GeForce Go / Pentium M

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GeForce Go / Pentium M

Postby Nobber » Thu Oct 27, 2005 10:00 am

I'm looking into getting a new laptop, but before I riffle a wad of crisp notes under the nose of any hardware supplier (as it were), I'd like to know the answer to a couple of questions.

1. NVIDIA GeForce Go video chipsets. Do they work OK with NVIDIA's proprietary linux drivers? The GeForce Go is not mentioned on NVIDIA's supported products list, but there is evidence out there on the web that they can be made to work.

2. Pentium-M CPUs. If you had to give an AMD-style performance rating to the 1.7GHz Pentium-M, what would it be? (I'm looking to get CPU performance comparable to my current desktop system, which is based on an Athlon XP 2400+. Given that AMD's 3000+-rated chips operate at around 1.8GHz, I'm guessing that a 1.7GHz Pentium-M will be good enough.)

Your rough ideas, definitive answers, and off-topic rambling are welcome.
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RE: GeForce Go / Pentium M

Postby ollie » Thu Oct 27, 2005 11:37 am

AMD ratings are equivalent to the Pentium speed - an Athlon 3000+ is the same as a Pentium 3.0 GHz. So a Pentium M 1.74 GHz is equivalent to an Athlon 1700+ when connected to power and with the power stepping when using batteries about 900 MHz. Getting equivalent performance from laptops is hard unless you go for the 4 - 5 kg monsters. These are usually referred to as desktop replacements - but they have relatively short battery lifes, so they need access to a power point most of the time.

You really need to decide if this laptop is for working on text type documents (text, html, C++, Perl, source code, etc) which is going to be compiled on your desktop system, doing graphical presentations, minor photo/video editing, etc. Don't forget that AMD also produce a laptop processor that is 64-bit so a performance boost is possible using these CPU.

Hope this helps you with your decision - laptops are always hard.
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Re: RE: GeForce Go / Pentium M

Postby Nobber » Thu Oct 27, 2005 11:50 am

ollie wrote:AMD ratings are equivalent to the Pentium speed - an Athlon 3000+ is the same as a Pentium 3.0 GHz. So a Pentium M 1.74 GHz is equivalent to an Athlon 1700+ when connected to power...

Is that true for the more modern Pentiums, though? I doubt it, which is why I asked. I think the AMD ratings are supposed to indicate some kind of equivalence to a classic Pentium III or IV of the same clock speed. The newer Pentiums are a different animal.

I'll be using the laptop for compiling software (e.g. the linux kernel, KDE) and compressing audio and video, and I'm quite happy with how quickly my 2-year-old desktop machine does these things now. Given the progress of CPUs, I thought that a new laptop of similar speed wasn't out of the question.
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RE: Re: RE: GeForce Go / Pentium M

Postby nelz » Thu Oct 27, 2005 12:40 pm

Bear in mind that for most laptops the I/O speed, both memory and disk, is slower than desktop hardware. even with an equivalent CPU, most tasks take longer.
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RE: Re: RE: GeForce Go / Pentium M

Postby Nobber » Thu Oct 27, 2005 1:01 pm

Well, I've got a 1.2GHz Celeron laptop that compiles a kernel in 10 minutes. I'd like to halve that time, if poss, to approach the performance of my desktop. Roughly speaking, then, I need a 2.4GHz Celeron or above. And according to this, the Pentium-M 1.7GHz beats a 2.4GHz Celeron and is just slightly slower than an Athlon XP 2500+, so I should be happy.

Now, what about the GeForce Go? I would consider laptops with an ATI card - because there's more of them - but after looking into support for 3D acceleration (both open source and proprietary) on ATI cards, I'm inclined to give ATI a wide berth, especially on laptops.
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RE: Re: RE: GeForce Go / Pentium M

Postby nelz » Thu Oct 27, 2005 1:40 pm

Doubling the processor speed doesn't make everything twice as fast. Compiling a kernel involves shifting a lot of data from disk to memory and back again. Both of these processes are slower on laptops.

My XP2200+ desktop was significantly faster than my 2.4GHz Celeron laptop.
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Re: RE: Re: RE: GeForce Go / Pentium M

Postby Nobber » Thu Oct 27, 2005 2:39 pm

nelz wrote:Doubling the processor speed doesn't make everything twice as fast.

That's why I said "roughly". Perhaps I should have prefixed a "very". ;)

Anyhow, has no one got anything to say about the GeForce Go?
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RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: GeForce Go / Pentium M

Postby drws » Thu Oct 27, 2005 3:40 pm

not exactly an answer to your question, but I have a Alienware laptop with WinXP on it, and the nvidia drivers don't work for the Nvidia Go card inside, I have to get the drivers from Alienware.
So, usually, if its that awkward for windows it'll probably be just as bad or worse for Linux.
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Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: GeForce Go / Pentium M

Postby Nobber » Thu Oct 27, 2005 3:50 pm

drws wrote:So, usually, if its that awkward for windows it'll probably be just as bad or worse for Linux.

Oddly enough, I've seen comments to the opposite effect, i.e. NVIDIA driver support for the mobile chipsets is awkward/iffy under Linux, and non-existent under Windows. I'm just trying to get a feel for how awkward or iffy it might be, and whether expecting decent 3D acceleration on a laptop under Linux is a recipe for disappointment.
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RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: GeForce Go / Pentium M

Postby Nigel » Thu Oct 27, 2005 3:57 pm

My work laptop has the GeForce Go5600 chipset... unfortunately I have to run Windows on it.
The Ubuntu live CD works fine with the main screen using the nv driver, but isn't driving my secondary monitor properly (a 1280x1024 LCD panel - normally I run Windows with the desktop extended across both).
I presume that if I were to install Ubuntu and add the nVidia drivers I could get this to work with 3d etc, but I'm afraid this laptop is currently too vital to mess with (my main Windows development machine).

Under Windows the GeForce Go chipset is good because you can drive an external monitor at a different resolution & refresh rate from the laptop screen, and use the two as a twin-screen setup. Not all laptop graphics chipsets allow this - the ProSavage on my Linux laptop, for instance, just lets me duplicate my laptop screen to an external monitor at the same res & refresh rate.

Don't think this will be much help to you, but at least I do have something to say about the chipset :)
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RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: GeForce Go / Pentium M

Postby Nobber » Thu Oct 27, 2005 4:02 pm

^We just need to find you a Live CD that comes with nVIDIA's proprietary drivers so you can test it on your laptop. Anyone know of one?

EDIT: This looks like and interesting LiveCD to try...
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RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: GeForce Go / Pentium M

Postby nelz » Thu Oct 27, 2005 5:55 pm

Doesn't PCLinuxOS come with nVidia drivers?
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Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: GeForce Go / Pentium M

Postby Nigel » Thu Oct 27, 2005 7:23 pm

Nobber wrote:This looks like and interesting LiveCD to try...


OK, am downloading now & will give it a try when I get into work in the morning.
It does look rather interesting...
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RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: GeForce Go / Pentium M

Postby wyliecoyoteuk » Thu Oct 27, 2005 8:51 pm

After using a few laptops:
I have a 2g p4 (ibm) laptop, and it is fine, uses ati rage gfx. Ran suse 9.3 and now 10.
In terms of speed, I would rate it on a par with my old athlon1700+ desktop(now sold to help finance my new athlon3200/64)
Avoid celerons at all costs, semprons work fine. Put as much memory in as you can.
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Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: GeForce Go / Pentium M

Postby Nigel » Fri Oct 28, 2005 8:22 am

Nigel wrote:
Nobber wrote:This looks like and interesting LiveCD to try...


OK, am downloading now & will give it a try when I get into work in the morning.
It does look rather interesting...


WOW :shock: :shock: :shock:

What gorgeous eye-candy Project Looking Glass provides ! :D

I tried the live CD last night on my daughter's Athlon-1800 with a GeForce Ti4200 card, and it runs OK - beware that this really is a demo and doesn't do too much yet. I then brought the CD into work this morning and booted it on my laptop - what a difference a 3GHz P4 makes ! (or maybe it's the gigabyte of RAM; the Athlon only has 512Mb).

I love the panoramic desktop, especially the ability to zoom out, see the whole thing and then click the portion you want to go to next. The transparency is nice, especially the way that windows go opaque when they get focus. I'm not totally convinced on the menu system, but I do like the dock and the way the windows turn sideways when you "minimise" them. The mouse isn't as responsive as I'd like, but I'm sure that this will get optimised as the project gets closer to release - the CD I downloaded (version 2.3) is billed as the first "stable" version.
I want this interface... although it looks like this laptop will be about the minimum you'd want to run Looking Glass on.

To answer your specific question, though - the nVidia drivers as provided on this CD work fine with the GeForce Go chipset. As configured, it mirrors the laptop screen to the external monitor, although interestingly it has set the screen size to that of the external monitor (1280x1024) and not the laptop panel (1024x768) - the laptop screen shows a window onto the desktop that moves around as you approach the screen edge with the cursor.
I'm sure that with a standard Linux setup the xorg.conf file could be tweaked to drive the screens separately at the appropriate resolutions using Xinerama. Although if you're not planning on using a second screen, you wouldn't be worried about that.
Hope this helps,

Nigel.
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