible that, if big explosions are usual in the full game, playability can suffer, so caution.

World in Conflict

Unreal Tournament 3

  • Best performance: 800×600, everything quality 1 (picture): 31-57 fps (average 42).
  • Better resolution: 1024×768, everything quality 1 : 22-34 fps (average 27).
  • Better quality: 800×600, everything quality 2: 24-49 fps (average 35.7).

All tests performed in the map ShangriLa, that seems to be more demanding. In a multiplayer deathmatch you really want 30 fps at least, but you can get them. While graphic detail is low, gameplay is very smooth and visual quality is not bad (compare the textures below with the ones in the COD4 picture).

Unreal Tournament 3

Far Cry

  • Best performance: 800×600, everything Low: 110-200 fps (average 148).
  • High quality: 1280×800, everything High (texture filter quality Medium): 19-31 fps (average 26.7).
  • Good compromise: 1280×800, everything Medium (picture): 27-50 fps (average 40.0).

Far Cry is from 2004, but at that time it was one of the more demanding games in the market: at 1280×800 and medium details I still wish it was a bit more smooth. Anyway, it is very playable and visual quality is good.

Far Cry

Half Life 2

While contemporary of Far Cry, it is perfectly playable at 1280×800 and maximum quality: it is so smooth I did not bother recording the fps. Counter Strike: Source uses the same graphics engine (Source) and is from 2004 too, so it is likely that you can play this game at high details too.

Half Life 2

Other current games

Sadly many new popular games do not have an available demo, but you can guess if they are going to be playable:

  • Far Cry 2: playable on similar cards such as the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3200 at 1024×600 and Low details, so it has to be playable on the 3450.
  • Fallout 3: playable on an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3470 with a mix of medium and low details, so it is probably playable at low details on the 3450.
  • Left 4 Dead: seems to run very well on a desktop 3450, that is marginally more powerfull than the Mobility version, so it is likely playable at an acceptable quality.
  • GTA IV: it is a poorly optimized game that needs a powerful computer. Probably NOT playable.

Conclusions

Is the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3450 a gaming graphics card? NO! But lets you play many current games at low detail and resolution. As that the tests have been performed in the demo version and not the full game, I would be cautious before buying a game when the demo was barely playable. If you enjoy playing current games at good quality, it is better for you to look for a “600 series” graphics card at least: Mobility Radeon HD 2600 or 3650, or Nvidia 8600 or 9600. You can be interested on the laptop graphics card comparison or on other articles in the benchmarks section.

If you play games on this card, leave a comment and tell us your experiences!

ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3670 gaming benchmarks vs Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT

Monday, January 19th, 2009

The new Dell Studio XPS 16 (1640) sports an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3670 and maybe you are disappointed, because you expected a Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT. So what is the actual gaming performance of the Mobility Radeon HD 3670? The first reviews have popped out, so we can compare a few scores:

Game and configuration HD 3670 (fps) 9600M GT (fps) Source
Crysis: Medium details, 1024×768, AA off, AF off 16.2 17.8* PC Magazine
Crysis: High details, 1920×1080, AA off, AF 4x 1.6 1.8* PC Magazine
World in Conflict: Medium details, 1024×768, AA off, AF off 18 20* PC Magazine
World in Conflict: High details, 1920×1080, AA off, AF 4x 6 7* PC Magazine
Unreal Tournament 3: unspecified details, 1280×800, AA off, AF off 57.3 64.3** CNET
F.E.A.R.: Autodetect, 1024×768 77 77* Laptop Magazine
F.E.A.R.: Maximum detail, 1920×1080 24 N.D. Laptop Magazine

* 512 MB DDR2 version, with an Intel Core 2 Duo T9600 (2.8 GHz, 6 MB cache)
** 512 MB GDDR3 version, with an Intel Core 2 Duo T9600 (2.8 GHz, 6 MB cache)

All benchmarks for the Mobility Radeon HD 3670 (512 MB GDDR3) were performed using an Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 (2.4 GHz, 3 MB cache). So it is hard to tell if the 10% advantage in favor of the Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT DDR2 is because of the graphics card itself or because of the faster processor. Anyway, both the Mobility Radeon HD 3670 and the GeForce 9600M GT DDR2 are clearly very similar in performance.

Please tell me about any more gaming benchmarks you can find!

Far Cry 2 on laptops benchmarks: what graphics card do you need to run it?

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Far Cry 2

So Far Cry 2 is already here and you want to know if your laptop is going to play it fine… Or maybe you are going to purchase a new laptop and want to be sure that it is powerful enough to play Far Cry 2 at high quality. People are posting benchmarks here and there and now we have some information.

Can be played with any current low-end dedicated graphics card. Users are reporting playable frame rates (25-30 FPS) with an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3200 at 1024×600 and low settings. Other users are happily playing it with an Nvidia GeForce 8400M GS (at 720×480 and 2x AA).

It is very enjoyable with any good graphics card. Users are reporting good frame rates (over 35 FPS) with an overclocked Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT DDR2 at 1280×800 and a mixture of High and Very High settings.

High-end dual cards get a lot of performance. Users are reporting 50+ FPS with a Nvidia GeForce 9800M GTX SLI at 1680×1050 and Ultra High settings.

Source: Notebook Review message boards. You can look at my laptop graphics card comparison to compare these cards with yours.

As said in Guru3D: if you can play Crysis, you can play Far Cry 2 better.

Laptop graphic card performance (GeForce 9200M 9300M 9400M 9500M 9600M 9700M 9800M, Mobility Radeon 3450 3470 3650 3850 3870)

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

The landscape of graphics cards can become confusing, but luckily we have benchmarks published in many sites that help us to assess the relative performance of each card. To help you decide which one is the optimal graphics card for your laptop, I have drawn a chart covering the most usual laptop graphics cards at the moment. The chart plots 3DMark 06 scores and data are from Notebookcheck tables: this is just an effort to make the available information more graphical and simple. If the graphics card you are interested in is not listed in the chart, it is lileky that it is in the original tables. In addition, you can find useful the laptop processor benchmark comparison, the benchmark section and the gaming laptop section.

You can also be interested on the laptop benchmarks contributed by users

Card listing: Intel GMA 950, GMA X3100, GMA 4500MHD; Nvidia GeForce 8400M GS, 9200M GS, 9300M GS, 9400M, 8600M GT (DDR2 and DDR3), 9500M GS, 9600M GT (DDR2 and DDR3), 8700M GT (single and SLI), 8800M GTX (single and SLI), 9700M GTS, 9800M GT (single and SLI) and 9800M GTX (single and SLI); ATI Mobility Radeon HD 2400, 3200, 3450, 3470, 3650, 3850 (single and CrossFire), 3870 (single and CrossFire).

Featured laptops:

laptop graphics cards performance comparison

Background color represents the ability of the card: red, not good for games (save older ones); yellow, good for games light on resources and HD movies; light green, good for most games; dark green, good for all games. This is an oversimplification, and depending on the game/card combination you may need to lower resolution or detail. But I think it’s a good approximation.

In case you have any questions, you can use the message boards to ask them.

ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2: first benchmarks

Monday, July 14th, 2008

This week starts with the first benchmarks of ATI’s most powerful card: the Radeon HD 4870 X2. Here you have:

PC PerspectiveAnandTech - ExtremeTech

The comments of the reviewers are not as good as the ones got by the Radeon HD 4850 and 4870, because while some games get a greatly improved performance, others run as on a single HD 4870. We have to wait for the results with final cards and drivers.

And talking about graphics cards, ATI plans the end of life of 3000 series in September.

ATI Radeon HD 4870: the full picture

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

The reviews of the graphics card ATI Radeon HD 4870 have just been published, and they are really excellent: the performance is similar to that of the Nvidia GeForce GTX 260 but the price is only a 75%.

AnandTechPC PerspectiveArs TechnicaExtremetech

These reviews include the comparision with all the cards in the current generation: Radeon 4850, Radeon 4870, GeForce 9800 GTX+, GeForce GTX 260 y GeForce GTX 280, and are a very good way to choose the right card for you. We only lack the publication of “the best cards for the money, July 2008? by Tom’s Hardware (very soon in its GPU article section).

You can order many of those cards at Newegg; here you have a few selected cards:

SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 4850 100242L Video Card SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 4850 100242L Video Card SAPPHIRE 100242L Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card

EVGA GeForce GTX 280 01G-P3-1280-AR Video Card EVGA GeForce GTX 280 01G-P3-1280-AR Video CardEVGA 01G-P3-1280-AR GeForce GTX 280 1GB 512-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card

For other manufacturers and more cards, go to Newegg:

Once You Know, You Newegg