Graphics, Processor, and HD Display
Mobility Radeon graphics
With dual Mobility Radeon 4870 GPUs, it goes without saying that the W90Vpís most distinguishing feature is its graphics subsystem.
From a pure architecture perspective, ATIís Mobility Radeon 4870 is pretty similar to its desktop counterpart. The only real compromise thatís been made to the Mobility Radeon GPU in comparison to the desktop Radeon is clock speeds, but more on that later.
The chip sports the same 800-shader architecture with a 256-bit memory interface, and utilizes GDDR5 or GDDR3 memory depending on the system manufacturer. In the case of
the W90Vp, ASUS uses GDDR3 memory.
By opting for GDDR3 instead of GDDR5, the GPU subsystem generates less heat and is less expensive, but the downside is memory bandwidth is significantly reduced. With an 850MHz memory speed (1.7GHz effective), the W90Vpís peak memory bandwidth stands at 54.4GB/sec, about 10GB/sec less than a Radeon 4850 desktop GPU.
The graphics core is clocked at 550MHz. This speed is 75MHz slower than the Radeon 4850ís 625MHz.
With two MR4870s running in CrossFire though, the graphics horsepower behind W90Vp easily eclipses one Radeon 4850. A more apt comparison would be two underclocked desktop Radeon 4850 GPUs.
ASUS ships the W90Vp with one of the most brilliant laptop displays weíve ever seen. Not only is it brighter than the displays that ship with most notebooks, colors are vibrant with accurate representation; blacks are deep and dark while on the other end of the spectrum, whites are nice and bright.
This display looks better than most desktop LCD monitors.
Itís an 18.4Ē widescreen unit with a native res of 1920x1080. Like most notebook displays today, itís a glossy display, so it can be tricky to read in direct sunlight, but itís perfect in every other regard.
Take for instance viewing angles. With most notebook displays, off-axis viewing can be a problem. This isnít too big of an issue if youíre sitting directly in the displayís sweet spot, which is generally directly in front of it with a minimal angle from your eyes to the center of the display, but it can be a problem when watching a movie with two or three people, or if you just canít tilt the monitor into the sweet spot because of glare or some other issue.
With the W90Vpís display, the sweet spot is massive. You will see a little brightness drop off at extreme angles, but color reproduction remains consistent.
The display is more than up to the task for gaming as well. We didnít experience any ghosting, flickering, or other issues. Even fast-paced shooters ran beautifully on the ASUS display.
Weíve got to admit, weíre a little late in getting this review up. We received the W90 notebook on March 30th, however, GPU launches in April from ATI and NVIDIA prevented us from spending much time with the system until May. In that time ASUS has since replaced the notebook SKU weíre reviewing with a newer SKU sporting a quad-core CPU (Intelís Core 2 Quad Q9000) and Blu-ray drive for $2499. Our particular SKU shipped with a dual-core Core 2 Duo T9600 and DVD drive for $2199.
Our T9600 CPU runs at 2.8GHz with a 1066MHz FSB, 6MB of L2 cache and 35W TDP. In comparison, the Q9000 runs at 2.0GHz with a 1066MHz FSB, 45W TDP, and 6MB of L2 cache, but with four processing cores instead of two (both are 45-nm parts).
So you end up sacrificing clock speed in order to get more cores.
How much this will affect your performance in games will vary depending on the specific title youíre playing and the screen resolution youíre gaming at. RTS titles have so far been the first to push quad-cores, so games like Supreme Commander would probably run faster on the Q9000, while shooters would prefer the higher clock frequency found on the T9600. Obviously if youíre gaming at the 18.4Ē panelís native res of 1920x1080 though, the T9600 and Q9000 would perform similarly in those same shooters that are only dual-threaded.
ASUS pairs the CPU up with an X38 motherboard in order to deliver optimal CrossFire performance.