As I’m sure you’ve spotted by now, Benny has had his mitts on a notebook equipped with nVidia’s new 7800 mobile graphics chip, but what of the chip itself?
Well, it’s a sizeable step up from the Go 6800s with 24 pixel pipelines and eight vertex shaders, putting it on par with the 7800GT and GTX desktop cards. Core clock speed has been reduced slightly to 400MHz from the 430MHz that rockets along on the GTX, while the memory still races at 1,100MHz, a mere 100MHz off what is currently the fastest consumer graphics card in the world.
There are two main reasons why nVidia has been so successful is transferring its blistering desktop performance to the mobile market. Firstly, the “Go 7800 GTX” is fabricated using the smaller and more energy efficient 90 nanometre process (desktop parts were made using 110nm). Secondly – and this is particularly cool – nVidia now designs its cutting edge graphics solutions initially for the mobile part and then transposes it to the desktop. Yeah, clever and ballsy.
Will laptops which employ this chip suffer from disastrously low battery life? In theory, no. The reason for this is the dynamic clock scaling technology nVidia has implemented. Essentially, the 7800 works on demand: if it is not required to be at full pelt then unnecessary horsepower will be reduced, with some sections shutting down completely. To steal one of my little brother's favourite sayings: Sweet as a nut (though I never thought nuts were that sweet…?)
So how much are notebooks employing this gamers’ paradise likely to cost? Benny’s Evesham (he wishes that wasn’t just a turn of phrase) will come in around the £1,800 mark and that is a model strong on value. Of course a lot depends on your manufacturer of choice. If you’re a Voodoo groupie expect little change out of two and a half grand.
Still, it’s a small price to pay for running Half Life 2 at 1600 x 1200 with 4x FSAA and 8x AF at 76.9 frames per second, isn’t it? Isn’t it…. ;)