Print 25 comment(s) - last by Brockway.. on May 27 at 12:57 PM

New laptops expected to approach Ivy Bridge performance, but come up a bit shy of it

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) is still struggling to compete with the "double-whammy" of ARM chipmakers like Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd.'s (KSC:A005930) and Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM), as well as perennial x86 rival Intel Corp. (INTC).

Even as AMD plots a precarious shift to the ARM architecture amid this troubled run, it is still seeing strong sales of its "Fusion" accelerated processing units (APU) which pair AMD CPU cores with on-die GPU cores.

Its latest design win comes courtesy of Micro-Star International Comp. Ltd. (TPE:2377) (MSI), who announced a pair of Richland (A10) based laptops in its Gaming G Series.
First -- a quick recap on what Richland is; Richland (in this case the quad-core AMD A10-5750M) is AMD's second generation 32 nanometer APU design. Like its predecessor Trinity, it is based on the Piledriver core design.  AMD's experience with the 32 nm node has allowed it to bump clock speeds roughly 10 percent.  Richland also gets a new Neptune on-die graphics processing unit (dGPU) -- Radeon HD 8970M.

Like the new "Iris" dGPUs set to launch shortly, the Radeon HD 8970M has its own dedicated memory -- 2 GB of GDDR5, to be precise.  However, the memory in the AMD Neptune GPUs is likely slightly slower as it's in an MXM module, versus directly on-die with Iris.

Unfortunately, it's not a true Graphics Core Next GPU like its HD 8000 series counterparts.  Instead it uses a reduced version of HD 7000 series core designs (not true GCN), with a bumped clock.

Here are the full specs on MSI's pair of G Series models:

GX70 3BE-007US

GX60 3AE-216US


AMD A10-5750 (2.5-3.5 GHZ)

Operation System

Windows 8





17.3" Full HD Non Reflection

15.6" Full HD Non Reflection


1920x1080 (16:9)


AMD Radeon™ HD 8970M (2G GDDR5)

AMD Radeon™ HD 7970M (2G GDDR5)

Hard Disk Drive

750GB (7200 RPM)


8GB  DDR3 1600MHz

Optical Drive

Blu-ray Disc Reader

LAN / Bluetooth

Killer™ E2200 Game Networking


AW-NB114H Combo (b/g/n)+BT4.0

AW-NB100H (802.11 b/g/n)

Card Reader


Audio Ports

Headset AMP + Gold Flash jacks


USB 3.0 x 3
USB 2.0 x 2

USB 3.0 x 3
USB 2.0 x 1


HDMI 1.4 / mDP v1.2


720P HD Webcam


THX Speakers x 2 + Subwooferx1


9 cell


SteelSeries Gaming Backlit

SteelSeries (Chiclet)


Multi Touch

Dimension (WxDxH)



Weight (w battery)

8.6 lbs.

7.7 lbs.




Don't expect the performance gaming-wise to match Ivy Bridge. Trinity trailed Ivy Bridge; Richland is expected to close that gap, but not all the way.  And with Haswell around the corner AMD looks to continue to compete with Intel for customers and design wins in much the way it did in the Trinity vs. Ivy Bridge era -- on a price basis (Intel's chips, while outperforming AMD's, are significantly more expensive leading to higher laptop price points).

Source: MSI

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By inperfectdarkness on 5/23/2013 1:32:00 AM , Rating: 2
This is why I'm a die-hard MSI fan. I really don't give a crap about how "chick" or "hipster" their case design is. I really don't give a crap about anything other than hardware performance, keyboard/touchpad layout, and display. Having a Matte display on these is just icing on the cake. For $1300, this 15.6" will easily handle everything 1080p thrown at it.

I use frequently when I'm trying to compare specs. My current MSI ($1350 in December, 2010) has a 5870 in it--and it still kicks ass. The only thing which could possibly make MSI even more awesome than now--is if it brought back 16:10 displays. I would be buying one TODAY if it came in 16:10.

By BRB29 on 5/23/2013 7:59:05 AM , Rating: 2
If you don't care about case design aesthetic then Sager builds better laptops. They will actually upgrade any soldered parts for you too. Sager is the best gaming laptop maker but they spend nothing on marketing.

By GreenEnvt on 5/23/2013 8:53:43 AM , Rating: 2
Oh man I forgot about Sager. I had a sager back maybe 15 years ago. At the time sager actually built many of the name-brand laptops, not sure if that's the case anymore.

By Motoman on 5/23/2013 11:16:38 AM , Rating: 2
I have to disagree on that.

Although naturally it's anecdata...

I bought exactly one Sager gaming laptop for a customer about a year and a half ago.

A week after the 1-year warranty expired, the MXM card died. Sager charged $600 for the replacement card.

Which died again about 4 months later. Thankfully, the new MXM card came with a 6-month the 2nd replacement card was free.

But I have no confidence in the machine anymore, and i expect that the MXM card will probably burn out again soon, and we'll wind up throwing the thing away and maybe buying one of these units. There is something else wrong with that Sager unit...probably on the motherboard I'm guessing, but they don't want to do anything else about it. When the current MXM card dies, we sure as hell aren't giving them another $600.

By inperfectdarkness on 5/23/2013 2:38:09 PM , Rating: 2
I had a sager. the only reason i spent $800 on replacing goddamn video card was because it was 16:10 matte display, wuxga.

sager may look cool and all, but my experience has left me with a very bitter taste in my mouth.

By Motoman on 5/23/2013 4:13:03 PM , Rating: 2
Wow...apparently I was getting a bargain at only $600...

By HostileEffect on 5/26/2013 2:47:41 PM , Rating: 2
You can't go wrong with MSI. I've used their FX5200 and GeForce 2 cards, can't comment on the GeForce 2 since I don't have it anymore but the FX5200 is still running to this day, 10+ years in my favorite Pentium 4Ghz box. Also props to Asrock and western digital, still using the original mother board and 40GB drives in raid-0.

Right now I use an MSI GT660 w/ GTX 285M, still handles my gaming and its about two years old. If I get another lappy it will be an MSI or a Sager. I'm building a desktop in a TH10 Magnum case or similar in a few years and MSI is always in my brand buy list. Recommend them to everyone around my job site when people ask for laptop advice.

By Brockway on 5/27/2013 12:57:41 PM , Rating: 2
My MSI GT725 with a 17" 1920x1200 matte lcd, Core 2 Quad @ 2.0ghz, and AMD 4850 is still going strong after 4 years. Its survived tons of plane flights and deployments with its metal chassis, and it plain looks spiffy. It even plays most new games at 1200p as long as turn down the post processing and effects. Thing was a steal at $1,200 bucks for all the use I've gotten out of it. I really don't see the need to replace it anytime soon.

By dgingerich on 5/22/2013 6:02:06 PM , Rating: 2
Seriously?? The on-die graphics are the 8970M with on-die memory of 2GB?? That sounds a bit incredible compared to the Trinity chips. Is that for real?

RE: Seriously??
By Motoman on 5/22/2013 6:48:28 PM , Rating: 2
Like the new "Iris" dGPUs set to launch shortly, the Radeon HD 8970M has its own dedicated memory on die -- 2 GB of GDDR5, to be precise. Unfortunately, it's not a true Graphics Core Next GPU like its HD 8000 series counterparts. Instead it uses a reduced version of HD 7000 series core designs (not true GCN), with a bumped clock.

Yes, granted that as always the "M" graphics bits aren't equivalent to the desktop parts by the same number. Regardless...sounds like a little beastie.

I actually had an MSI gaming-series laptop a few years ago - I think it has a tricore Phenom CPU and maybe 3650 graphics. Sold it to a friend when I went to a newer laptop with 5650 graphics...2 years later and it's still going strong for my friend and his kids.

The thing that kind of blew me away about that machine was how well the "subwoofer" thing worked. I thought the whole "THX" subwoofer speaker system was just going to be gimmicky crap. But surprisingly it was kind of awesome. The audio quality that came out of those dinky little speakers was way beyond anything I thought a laptop would be capable of.

RE: Seriously??
By spawnbsd on 5/22/2013 7:07:06 PM , Rating: 3
No, it's just an incredibly poorly written article. The 8970M is simply 7970M with a bumped up clock speed. The 2GB of GDDR5 is place on an MXM module along side the 8970M (Pitcairn) GPU; it's not on-die memory as the article implies.

Also, it's based on the Pitcairn GPU which is clearly using the Graphics Core Next architecture.

RE: Seriously??
By Samus on 5/22/2013 11:01:35 PM , Rating: 2
Man that's some serious kit for $1300 bucks...

RE: Seriously??
By BRB29 on 5/23/2013 7:56:43 AM , Rating: 2
Yea, I'm actually interested in it except it's on the bulky side. I would prefer an intel i7 but I'm sure the cost would be $1600 by then.

My Y580 has the i7 36xx with a 660gtxm, and I wish I could trade a better GPU for less CPU every day. At least I paid less than $800.

RE: Seriously??
By Flunk on 5/23/2013 8:54:10 AM , Rating: 2
They offer that as an option, the $200 is worth it.

RE: Seriously??
By The0ne on 5/23/2013 7:36:28 PM , Rating: 2
The info you posted has been around for quite some time now as well. I'm not sure why this article claims otherwise. I was waiting for the performance of the 8970M to widen the gap from the 7979M but it isn't so there's little for me to upgrade anytime soon. Plus at that resolution instead of R2.

Article full of errors
By hubb1e on 5/22/2013 7:02:36 PM , Rating: 2
The author makes all sorts of mistakes in this post by mixing up the APU and the dGPU. Please rewrite this post. It makes almost no sense.

RE: Article full of errors
By Cloudie on 5/22/2013 10:31:55 PM , Rating: 2
A horrendously written article. Full of errors and factual inaccuracies.

RE: Article full of errors
By Flunk on 5/23/2013 8:55:13 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, this post is so inaccurate it might as well not exist.

RE: Article full of errors
By Ristogod on 5/23/2013 12:47:52 PM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately, I agree. I own the GX60. It has 2 GPUs. One low power GPU on the APU and one dedicated GPU. The driver control panel allows you to switch between the two. It can also be configured to switch from one to the other based on it's power state (plugged in/battery). Finally each application can be assigned which GPU it should use.

I will say though that it's a fantastic gaming laptop for the cost.

RE: Article full of errors
By Flunk on 5/24/2013 8:58:15 AM , Rating: 2
If you want the real details check here:

16:10 Please
By toffty on 5/22/2013 4:43:05 PM , Rating: 3
If the screen was 16:10 instead of 16:9 I'd be more interested...

RE: 16:10 Please
By txDrum on 5/22/2013 7:11:12 PM , Rating: 2
16:10 is gone. It sucks and it would be wonderful to have it back, but other than Apple almost nobody is (sadly) producing them anymore. If you want a 16:10 laptop of any quality, you'll probably have to go get a MBP. I don't think even Thinkpads and other workstations offer them anymore.

RE: 16:10 Please
By Flunk on 5/23/2013 8:56:17 AM , Rating: 2
You are correct, only Apple offers that aspect ratio (for now, who knows when they'll give it up too).

By mikeyD95125 on 5/23/2013 3:00:52 AM , Rating: 2
Damn this is revolutionary! This can only mean one of two things...

Either AMD just figured out how to pack near Ivy Bridge performance AND the mobile equivalent of 7850 performance with a 32nm process on a single die!


Jason needs to go read some Anandtech and rewrite this entire article.

RE: Wowowow!!!
By BRB29 on 5/23/2013 8:00:00 AM , Rating: 2
I pick "Jason needs to go read some Anandtech and rewrite this entire article."

"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer

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