At this point it's important to point out that our system came with a pre-production BIOS and drivers, which underlines the relative age of this new chipset. Given this it's safe to assume that the results we garnered aren't as high as they could potentially be, though how much better they might be we wouldn't like to guess. Despite this, we can say with no ambiguity that the 8800M GTX is every bit as powerful as we were hoping and represents something we can finally call a genuine DX10 mobile graphics solution.
As ever we've tested 2D and obviously 3D performance, using a number of different benchmarks. For 2D testing we run PCMark05 and PCMark Vantage, along with our own in-house Photoshop Elements and Virtual Dub rendering. For gaming we ran Counter-Strike: Source, Prey, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars and Crysis.
Although we use PCMark05 primarily as a 2D benchmark, there is also a graphics component to the benchmark and it's generally the first thing we run on notebooks because it's quick and easy. Immediately it gave us a pretty clear idea how good the 8800M GTX might be, with it producing a score of 11,616 compared to the mere 6,368 of the 8700M GT powered Rock X770 T7700 we previously looked at. Now, obviously this is a synthetic test and is little more than an indicator, but considering the result was nearly double we were suitably encouraged.
Setting aside the graphics score for moment, results from PCMark05 and our in-house tests also showed that this is certainly one of the fastest notebooks we've tested in general use. A combination of one of the fastest Santa Rosa CPUs and 7200rpm hard drive certainly help in this regard and with a 1,920 x 1,200 display and DVI output on hand, multi-tasking using two displays will be no problem at all.
For our gaming performance tests we start with Prey and Counter-Strike: Source, two older games that nonetheless manage to hold their own. In the past these were the sorts games ideally suited to gaming notebooks, primarily because they aren't quite as demanding as many of the more recent titles out there. As a result we've only run these games at the full 1,920 x 1,200 native resolution, with textures and details all set to their highest while varying the level of anti-aliasing and filtering.
As you can see looking at the performance graphs, results were impressive. In Counter-Strike: Source the 8800M GTX powered Rock managed an average of 56.35 frames per second with 8x anti-aliasing (AA) and 16x anisotropic filtering (AF), comfortably over double that of the 8700M GT powered machine that managed 23.57 frames per second. Results were even more dramatic in Prey, where the 8800M GTX powered machine managed 60.66 frames per second with 4x AA and 8x AF, compared to a pathetic 16.46 frames per second with an 8700M GT. A slightly faster CPU might explain away some of the difference in performance, but on the whole it's clear the 8800M GTX is a massive step forward.