ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 to sport on-chip DDR RAM

GDDR-2M support too

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Not to be outdone by Nvidia's GeForce FX Go 5200 and 5600 announcement, ATI had a mobile chip launch of its own today, unveiling the Mobility Radeon 9600. It also announced the Mobility Radeon 7000 Integrated Graphics Processor.

The 9600 is the first mobile graphics chip to support GDDR-2M, a DDR 2 variant incorporating power-saving features. OEMs can connect discrete memory to the chip or choose any of three versions that incorporate up to 128MB of memory in the chip packages - a technique not so far from the on-die approach taken by BitBoys (remember them?)

Further power management comes from PowerPlay, ATI's SpeedStep-like power conservation system. The 9600 core can operate at 1V, and consumes just 0.5W when idling. The 9600 is fabbed at 0.13 micron.

Interestingly, the 9600 is the first mobile chip to be user-upgradeable, claims ATI, thanks to "full pin and driver compatibility across multiple product generations". So finally ATI is matching Nvidia on the scope of its drivers.

ATI says the chip can handle 12 pixel shading ops per clock cycle - delivering "up to 50 per cent more performance than the fastest competing desktop graphics processors in key benchmarks, including 3DMark 2000 Pixel Shader 2.0", boasts ATI. There's a lot more willy waving along those lines in the release, so we'll assume it's a lot more powerful than its predecessors. And we'll look forward to independent benchmarking.

The 9600 is shipping now, as is the 9600 Pro and the Mobility Radeon 9200, the AGP 8x successor to the 9000. Systems incorporating the chips should ship this Spring.

The 7000 IGP, meanwhile, supersedes the Radeon IGP 340M, offering 333MHz DDR support and the ability to hook up to Intel's Centrino Pentium M, the Mobile Pentium 4-M and the desktop Pentium 4 with a 533MHz frontside bus. It supports AGP 4x, and ATI claims it's 25 per cent faster than its predecessor.

Like the 9600, the 7000 is designed to allow user upgradeability (if the OEM chooses to offer it) and incorporates PowerPlay. ®

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