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AMD releases Southern Islands Radeon laptop GPUs

Gaming laptops get 28nm first
Wed Apr 25 2012, 15:10

CHIP DESIGNER AMD has released three Radeon HD 7000M series GPUs based on its Southern Islands 28nm GPU design.

AMD announced the majority of its Radeon HD 7000M series back at CES, however it took almost four months before the firm introduced the Southern Islands based Radeon HD 7700M series, Radeon HD 7800M series and the Radeon HD 7970M, all supporting Microsoft's DirectX 11.1. AMD also announced its Enduro graphics switching technology, which switches between its APU on-chip integrated graphics processor and its Radeon HD discrete GPU.

AMD's Radeon HD 7700M series clocks the 512-stream GPU at either 575MHz or 675MHz on the Radeon HD 7750M and the Radeon HD 7770M, respectively, with both SKUs having up to 2GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 1GHz. The firm's Radeon HD 7800M series GPUs feature 640 stream processors and are clocked at either 675MHz or 800MHz on the Radeon HD 7850M and Radeon HD 7870M, respectively, with both SKUs also having up to 2GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 1GHz.

While AMD's Radeon HD 7700M series and Radeon HD 7800M series seem like much of a muchness, the firm's range topping Radeon HD 7970M is a big leap. The firm clocked the GPU, which has 1,280 stream processors, at 860MHz and mated it to 2GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 1.2GHz on a 256-bit memory bus, double the bus width of the Radeon HD 7700M series and Radeon HD 7800M series SKUs.

The majority of AMD's current Radeon HD 7000M series range is made up of the older Turks GPUs fabbed at 40nm, however the firm has pushed its 28nm Southern Islands GPUs into enthusiast laptops, a market that Nvidia claims is growing faster than any other. However AMD's Southern Islands architecture is known to be power efficient and the firm has implemented its power gating technology that shuts down parts of the GPU, while its Zerocore technology idles the GPU at close to zero watts when it is inactive.

Earlier this week Nvidia launched its Geforce GTX 600M series of mobile GPUs, some of which feature its 28nm Kepler architecture. Although Nvidia was keen to promote its design wins, showing journalists engineering samples, AMD has provided little information about which original design manufacturers (ODMs) will use its latest mobile GPUs. µ


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