ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 GPU Preview
The Asus A7G and Final Thoughts
The Asus A7G Notebook
While we had the unit in our hands, why not take a quick look at the A7G notebook itself?
The 17" screen was impressive looking and didn't produce any image ghosting that I noticed during game play. It uses a brightness enhancer that is becoming more common on notebooks and greatly increases the appearance of colors and both lights and darks on LCD screens. It does however, produce a slightly more annoying glare that standard LCDs.
The touch panel was pretty common and worked well for a touch pad (I always prefer to use a mouse) and the media control buttons under the touch pad weren't easily pressed by my wrist when on the keyboard.
The left side of the notebook houses the single PC Card slot, Firewire, audio output and microphone connection, one USB port and the infrared input for the media remote that will ship with the notebook.
The right side is where the optical drive is located; in this case they were DVD-RW drives. One down fall is the placement of the power cord; when the angled connector is in the position shown above, you can open the optical drive.
The back of the notebok has the VGA output, printer output, four more USB ports and a PS/2 output as well.
Overall the new Asus A7G notebook looks like a great showcase for a new mid-range mobile GPU as the system was not overly large or heavy despite having a large 17" widescreen.
The ATI Radeon Mobility X1600 GPU is supposed to be available very soon in the upcoming Asus A7G notebook. After getting in touch with Asus, they plan on shipping parts right after the new year.
As with other notebook GPU releases, there is an expected delay in announcement and availability in mainstream notebooks. When we might see products from Compaq, Gateway, Dell, or Falcon is unknown, but ATI assures us we'll see them soon after we hit 2006.
The X1600 will come in two main flavors: one with memory integrated onto the silicon and one without. Depending on the ODMs usage model, the memory/GPU on a chip method allows builders to make a smaller notebook overall, but forces them to use slightly slower clock speeds in order to maintain proper cooling. This particular chip shows the X1600 (M56 codename) with 256 MB of on-die memory. It could be a beast.
The Radeon Mobility X1600 looks to be a powerful addition to the mobile GPU arsenal from ATI. With solid gameplay performance as well as new improvements in power management for battery savings, the X1600 should be a good offering for notebook users looking for a gaming notebook that doesn't have the weight a desktop replacement.
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