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ATI shows off Mobility Radeon 7500

Keep your filthy hands off our notebook marketshare

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ATI launched the latest chip in its renewed assault against its arch-rival, Nvidia, yesterday: the notebook-oriented Mobility Radeon 7500.

From a graphics perspective, there's little that's new here. The mobile 7500 offers the same core technology as the desktop 7500, and both are essentially little more than faster Radeons.

However, the notebook part does incorporate ATI's latest power-conservation technology, PowerPlay, which the company claims can "extend DVD playback" by 25 per cent more than "competing solutions".

PowerPlay appears to work like Intel's SpeedStep technology: the chip adjusts its core voltage and clock speed depending on whether the user is running off the mains or on battery. Users can choose to select their preferred voltage and speed parameters depending on how they themselves want to balance performance and battery life. The chip groups its voltage/clock speed settings into three modes: DVD, 2D and 3D.

ATI reckons the Mobility Radeon 7500 can consume less than 0.5W of power, but even it has to admit that's in optimal "light use" conditions.

PowerPlay also reduces a notebook's LCD refresh rate to further cut battery power in instances when it can get away with doing so.

The Mobility Radeon supports 128-bit DDR SDRAM, the first chip of its kind to do so, and it can access up to 64MB of the stuff. The chip also supports digital flat panel LCDs and a straight-to-TV port.

ATI hopes all this will help it maintain its lead in the notebook graphics chip market, having lost the desktop space and others to Nvidia. Nvidia is slowly making headway here, with its GeForce 2 Go and - it hopes - its mobile workstation-oriented Quadro 2 Go, so ATI's alternative needs to be compelling. The 7500's incorporating of the Radeon technology left out of previous Mobility chips - transform and lighting, in particular - should help. ®

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