IntroductionMV Ixius 3.6 Notebook and GeForce 6800 Go 256MB Mobile Graphics
Generally-speaking, home desktop PCs are now shipped in two flavours. Up until a couple of years ago, there used to be the ubiquitous large base unit, usually beige, that housed all PC-related componentry. Then some clever sparks calculated that all necessary components could be, with careful design, fitted into a small form factor PC. Shuttle are probably the most visible exponents of this kind of chassis, and there's little reason why SFF PCs can't match their larger counterparts in performance.
Laptops have also recently been split into two distinct camps. One the one hand, there's the so-called thin-and-light range, often characterised by sub-3kg weight and long battery life afforded by low-power CPUs. Obvious performance concessions have to be made if battery longevity and portability are the most important criteria. On the other end of the spectrum are larger, more powerful laptops that go under the umbrella term 'desktop replacement'. Their raison d'etre is implied in the name, that is, give the user as much computing and graphical power as possible in one integrated package that's primarily designed to be run off mains power.
Leading desktop-replacement (DTR) laptops are now scarily similar to cutting-edge PCs in almost every regard. Funds permitting, it's possible to purchase a DTR sporting an Extreme Edition Pentium 4 CPU, 17" high-resolution widescreen TFT, 1GB RAM, 100GB+ hard drive, multiformat DVD ReWriter, and decent gaming performance to boot. Recent DTRs have seriously questioned my personal need to run a standard PC, such is their power and style.
Thinking of DTR laptops' mobile 3D graphics power for a second or two, the current high-end choice falls between ATI's new Mobility Radeon 9800 256MB adapter and NVIDIA's GeForce FX Go5700 offering. There's no real competition if recent gaming titles are used as a base for comparison. ATI's MR 9800 name is something of a misnomer, as it is derived from the excellent X800-series of GPUs, replete with 8 rendering pipelines, 4 Vertex Shaders and a healthy 256-bit memory bus. Its performance is significantly better than NVIDIA's current mobile best, really.
You can't keep a good company under the cosh for very long in this business, though. NVIDIA's back with a bang today with its all-new GeForce 6800 Go mobile graphics adapter that's based on considerable NV40 might. True desktop graphics power from NVIDIA in a mobile package?. It appears that way. Of course, one needs a DTR machine that's capable of complementing NVIDIA's new mobile baby. In for review today at HEXUS labs is MV's Ixius 3.6 desktop replacement laptop that's been generously outfitted with NVIDIA's Geforce Go 6800 256MB mobile video card. The Holy Grail of any DTR machine is to effectively match the perforamance of desktop PCs without compromise. Time to take a closer look and see if MV's can.