Skip to main content

Desktop Graphics Ambitions: ATi Mobile Radeon 9800

MR 9800 Model Types

The MR9700 comes in three different models: First, a separate chip with differing amounts of external video memory and different memory configurations, and a memory interface of variable breadth. Also, there's a chip with 64 MB or 128 MB of integrated video memory and a 128 bit memory interface.

The MR9800 will only be available as a discrete chip with a 256 bit memory interface.

On the other hand, MR9800 will only be found in notebooks as a discrete chip, and in principle with a 256 bit memory interface.

Other Innovations Of The MR 9800

As mentioned before, ATi has doubled the number of vertex shaders in the MR9800 from two units in the MR9700 to four. With respect to features, the MR9800 has nothing new to offer. As before, 2.0 vertex shaders are supported. However, this boosts the polygon performance of the new chip respectably. The number of pixel pipelines - eight in the MR9800 - is double that of the MR9700.

As with the X800 desktop counterpart, the number of possible shader instructions has been raised from a previous maximum of 160 to 1,536 (512 each for vector, scalar, texture). This makes new and considerably more complex shader effects possible and thus allows for clearly realistic representation of contenders in games. Because these shader calculations should now be possible even at the highest screen resolutions, and thus in high-definition resolution, ATi has now given the shader the marketing-friendly name of "Smartshader HD".

Also brand new is the 3Dc , implemented in the texture unit.

3Dc: The combination of a relatively simple polygon model (1000 polygons) and a texture in the form of a pre-calculated normal map produces a result with the visual quality of a much more expensive polygon model with 15,000 polygons.

Behind this abbreviation is a hardware compression for normal maps. Anyone interested in the details of this compression technology can read up on them in the article on the launch of the X800, ATi's X800 Pulls Off Another Coup in the Graphics Performance War .