ATI has announced the Mobility Radeon X600, a new graphics system intended for laptops. The X600 is a further evolution of ATI's Mobility Radeon 9700. The new chip is being paired with Axiom, ATI's own solution for upgradeable graphics in notebooks that supports PCI Express, a fast emerging interface standard.
Historically, notebook users have been stuck with what they buy when it comes to their computer's graphics subsystem, even though their upgradeable desktop computers can accommodate new graphics cards. With newer, faster chips emerging several times a year from ATI and Nvidia, laptop performance quickly devalues without an upgrade solution. While some notebook manufacturers have attempted to hammer out their own proprietary laptop graphics upgrade interfaces, ATI and competitor Nvidia are promoting their own solutions to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and Original Design Manufacturers (ODMs) - including the Pacific Rim manufacturers responsible for much of the fabrication done by major computer makers.
ATI's introduction of Axiom follows by about two weeks an introduction from Nvidia of its own MXM interface, an upgradeable PCI Express-based solution for notebook computers that will be paired with Nvidia's own GeForce Go6 chip architecture.
There may be implications for Mac as well as Windows users. Apple is customarily mum when it comes to discussing future products, and the company has made no indication that PCI Express will be supported. Apple uses both ATI and Nvidia chips in its product designs, however. With both companies pushing their manufacturing partners to support PCI Express, it would seem to be only a matter of time until PCI Express is supported on Apple's new laptop and desktop designs.