Mobile video card?

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Gunfingers
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Mobile video card?

Postby Gunfingers » Wed Oct 10, 2007 8:16 pm UTC

I've been considering getting a laptop, but i'm confused. How does a mobile video card differ from one found in a PC*? I've heard something about it sharing memory. How significantly would this impact performance? Will i still be able to play Oblivion on a 256mb mobile video card?

*Everyone who says "it can move" or anything similar get's dickwhipped.

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Axman
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Re: Mobile video card?

Postby Axman » Wed Oct 10, 2007 8:37 pm UTC

If the video card uses NVIDIA TurboCache or ATI HyperMemory, then it can use system memory as a fourth layer of cache. But most, if not all, discrete mobile video cards have their own memory. This isn't different from desktop PCI-Express video cards with TurboCache or HyperMemory, since they (can) do the same thing. These don't lock out a portion of system memory, they just read and write to it like a page file, and don't take priority over other applications (like a game).

You'd still need a pretty powerful video card to run Oblivion well. Onboard video, which does annex some of the system RAM, will *NOT* be able to play Oblivion, even if it's a 690 motherboard chipset (which is the best onboard video to-date). It's not about the amount of video memory that dictates how well Oblivion plays, it's more about the shader performance of the video card's chipset.

What laptops are options for you?

And for the record, the difference between a mobile and a desktop video card is form factor (they're smaller) and leakage (they're efficient at low power). But architecturally, they're similar or identical to each other. Sometimes, mobile parts of the same designation are clocked a little slower to guarantee that they operate inside a specific power envelope.

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b.i.o
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Re: Mobile video card?

Postby b.i.o » Wed Oct 10, 2007 10:13 pm UTC

It would depend what kind of 256mb card...that tells us almost nothing. The only video cards that share memory are integrated cards, which are pretty awful. Those certainly wouldn't be able to play Oblivion. Something like a mobile 7600 or an 8600M should be fine though (depending on your other specs).

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Re: Mobile video card?

Postby Gunfingers » Thu Oct 11, 2007 2:07 pm UTC

So what kind of mobile video card should i be looking for if i want high performance? Or at least mid-level performance.

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pete
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Re: Mobile video card?

Postby pete » Thu Oct 11, 2007 2:45 pm UTC


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Gunfingers
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Re: Mobile video card?

Postby Gunfingers » Thu Oct 11, 2007 8:42 pm UTC

Thanks for your help, all. I'm now looking very hard at a tricked out HP (2ghz dual core, 2gb ram, 2x120gb hd, 8600M GS, and a 17" monitor) for $1343. Now i just have to convince the wife to let me buy it. In reward for your help, i wil let each of you name one of my children.

DISCLAIMER: Buying this computer will preclude me ever having sex or children.

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Axman
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Re: Mobile video card?

Postby Axman » Thu Oct 11, 2007 9:23 pm UTC

For that price, you're getting quite a laptop. But if there's _any_ way you can get the better video card (8700M GT) you'll appreciate it. Either that, or prepare to play at a low resolution. Oblivion may only cost $50, but the video cards that play it start at three bills.

http://www.toshibadirect.com/td/b2c/cmp ... oid=383433

(Toshiba has to be one of my *favorite* laptop companies.) For comparable, previous-generation video card performance, look for laptops with a 7950M GTX.

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Mathmagic
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Re: Mobile video card?

Postby Mathmagic » Tue Oct 23, 2007 4:50 am UTC

Okay, I figure I can just post my issue here:

I just bought NHL 08 for PC, made by Electronic Arts. Anyway, the system requirements states I need a video card of at least the "ATI Radeon 9000" or later. I have a laptop, and the only info I can find on video adapter cards is that I have an "ATI Radeon Xpress 200M".

My gut instinct is that it isn't enough to run the game, but I shot an email off to ATI customer support anyway, but I don't know when they'll end up getting back to me (if at all). And I want to play my game, but I don't want to open the box if I can't even run it.

So basically what I'm asking is:

Does anybody know how the ATI Radeon Xpress 200M compares to the Radeon 9000 in specs? I've looked on the ATI website, but couldn't find anything.
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Axman
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Re: Mobile video card?

Postby Axman » Tue Oct 23, 2007 5:03 am UTC

It is not nearly as good, although its video acceleration (for DVDs and actual video; video acceleration != 3D acceleration) is really damn good and way above par.

It's onboard video, so not upgradeable, uses the X300 IGP, and is equivalent to an X300 SE video card without any VRAM.

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Mathmagic
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Re: Mobile video card?

Postby Mathmagic » Tue Oct 23, 2007 12:23 pm UTC

Axman wrote:It is not nearly as good, although its video acceleration (for DVDs and actual video; video acceleration != 3D acceleration) is really damn good and way above par.

It's onboard video, so not upgradeable, uses the X300 IGP, and is equivalent to an X300 SE video card without any VRAM.

Thanks so much for your help! That's exactly the information I needed. Now I know that I'll have to end up turning the detail of the game down and I should be fine. :/

Meh, that's what I get for wanting to play games on an entry-level laptop I guess.
Axman: That, and have you played DX 10 games? It's like having your corneas swabbed with clits made out of morphine.
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Axman
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Re: Mobile video card?

Postby Axman » Tue Oct 23, 2007 2:54 pm UTC

I have a couple of games I play on my laptop and it's got a 200M. Like Diablo II, and StarCraft. And Lords of the Realm 2, and Civilization, Baldur's Gate, Planescape: Torment, and any old ROMs I still have (Christ I'm such a sucker for Crono Trigger)...and then there're games like NetHack and MUDs. You can definitely find something to take up your time.

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Mathmagic
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Re: Mobile video card?

Postby Mathmagic » Tue Oct 23, 2007 3:13 pm UTC

Axman wrote:I have a couple of games I play on my laptop and it's got a 200M. Like Diablo II, and StarCraft. And Lords of the Realm 2, and Civilization, Baldur's Gate, Planescape: Torment, and any old ROMs I still have (Christ I'm such a sucker for Crono Trigger)...and then there're games like NetHack and MUDs. You can definitely find something to take up your time.

Yeah... I bought Counterstrike: Source. Apparently any games that run the Source engine suck on crappy vid cards. NHL 06 runs pretty well on my comp, so I might just try to play NHL 08 and have to suck it up and turn down the detail. I'd imagine games like Starcraft and Warcraft would run pretty well, but that's mostly becuse they're not very 3D-intensive. It says in some of the reviews of the card you mentioned that as long as the games aren't incredibly 3D-intensive (like Counterstrike), then games run fine.
Axman: That, and have you played DX 10 games? It's like having your corneas swabbed with clits made out of morphine.
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Axman
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Re: Mobile video card?

Postby Axman » Wed Oct 24, 2007 9:39 pm UTC

It says in some of the reviews of the card you mentioned that as long as the games aren't incredibly 3D-intensive (like Counterstrike), then games run fine.


Fine is so relative it's not even funny. I have problems with any games that run under 40FPS, since I'm pretty sensitive to it. For my reviews, I set 30-60 as acceptable, 60+ as good, 20-30 as bad, and under 20 is unplayable (as an internal guide, since a particular game might be "fine" at 35 but another not at 50, and that my concepts of "fine" aren't universal). However, the lowest resolution I use for benchmarking is 1280x1024 for discrete video and 1024x768 for onboard; it's possible to get "acceptable" framerates from onboard video playing CPU-heavy games (like Source Engine games) at 800x600 or 640x480. I don't know why anyone would play games at those resolutions, though. I'd feel like I was playing through a periscope.


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