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Mobile Graphics Card Info!

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
The Mobile Graphics Card Info Page

The purpose of this page is to show you how well different GPUs perform in modern games, as well as where they place in terms of performance in comparison to others. I will also hav explanations for each different class of video card.

Before you read...

--Click Here for an easy way to find out if your GPU will run a certain game:
http://www.systemrequirementslab.com/referrer/srtest

--Please do not post the specifications of your laptop and ask what games you can play on it. It clutters the forum; look at the system requirements of the game. If you have a higher-end system, then there is no point to asking.

--The GMA X3000 is not even out, don't ask about it.

--DirectX 10 - it will be some time before this comes to notebooks. Probably next spring/summer at the earliest. No cards currently on the market are compatible with it, and they cannot be upgraded in any way to support it.
Now on with the guide.
Index:
-Use the Find function in your browser and type in the code (with the colons) to be taken directly to that section.

1.Video Card comparison
A.Integrated Cards
B.Low-End Cards
C.Mid-Range Cards
D.Performance Cards
E.High-End Cards

2. What kind of GPU do I need?

3. Information about video memory

A.Shared Memory Technologies

4. FAQ's


Section 1

A.Integrated Graphics Processors

What are Integrated Graphics Processors (IGPs)? They are a simple graphics controller located on the motherboard. IGPs (with few exceptions) do not have their own memory and cannot play complex 3D games. Integrated graphics cards are not for gaming – office work, DVD watching, and web surfing is near the limit of their capabilities. They can be found in almost any size notebook, from those with a 10.6” screen to 17”. Advantages of an IGP include low power consumption and virtually no heat.

Although IGP performance is for the most part irrelevant, they are rated below from lowest-performing to highest:
Quote:
Intel GMA900
Intel GMA950
ATI Radeon Xpress 200M
Nvidia GeForce Go6150
ATI Radeon Xpress 1150
Intel always has the worst IGPs performance-wise. The GeForce Go6150 and Radeon X200M are very similar in performance, while the X1150 improves on them by about 30% in terms of overall performance.
IGPs have no memory of their own – they borrow it from the main system memory. Some IGPs, such as the Radeon X200M/X1150 can have some dedicated memory (64-128MB max.), but that is not common.

B.Low-end Video Cards

Even if you are a non-gamer, it is probably in your best interest to get a notebook that has a low-end video card. The reasoning behind this is because:
A. They have their own dedicated memory to use, and will not share with your main system RAM as a standard integrated card will.
B. Low-end video cards have technologies that smooth out video playback and DVDs.

Low-end video cards can be found in notebooks ranging from 12” to 17”. If you are looking for an ultraportable (12” and less), then you probably won't get a dedicated card. It is not a huge deal if you don't have a dedicated card, it is simply a nice feature to have.

From lowest to highest performance:

Nvidia GeForce Go6200
Nvidia GeForce Go7200
ATI Mobility Radeon X300
Nvidia GeForce Go7300
ATI Mobility Radeon X1300
Newer notebooks with dual-core processors will have the Radeon X1300 and GeForce Go7300; the X300 and Go6200 are previous-generation parts and were replaced by them.

C.Mid-range Video Cards

Mid-range video cards have enough power to play the latest games at comfortable and enjoyable settings. You won't be able to push the settings to maximum, but overall are well-rounded cards. They do not produce a lot of heat nor require a lot of power, and can be found in notebooks from 12” to 17”.

From lowest to highest performance:


Nvidia GeForce Go6400
ATI Mobility Radeon X600
Nvidia GeForce Go7400
ATI Mobility Radeon X1400
Newer, dual-core notebooks will have the Radeon X1400 and Nvidia GeForce Go7400. They replaced the X600 and Go6400 respectively.

D.Performance Video Cards

Now we're talking. Hardcore gamers and those looking for the best visual experience in a 15.4” or smaller notebook should target these cards. They can be found in anything from a 14” to a 17” notebook, and have ample power to play the latest games at the highest settings or close to it. Power consumption is higher than that of the mid-range cards, but still balanced. It is not hard to find a notebook with one of these cards that still has good (3+ hours) battery life.

From lowest to highest performance:

Nvidia GeForce Go6600
ATI Mobility Radeon X700
Nvidia GeForce Go7600
ATI Mobility Radeon X1600
Nvidia GeForce Go7700*
Nvidia GeForce Go7600GT
The ATI Radeon X1600 and GeForce Go7600 are found in newer dual-core notebooks, and replaced the X700 and Go6600 respectively. The Go7600GT is the most powerful Performance card right now, but is only found in the Sony AR series 17" notebook.
*The GeForce Go7700 is a new graphics card; judging from specifications, it should be slower than the Go7600GT, but faster than the Go7600.

E.High-end Video Cards

If you are looking for the best possible performance in a notebook, the below cards are the fastest out there. You won't find them in anything short of a 17” notebook. They have considerably power requirements and produce equally high amounts of heat, hence the 17” size notebook is needed to house a cooling system for them. High-end video cards can handle all the latest games at high resolutions and maximum settings.

From lowest to highest performance:

Quote:
Nvidia GeForce Go7800
ATI Mobility Radeon X1800
Nvidia GeForce Go7900GS
Nvidia GeForce Go7800GTX
ATI Mobility Radeon X1800XT
Nvidia GeForce Go7900GTX
Nvidia GeForce Go7950GTX
All of these cards can be found in newer dual-core notebooks. ATI's high-end cards are always hard to find; the X1800XT is nearly impossible. The best cards here are the Go7900GTX and Go7950GTX, which handily outperform ATI's offerings.


Section 2: What kind of video card do I need?

If.....

-You don't play games
-You want the best battery life
-Portability is very important
....Then you are looking for a notebook with integrated graphics.

If.....

-You don't need the best visual graphics, but just want to play occasional games
....Then a low-end video card should serve you well. Mid-range will also do, but not entirely necessary.

If.....

-Your gaming needs are moderate, you want to balance visual quality and don't want to spend a lot
....Then a mid-range card would suit you best.

If....

-You are a frequent gamer and want to enjoy a game at higher settings
-You want to retain some portability and battery life
.....Then a performance-class video card is what to shoot for.

If....

-You want to play the latest games on the highest settings
-Portability and battery life aren't the highest priorities
....Then you're looking at a high-end card and a 17”+ notebook.

Section 3: Information About Video Memory

“How much video memory do you need?” is a common question these days. Answer – 128MB to be able to comfortably handle the latest games. 64MB doesn't cut it, although there are exceptions if the card uses the shared video technologies known as HyperMemory (ATI) and TurboCache (Nvidia) – more on that later.

Most gamers should not have any problems playing games on a 128MB card. Hardcore gamers should really go for the 256MB chips; they are much better at higher resolutions and settings.

A.Shared Video Memory Technologies

Shared video memory is memory the video card borrows from the main system RAM. Shared memory is in no way a substitute for real dedicated memory. It usually does not provide much of, if any, performance gain.
HyperMemory is ATI's version of shared memory. Usually, if a card is advertised as, for example, “256MB ATI Mobility Radeon X1400 HyperMemory”, the video memory is double what it actually has. So this X1400 would actually be 128MB dedicated, and the other 128MB shared from your main system memory.

Nvidia's technology, TurboCache, is more difficult to figure out. For example, a “256MB Nvidia GeForce Go7400 TurboCache” could be half dedicated and half shared as in the ATI example above, but also could be one quarter dedicated and three quarters shared (64MB + 192MB). Of the two technologies, Nvidia's is superior, as part of it is done in hardware; ATI's solution relies completely on software and is considerably slower.

Always find out how much dedicated video memory a card has before buying to be safe. The shared memory technologies are really confusing, and frankly, it is ripping off the consumer, tricking them into thinking that a video card is better than it is.

Section 4: The FAQ

1.Is an ATI Radon X1400 256MB better than an ATI Radeon X700 128MB?
This is a very common train of thought – more video memory must mean better performance. This is not true – the video card itself matters more than the memory it has.
In this case, the X700 is the faster card, even though it has half the video memory. The reason for this is fairly simple – the X1400, although it has 256MB of memory, cannot use all of it effectively.
Here's a primitive example. An office worker can use a maximum of three computers at a time. If he is given an additional three comptuers, is he any more productive? No, because he can only use three of them to begin with. The extra three do nothing.

2.How much RAM do I need to play the latest games?
The minimum needed today to play modern games without issues is 1GB. Most games will run fine with that amount of memory. If possible, it is best to go to 2GB for the ultra-modern games (such as FEAR, Oblivion, etc).

3.My game keeps crashing and getting odd errors and glitches, is there anything I can do?
There are several:
-Do a Windows Update manually: Start, All Programs, Windows Update. Do a “Custom” scan when it pops up and see what sort of updates are available for your system, mainly under hardware.
-Check for updates and patches for the games; Google is a great place to start.
-Update your video drivers

4.I am experiencing very poor gaming performance, even though my computer should easily be able to play the game.
Try this:
-Start, Right-click My Computer, Properties, Advanced tab, under “Performance” hit Settings, Advanced tab. Now under “Virtual Memory”, change it to 1.5 or 2GB.
-Update your video drivers
-Make sure Vsync is off, both in-game and on your video card as well;
-Right-click Destkop, Properties, Settings, Advanced, and look for the option to toggle it on and off. The location varies, so I cannot give an exact location
-Make sure Anti-Aliasing and Antistrophic filtering are off both in game and on your video card, see above bullet.

5.Will a fast processor make up for a slower GPU?
No, it will not. The GPU is the bottleneck in most cases; it doesn't matter whether you have a low or high-end processor. If the video card is slow, the game will also run poorly because of it. The CPU can only do so much.

6. What is the best video card I can get in a 15.4" notebook?
The best video cards available in a 15.4" notebook are the Nvidia GeForce Go7600 and ATI Mobility Radeon X1600. If you want a faster card, such as a GeForce Go7900 or ATI X1800, then you will need to get a 17" machine. There is no way around that.

7. How do I measure my FPS (Frames Per Second) in games?
There is a utility you can download which will display the frames per second in games - FRAPS:
http://www.fraps.com/
Download & Install, then minimize it and it will reside in the System Tray. The framerate counter will appear in one of the corners of your screen when a 3D application is opened up.
The ideal framerate is 30FPS and over; if you are not getting 30, then adjust settings until you do.

I will be adding more questions to the FAQ - feel free to post suggestions in this thread.

Conclusion:
Overall, I hoped this guide has helped clear up some common and more advanced questions regarding 3D graphics in a notebook. Please make sure any questions you ask here in the Gaming/Graphics forum aren't already answered in this guide. Feel free to post specific questions in this thread by replying to it.


Thank you for reading. And please sticky this lol, may help a lot of people.
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post #2 of 17
Nice effort and some great info..Welldone.
post #3 of 17
I recently purchased an XPS M1210 with a GO 7400, I have been trying to benchmark the graphics but it keeps saying that there is no 3D support. Do you think this is just a software problem?
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post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Sounds like it, the 7400 definitly has 3D support lol.
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post #5 of 17
I just got a dell inspiron1501 with a ati radeon x1150 256mb pci-e with hypermemory(Hypermemory...wish i'd of read this page before buying), and it runs almost every game terribly. is there any way to overclock my card to make it run better? or anything at all? (vista gives it a 2.9)


Windows vista basic
AMD Turion64 X2 @ 2Ghz
1gb ram
80 gig hard drive
ati radeon x1150 256mb pci-e Hypermemory
post #6 of 17
I gots T7200 2GHz, 2GB sddram and ATI M R X1400 128mb on 17" Inspiron e1705. I was wandering how to dermine safe GPU clocking speeds, if I for instance try to do some HL2 source mods binging, and get a kick on the graphics performance. I also seen somwhere on the forums that T7200 isnt that clockable. And if that isn't true, then where do we fly from here and which tools are recommended?

My GPU stock speeds are 432/392.
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post #7 of 17
SSJ3Goku.... Bravo.... very nice post.... I have a very simple question for you. Have you found anywhere (other than EBay) to get laptop vid cards for anything CLOSE to a reasonable price?? I find them TERRIBLY hard to get my hands on and always at an outrageous price. I currently have a Core2Duo 2.0ghz and 7900GO but my laptop still trys to throwup playing games like Crysis... I was thinking to look for one of the new 8XXX cards but again... dunno where to look.
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post #8 of 17
It'll be useful to buy a mobile GPU(MXM card) only if your notebook has a MXM slot(I,II,III or HE(types of MXM slots)) nd supports mxm cards, not the modular ones which are not mxm made by most of the laptop manufacturers!!

Most custom laptop manufacturers like Sager, Eurocom,etc make dedicated MXM notebooks for future upgradeability.

Newest nvidia 8700M GT MXM comes for MXM slot III compatible notebooks!!

Check out this link to see whether ur lappy is upgradeable or not-- http://www.mxm-upgrade.com/Table.html

This site also has a store u can look up at- http://www.mxm-upgrade.com/store.html

on this site you can also learn a great deal about MXM!!

hope this helps!!

P.S. in b/w MXM stands for:- Mobile pci-eXpress Module
    
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200GB 7200RPM SATA2-300 Super Multi DUAL Layer Combo 8x8x6x4x Dual Layer Windows Vista Ultimate x64 SP2 SP1 17" WUXGA(1920x1200)Widescreen"Super Clear Glossy" 
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post #9 of 17
Just a heads up... while i do have a Dell laptop which are notorious for not being upgradeable it's a E1705 .... on top of that it has a "special order" motherboard that is MXE and doesn't have any service tags on it.... so yes, i know i can swap cards.... as it has a 7900GO in it now

2ndly... i'm in American and those prices go right over my head lol... and they only sell ATI.... booo.... i want a new 8XXX for my lappy
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post #10 of 17
i guess E1705 does not have a MXM slot, as MXM slots only support nvidia gpus but E1705 also comes with ATI x1400?!!!

Actually, Ati gpus use AXIOM slots, which are different from MXM used by nvidia. That is why Dell made a slot that would accept both Ati and Nvidia cards.-- quoted frm-- http://forum.notebookreview.com/show...=36118&page=15

As u said u upgraded the gpu to GO 7900. Did u buy it seperately as an MXM or was it provided by Dell??
As far as i know dell used to make and provide modular gpus for their notebooks (neither MXM nor AXIOM) earlier, as Dell had constructed a proprietary module even before MXM was introduced!!

For more info-- http://www.notebookcheck.net/Upgrade...rd.3236.0.html
nd
here is the tutorial for upgrading.. but it dosen't mention the slot type though-- http://www.notebookcheck.net/Case-St...00.4187.0.html

Wow!! cool lappy man! wish i had that one

Check this link out-- http://www.mxm-upgrade.com/Notinthelist.html

Maybe it'll help u get a clearer picture!!
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel®Centrino® Core 2 Duo T9300 Intel PM965 Crestline and ICH8-M nVIDIA GeForce 8800m GTX 512MB GDDR3 4GB OCZ DDR2-800MHz RAM 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
200GB 7200RPM SATA2-300 Super Multi DUAL Layer Combo 8x8x6x4x Dual Layer Windows Vista Ultimate x64 SP2 SP1 17" WUXGA(1920x1200)Widescreen"Super Clear Glossy" 
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Full size laptop keyboard Laptop Power Brick + 8 cell Battery Clevo M570RU-U Chassis Logitech V470 Cordless Laser Bluetooth mouse 
Mouse Pad
Steelseries Qck mini 
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel®Centrino® Core 2 Duo T9300 Intel PM965 Crestline and ICH8-M nVIDIA GeForce 8800m GTX 512MB GDDR3 4GB OCZ DDR2-800MHz RAM 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
200GB 7200RPM SATA2-300 Super Multi DUAL Layer Combo 8x8x6x4x Dual Layer Windows Vista Ultimate x64 SP2 SP1 17" WUXGA(1920x1200)Widescreen"Super Clear Glossy" 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Full size laptop keyboard Laptop Power Brick + 8 cell Battery Clevo M570RU-U Chassis Logitech V470 Cordless Laser Bluetooth mouse 
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Steelseries Qck mini 
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