Hi everyone! This is my first post here, so hello!
I know this was discussed already, but I'm interested in the mobile versions of these two cards.
So, I'm about to buy a new laptop. I just saw two models that I really like whit almost identical configurations, Intel Core 2 Duo P8700, 4 GB RAM DDRAM 2, and the above graphics cards. I know that these cards are not meant for heavy gaming, but some casual games I think they are capable of. I'm interested in some games only available via Wine or Cedega but also in native ones (The Dark Mod for example). From what I've read ATI Catalyst performance is disastrous in Linux games, but 4650 has Pixel Shader 5, and directX 11 support. I don't want to buy a laptop and next year to be forced to upgrade just because the game I want to play requires Shader Model 5. What about the actual performance in games? What about distro support (I want to give ArchLinux a try once I buy me a new machine)? What about other possible features?
Offtopic: Does Gallium#D really have a future in gaming? If yes, and if you say that it won't be long 'till it will be a reality, then 4650 will be my option.
Your answers shall decide for me. Thanks in advance.
Stay away from laptop ATi cards due to driver support. The drivers for desktops cards in Linux are different then the laptop ones. Stick to Nvidia cards due to the drivers period. No point in having a faster card if you wont be able to run anything in 3d. Now if you going to using windows also then, its a different story. Im a linux only user so having Ati wont work for me.
I thought exactly what you're being told here when I bought my last laptop: get an nVidia GPU. Turns out, I was wrong.
Before, I had a laptop with a Radeon 9700M, worked fine in newer fglrx releases, worked fine with the OS drivers (though it had no 3D at the time), generally everything was in an acceptable state. Didn't try much gaming, just a bit Diablo 2 over wine and Doom 3 when it came out (on lowest details with low fps).
Now I own a lenovo R61 with an nVidia Quadro NVS 140M (almost identical to 8400M) and in certain things it's worse. Diablo doesn't run any faster than on my old laptop, the GPU severly downclocks itself even when I'm trying to run GPU intensive applications, videos sometimes take ten seconds to switch between windowed and fullscreen, and on some driver update the backlight adjustment stopped working and never returned.
My girlfriend has an identical notebook using windows, which can play Guild Wars just fine in native resolution with almost full details. On linux/wine, lowest details and 800x600 still doesn't reach playable framerates. To compare, my 7600 GT should be slower, but has no trouble with Guild Wars on 1920x1200.
Not to mention that two days after I bought the notebook, bump gate struck. NVidia knowingly sold faulty hardware, denied any fault (despite proof to the contrary) and now I'm stuck with a laptop whose life-time shortens each time I switch it off and on. IIRC, the 9600M is affected as well, expect it to have an early death.
So, the hardware is broken, the drivers for mobile GPUs suck, so keep your hands off of mobile nVidia GPUs.
What to do? Basically, I see three options for you.
Do what I wish I had done: get a netbook for mobile work, do the gaming at home. There's a lot to keep you busy during breaks and train rides on a netbook, like SNES/PSX/n64-emulator games, ebooks, movies, world of goo or - if you must - flash games. If you really need more gaming, netbook + nintendo DS or PSP might still be cheaper than a full notebook.
Get the ATI hardware with fglrx drivers, hope they'll work. I cannot promise anything, but back then they worked ok for me.
Get the ATI hardware with OS drivers, expect good 2D acceleration on linux, but unoptimized and unfinished 3D (i.e. nowhere near openGL 3.x). Great for work, simple 3D and compositing. Dual-Boot to windows for gaming.
Originally Posted by Adrinnho
Offtopic: Does Gallium#D really have a future in gaming?
As it looks, G3D really IS the future of linux graphics drivers - not just for games. But again, it's the future, not the present. It's still very beta, very experimental, and AFAIK not in a state where real-world-worth is measurable yet. It shouldn't be a deciding factor if you're buying new hardware today.
Sorry to Burst your bubble rohcqah but your card is based on a 8400! (Btw your OLDER 9700 will blow this 140 out the water) I have no idea where you came out with a equivalent of a 8800. Look at this information and you will see the specs on your card.
Now off-couse you will get crappy frames playing on a 8400 and I would expect that. Now it might run fine in native windows but we all know we all take a hit when we play windows games on Linux. I use to have a T60p with the highest ATi card of that time, and nothing but issues getting 3d games to run on it. From my experience I have had 100% more success with Nvidia laptop hardware. Right now my laptop has a 9800GTS and here are some of the games I run in cedega perfectly, Crysis, Crysis Warhead. left 4 Dead, Sins of a Solar empire, Prince of Persia, Warcraft 3, Wow, Quakewars (native), Shadowgrounds (native), JetsNGuns (native), City of heroes/villians, Painkiller, Bioshock and countless Steam games. Just about all those games I max out at 1680x1050. (Crysis I have to change some settings to medium) I also run dual display on my laptop and everything works of the Nvidia drivers.
So from my expirience again stay away from an Ati card based laptops. Maybe in a year they will be equal to Nvidia but right now Nvidia wins hands down.
When it comes to clocking up and down, under the nvidia settings you can see when your video cards is clocking at. My cards clock in 3d applications at max every time. I will see if there is something thats bringing down your video card to save on battery?
So once again Nvidia is the way to go, in my humble opinion.
Sorry to Burst your bubble rohcqah but your card is based on a 8400!
sorry, I remembered the wrong number, will edit. The points I made still stand, though: drivers for my 7600GT always worked well, but the drivers for the NVM 140 gave me more trouble than fglrx ever did. And the hardware is defective by broken design, too.
I wouldn't have replaced the 9700M-notebook if I had had a choice, but the PSU died