Right after the Centrino buzz, we reported in March of ATI’s and NVIDIA’s new mobility graphics processors. This got the mobile industry excited because for the first time, we were told that full high performance DX9 mobile parts were going to be released to the market. No small news either, since they were going to bring the relative performance of desktop systems to mobile systems.

It has been a bit hard to get together a Mobility Radeon 9600 and GeForce FX Go5600 head to head because of the odd product cycles that have been going on. Toshiba was the first to release a GeForce FX Go5600 based system, but this was on the Japanese product cycle, which is around spring/summer. Since the relationship between Japan and North America are intertwined via manufacturers, the US and Canada saw units trickle into their marketplaces. Meanwhile, Europe was really the earliest to see production systems that were based on the Mobility Radeon 9600, but due to marketplace relationships, North American didn’t see any of these products retailed. Mobility Radeon 9600 in North America wasn’t really seen until VoodooPC’s Envy M: 460 hit the market, which was just several weeks back.

Required or not these days, students back in North America are commonly buying notebooks for school use, and NVIDIA’s marketing has decided to go after the back-to-school cycle with their GeForce FX Go5600. Meanwhile, ATI’s Mobility Radeon 9600 will be aimed toward the US fall refresh cycle (sometime around late Q3 and early Q4), which means we will see more design wins in the near future. Though, at the moment, both graphic processors can be considered shipping components. Either way, the two cycles have lead to a shifted timeline between Mobility Radeon 9600 and the GeForce FX Go5600. With GeForce FX Go5600 arriving earlier than its competitor, it was sometimes unfairly compared to Mobility Radeon 9000 (code named M9). M9, though, was not a DX9 part nor supported AGP8X.

Today, we have the benchmark results to show for all of the countless hours. Not only do we have Half-Life 2 for viewing pleasure, but we will throw in the anticipated AquaMark 3. This should give you the full spectrum look into the latest and greatest from NVIDIA and ATI, with our look into full DX9 desktop and mobile graphic processors. You may have seen other media report benchmark scores [for these two mobile parts] that have been called into question, specifically involving odd margin results. In our time spent benchmarking the two mobile graphics processors, we have yet to be able to recreate similar scenarios.

ATI - Mobility Radeon 9600


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  • Anonymous User - Thursday, October 23, 2003 - link

    The Mobility Radeon 9600 with 128MB is available from Compaq/HP.

    MR9600 Pro:

    Mobility FireGL T2:

    So go get yourself one today! Coz I am!

  • Anonymous User - Thursday, October 9, 2003 - link

    There are some people around that are developers. I personally use OpenGL for all my CG projects and there is no comparison for OpenGL. Traditionally nvidia used to have the upper hand in OpenGL (my Golden Sample Ti4200 runs better than Radeon 9700). I'm not favouring nvidia or ati. What I need is something that performs under OpenGL and not DX9...

    Dell inspiron 8600 is a great choice, but it comes with 5650 Go. It is reasonably cheap and extremely powerfull. Easy to get (online) or via a university (my case). Although ATI is faster under DX9, it is not supported by the big names (Dell, Toshiba, Compaq...). So if 5650 is even 80% as fast as 9600 under OpenGL, it IS a choice for me... If it is yet again 400% slower... NO

    Please give us some OpenGL numbers!!!

    Even Quake 3 will do, GLExcess, whatever...



    Norwich, UK
  • Andrew Ku - Monday, September 29, 2003 - link

    #43 Well the different results aren't unexpected. You used a different resolution. :) Reply
  • Anonymous User - Saturday, September 27, 2003 - link

    I'd like to see a couple openGL tests included in the comparison.

  • Anonymous User - Thursday, September 18, 2003 - link

    I get different results!

    I have a Dell Inspiron 8600 with the NVidia 5650 running AquaMark3. I'm using the driver that Dell ships with the 8600 (version I get VASTLY better results on than what's posted in this article. Below, I'm taking my results vs. the article's Radeon numbers:

    Frames per second (FPS)
    My results Results from article
    Chapter Go5650 Go5650 Radeon9600 fps
    1 22.30 11.64 25.97
    2 9.38 4.23 6.68
    3 16.15 8.87 15.00
    4 6.52 5.15 11.27
    5 14.72 9.31 19.93
    6 14.28 8.47 17.96
    7 18.27 9.92 17.08
    8 13.00 6.63 12.56
    9 9.47 4.67 7.93

    I submitted my results to Aquatech's results board under my user name "RonSchaaf" I ran the test multiple times with the same results, running with the Aquatech defaults.

    Big Note: I just double-checked everything and I ran my tests at 1024x768x32, No FSAA, 4x Anisotropy, Maximum Details, with the Driver set to Maximum Quality. But I can't run at 1280x1024 like was done for the article because the Aquatech program won't let me change setting without springing for the "Professional" version.
  • Anonymous User - Wednesday, September 17, 2003 - link

    Nice review.
    It is a good idea you tested the DX9 power of the cards and not some driver or game "optimisations"
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 16, 2003 - link

    #34 Said: "Download 51.75 and run the test. Then tell us what you see. What a bunch of CRAP."

    Your right... with Det 51.75 they'd see a bunch of CRAP. Take a look at these image quality results: http://www.gamersdepot.com/hardware/video_cards/at...

    btw, the accoding to nVidia, the det 51.75 isn't ready to be installed on any machine yet. Kind of funny how that didn't stop them from saying it was the only valid version for benching hl 2...
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 16, 2003 - link

    I agree with shalmanese

  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, September 16, 2003 - link

    I didn't see a mention of the speed of the CPU used.

    Anyone know? (I might have missed it, but it wasn't on the benchmark setup page)

    I know it's a P-M, but at what speed?
  • Shalmanese - Monday, September 15, 2003 - link

    Eh, I thought all in all ,it was a pretty ordinary review, lots of mistakes throughout.

    First of all, your graph numbers are up to 6 significant figures, round them down to even fps or 1 decimal place at the very least.

    While theoretical comparisons laughing at how much the ATI card beat the nVidia card are all very pleasant, some indication for people who may have wanted to BUY these cards, what sort of performance they were in for might be nice as well. This means adding the NV3X and the DX8 codepath figures for HL2 etc. Also, a Go4200 and a Mobility 9000 thrown in might have been good as well but I understand that time may have not been adequate.

    I also noticed that the CPU wasn't listed for the laptop. Is this part of the NDA info? Seems unusual as this is normally given.


    "Mobility Radeon 9600 in North America" should be "THE Mobility..."

    "...between Mobility Radeon 9600..." again, missed a THE ... infact, its all throughout the article.

    " You may have seen other media report benchmark scores that have been called into question. In our time spent benchmarking the two mobile graphics processors, we have yet to be able to recreate a similar scenario."

    huh? you've yet to create a benchmark that has been called into question? What are you trying to say?


    "specifies that the Mobility Radeon 9600 consumes 1.0V while running, and 0.5W in Windows idle." Is that V or W? theres no point telling us what voltage the chip is running at when working. Give us wattage figures.

    pg3: again, you give a V figure.


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