ATI Technologies has announced the ATI Mobility Radeon graphics processor for portable computers.

The units should appear in portables before the end of the year. It's the first mobile product based on ATI's successful Radeon desktop-graphics product.

ATI's Radeon graphics cards for desktop machines have been available for months now, Apple offers versions of these cards as either standard equipment or options in various Power Macs.

ATI's mobile technology has been used throughout the PowerBook and iBook line – all G3 PowerBooks feature ATI graphics chips. It is only with the launch of the Titanium PowerBook G4 that Apple opted to offer solutions from Nvidia.

The Radeon for portables offers two power modes – one using AC power, and the other when being run from a portables battery.

Versions ATI is offering four Radeon Mobility products, geared toward each segment of the portable market. Two products use integrated DDR (Double Data Rate) RAM (8MB and 16MB), ideal for subnotebooks. Two others, geared toward desktop-replacement portables, use external video memory (64MB SDRAM or 64MB DDR RAM).

Each Mobility Radeon chip runs at up to 200MHz on full power, and 66MHz in low-power mode.

Using a battery and creating simple 2D graphics the chip's power consumption drops to less than 0.5W, according to ATI. Even at the slower power and speed, the Mobility Radeon produces better graphics than most of today's portable graphic-products, claims ATI. It supports multiple monitors.

Mobility Radeon supports features such as Hyper-Z compression, which ATI claims boosts effective memory bandwidth; Pixel Tapestry Architecture, a 32-bit rendering engine that supports advanced visual effects; and Video Immersion, which provides DVD and video playback with improved video-image quality.