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Product : Toxic X700 Pro
Company : Sapphire
Author : Mark 'Ratchet' Thorne
Date : February 16th, 2005

Specifications & Features

" There are 4 Major differences between the Mobility FireGL 7800 and the Mobility Radeon 7500:

  1. The target market
  2. Cost
  3. Driver certification
  4. Manufacturer support
First off, as you would expect the Mobility FireGL 7800 is targeted at the highest-end laptops, or “mobile workstations” as they are billed.  While the Mobility Radeon 7500 is targeted at a wide range of laptops from budget to high-end, you can expect machines sporting a Mobility FireGL 7800 to have only the fastest processors, largest screens, fastest hard drives and loads of RAM.  ATI does not consider any graphics chip/board sporting less than 64MB ram to be "workstation class" so you can expect the Mobility FireGL 7800 to always have a 128bit memory interface and some of the fastest ram available in notebooks.

Second, given the target market, the FireGL 7800 chips will be noticeably more expensive than its Mobility Radeon 7500 counterpart for manufacturers to purchase in quantity.  While the cores of the two mobile chips are essentially the same, there are differences in drivers and support which we'll get into shortly which make the added cost well worth it to manufacturers targeting the mobile workstation area.

Driver certification is probably the single largest difference between the Mobility FireGL 7800 and a Mobility Radeon 7500 in a high-end configuration.  The drivers that ship with the MFGL7800 will be certified on major CAD/CAM packages as well as with many other professional graphics applications.  Among them you can likely expect certification for 3D Studio Max, Maya, and SoftImage, though we were not told specific applications.  The drivers will be coded to a unique ID in the Mobility FireGL 7800 so the drivers will not run on the Mobility Radeon 7500.  The driver-hardware link is similar to how the FireGL 8800 certified drivers will differ from the Radeon 8500 drivers.  We will follow up on specific apps in a future update to this article, along with performance targets for the chip in some of the major workstation apps and benches.

The primary goal behind providing drivers certified with major graphics applications is to allow graphics professionals the ability to take their work on the road, and have the same level of compatibility with their graphics applications on their mobile workstation that they do on their desktop workstation.  The amount of time certified drivers and hardware saves from a productivity and support standpoint far outweighs the added cost of the hardware to businesses and professionals.

The final major benefit of the Mobility FireGL 7800 chips is the added manufacturer support provided by ATI, and ultimately to the end users.  Manufacturers implementing the MFGL7800 receive priority support from the standpoint of system design and compatibility with a direct contact at ATI to resolve any issues that may crop up.  This in turn provides end-users with 1) A system guaranteed to be as stable and compatible as possible while 2) providing rapid turn around regarding any issues they may encounter with the product and the applications it is designed for.

While a Mobility Radeon 7500 could be configured essentially the same as the Mobility FireGL 7800, the addition of certified drivers allows manufacturers the ability to create systems for a particular company or market niche, and be able to guarantee compatibility and stability on the target software.  This can save significant time for the mobile graphics professional, and time is money.  The added cost to the end user is practically recovered the first time the driver certification and manufacturer support saves them from compatibility or stability issues, and that is a benefit that is a no-brainer from any businesses perspective.

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