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The Start Of Something Beautiful

Also, if you do require more power, manufacturers will be able to add in a discrete HD 3400 graphics card and take advantage of Hybrid CrossfireX to combine the power of both the discrete and onboard graphics chips. Although performance will still be some distance away from what you'd expect playing on a big powerful desktop PC, most modern games will be eminently playable. Moreover, while we were quite scathing of the real world use of onboard graphics (with or without HybridCrossFire) for gaming on a desktop PC, on a notebook, graphical fidelity comes a distant second place to simply being able to play and enjoy a game on the move.

Of course, using two graphics cards together all the time would drain your battery pretty quickly but AMD also has this covered with the help of PowerXpress, which enables the computer to turn off the discrete graphics card and just run with the onboard graphics when not gaming. This can be done without rebooting and requires only a short wait to switch between each mode. Best of all, this feature is available not just on the new HD 3400 but also the whole HD 3000 range.

So, when you're sat waiting at an airport with a mains plug socket you can be playing your chosen game at great visual quality on a notebook with HD 3800 graphics then once you're on the plane you can switch to the M780G graphics to work, watch a movie, or even game at very low settings while on the plane.

At this point I'm sure there are a few of you reading this and thinking 'What's so revolutionary about this? Ok, I can switch between graphics cards on the fly but it still requires me to carry around the bulk of that extra card and when I do want to game it will probably drain battery life quicker than you can say 'headshot!'.

Well, of course you'd be right. Puma is quite nice and all the folks in the office will be excited when we get our first review samples, but really I was just leading you on. Puma, while welcome, isn't the exciting bit, what really piqued my curiosity was something that garnered surprisingly little fanfare at the events I attended - it was like AMD threw it in as an afterthought. It's called XGP and if all goes to plan it could revolutionise the way we view not just gaming on notebooks but the role of PCs and notebooks as a whole.

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