During the time my laptop was on its way to HP for repair I compiled a lot of research on laptops running the ATI Radeon Xpress 200m graphics. Here is some things that I’ve noticed:
There are some newer lines of AMD Turion laptops that are shipping with Xpress 200m graphics that are apparently running KOTOR, Quake, and other OpenGL 1.4 (or above) apps the way they should be. I even tested this theory on a new Compaq Presario floor model at Circuit City. I asked my friend who works there if I could install the Quake 4 Demo on it and run a few tests — after educating him about my problem. I proceeded to do this… and sure enough the Demo ran. Granted this was not great performance… but hell even 15-20 fps is still 14x better than what I’m getting now. I was quite amazed yet frustrated at the same time.
I began to dig further.
From what I’ve found certain runs of the ATI Xpress 200m chips came with Video Firmwares that are somewhat “bugged” and do not allow for proper OpenGL performance. These chips offload most of the Vertex and T&L operations to the CPU and brings it (no matter its speed) to its knees. For the record, my chip identifier is “0x5955″, with a BIOS version of VER008.025l.004.0000.
I did not note the BIOS identifer on this floor model I tested, but did look around HP’s website for some other information relevant to this issue…
Many of the newer Compaq and HP Laptop models have a revised BIOS downloadable. This BIOS lists in its fixes that it “Resolves a Video Firmware Issue”. Unfortunately, my model of laptop is not supported by this download. The link to it is this: http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/softwareDownloadIndex?lc=en&cc=us&dlc=en&os=228&product=1818493&lang=en&softwareitem=ob-39058-1
If anyone can who is having this issue, please send me your BIOS identifiers so I can compile a list of chips that have this problem versus chips that do not. I plan on re-opening the ticket with HP in an attempt to get them to release a new video firmware for the HP zv6000 (mine) and Compaq M2000 (my wife’s) line of laptops.