[Beowulf] Mobile Graphics (or lack of it)

Mark Hahn hahn at physics.mcmaster.ca
Fri Jan 20 12:47:16 PST 2006

> The concern is that the best graphics card available with this laptop is a
> 128MB card. Everybody seems to say that this should be the bare minimum for
> a new graphics card and we should be investing in moderate to high end 256MB

are you actually doing very large volume renderings, running massively
textured games, or manipulating extremely large polygon models?
if not, 128M is vastly overkill.  for normal desktop uses, it's actually
hard to use up even 32M of video memory - for instance, my 1600x1200
desktop is using just 5.8 MB.

as far as I can tell, the obscenely-large-video-memory race is 
driven entirely by the <sneer> gamer market.  there are some non-game
uses, but they're pretty specialized (using 3d texture hardware to do 
volume rendering, for instance.)

> Even if I wasn't into games, I would want my computer to be able to
> seamlessly display anything I might want to show, from web browsing to
> PowerPoint shows to DVD's, and I process images in programs similar to Adobe

none of that needs any serious amount of video memory.

> work. It says I can "tap into an additional 128MB of shared system memory"
> for better performance in graphic-intensive programs, but would that be my
> RAM or my hard disk paging file? I imagine that using the hard disk would

ram.  but don't freak out about it - current systems have far more memory
bandwidth than a desktop can normall use.  graphics tends to consume a few 
hundred MB/s, and you've got several GB/s.

> Should I give up on graphics in a laptop? Should I spend the bucks for a

try some real hardware out before worrying. the game-dominated press has 
driven hardware vendors into quite a lather about 512 MB, 50 GB/s, 48 
texture units, etc.

> Also, if you know a good link that can say 'Centrino is good, Celeron is
> bad" to all the latest processors out there, could you pass that along?

centrino is (definitionally) pentium-m plus Intel's wifi chipset.
I don't belive Intel has any clearly superior handle on the wifi stuff,
but their ULV cpu chips are reasonably fast and relatively cool.
but of course, you're going for a desktop-replacement, and therefore 
don't really care about power.  (or do you?  how's your hearing?  DTR's
do have fans, sometimes noisy...)

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