updated 09:45 am EDT, Mon September 25, 2006
ATI Mobility Radeon X1700
While graphics in desktop replacement laptops have seen performance upgrades and even two-chip SLI variants in 2006, the mid-range graphics that thinner, more portable systems depend upon have remained largely unchanged since late 2005. NVIDIA began the series of much-anticipated upgrades earlier in September through the introduction of the GeForce Go 7700; on Monday, ATI announced a sweeping update of its laptop graphics line that improves performance without increasing the power draw. The Mobility Radeon X1700 is a refinement of the mid-range X1600 made on a new strained silicon process that improves performance by a relatively modest amount but should extend battery life. In turn, the X1450 and X1350 are being marketed as alternatives to integrated graphics for laptop builders who need improved 3D performance for Windows Vista. Both share the architecture of the earlier X1400 and X1300 versions and use the strained silicon technique to reduce the heat and power that would otherwise keep them out of ultra-portable systems. ASUS is expected to be the first company to use all three new Mobility Radeons in its laptop line and should announce the new computers soon.