The new mobile GPU utilizes the same GCN architecture as the Radeon HD 7000M series and carries nearly identical specs to the Radeon HD 7970M it is replacing. Despite the similarities, AMD is claiming some significant performance gains over the previous generation and (according to the benchmarks provided in their presentation slides) presents a modest to impressive lead over the NVIDIA GTX 680M.
|Radeon HD 8970M||Radeon HD 7970M||Radeon HD 7870 (GHz Edition)|
|Core Speed||850MHz (900MHz boost)||850MHz||1000MHz|
|RAM Speed||1200MHz GDDR5||1200MHz GDDR5||1200MHz|
As you can see, there isn’t much on the surface that appears to have changed between the Radeon HD 8970 and the 7970. There’s the addition of a Boost capability that gives an additional 50MHz to the GPU core when needed. Based on AMD’s own benchmarks from Tomb Raider, BioShock Infinite, Crysis 3, and 3DMark’s FireStrike, AMD expects anywhere up to a 54% improvement over the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M, not to mention the gains over its own Radeon HD 7970M.
The Radeon HD 8970M supports the full array of AMD’s GPU technologies to both improve performance and conserve power where needed. Power Gating and ZeroCore both allow parts (or all) of the GPU to shut down when something isn’t needed, while PowerTune and Boost allow for maximum performance during strenuous tasks. AMD also includes the latest version of Enduro which allows the laptop to seamlessly switch between the Radeon graphics and the CPU/APU’s integrated graphics. Enduro has been improved to allow graphics switching down to the application level and even allows those selections to be overridden based on power source to enable maximum battery life or maximum performance where it’s needed most.
The MSI GX70 3BE will be the first notebook to feature the new mobile GPU. The Gx70 3BE replaces the MSI GX60 as the flagship gaming system and incorporates both a Richland-based AMD A10-5750 and the Radeon HD 8970M GPU. The laptop has two RAM slots which can handle a combined maximum of 32GB DDR3-1600. Other notable features include a Killer Gaming LAN card, a SoundBlaster Cinema audio system, and a keyboard created by SteelSeries. As an added bonus, the GX70 3BE comes with a free copy of Crysis 3. Pricing and availability isn’t currently available, but based on the GX60′s MSRP, $1299 seems a reasonable guess.
Other notebooks featuring the Radeon HD 8970 should be announced soon.