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AMD claims that the Radeon HD 6990M will spank NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 580M in a whole host of games.  (Source: AMD)
New Radeon 6990M will go head to head with NVIDIA's 580M; AMD thinks it can beat it

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.'s (AMD) Fusion processors may be stealing the spotlight, but AMD is determined to show gamers that it still wants to give them a whole lot of love.  With Radeon 6990 being arguably the king of single-card desktop graphics performance today, AMD has unleashed a powerful mobile GPU that it claims is "the world's fastest notebook GPU."

The chip is named the Radeon HD 6990M and it packs 1120 stream processing units (SPUs) -- up 16.7 percent from the 960 found in AMD's previous top end offering, the Radeon 6970M.  Texture units (56) and the core clock (715 MHz) have also been bumped.  ROPs and memory clock remain the same.  However, in the memory department, the Radeon 6990M packs 2 GB of GDDR5.

The GPU may confuse some in that it's a single-chip (Barts) design, unlike the dual-chip (Cayman Islands) design found in the desktop Radeon 6990.  The chip also contains a mixture of features from the Evergreen and Northern Islands families, meaning that it's not exactly like its desktop 6000 series brethren.

Slides from AMD show the chip outperforming both its own Radeon 6970M and NVIDIA Corp.'s (NVDA) GeForce GTX 580M in games like Batman Arkham AsylumDragon Age 2Shogun 2BattleForgeLeft 4 DeadMetro2033, Wolfenstein MPThe Chronicles of Riddick, and ET: Quake Wars.  No independent benchmarks have been released yet, so the validity of these claims depends on how much you're willing to trust AMD.

The chip will land as an option for Dell Inc.'s (DELL) Alienware M18x and Clevo's P170HM and P150HM notebooks, both of which also offer the GTX 580M.  

These notebooks may support Crossfire configurations of more than one 6990M.  One 6990M is pretty far from its desktop namesake, but two could offer somewhat closer performance.  A Radeon 6990 has 3072 SPUs, while a pair of 6990Ms would have 2240 SPUs.  Unless you're mining bitcoins or counting framerates, the performance of a pair of 6990Ms and a Radeon 6990 should be virtually identical in current generation PC titles.

AMD has said that the new chip will support Eyefinity, HD3D, and all its other latest and greatest technology.  According to AnandTech, though, the chip will not support switchable graphics (à la NVIDIA's Optimus).  That, says AMD, is currently reserved for lower end CPUs.

The chip is available immediately, and AVADirect is already making the GPU available in its gaming notebooks.  Expect more manufacturers to jump on the AMD bandwagon in the near future.

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RE: 6990 is an outright lie
By RjBass on 7/12/2011 11:46:40 AM , Rating: 2
Whatever people. This is similar to the argument that Apple has with Amazon about the name of the App Store. This new GPU while called a 6990 also has an M attached. The M standing for MOBILE!!! Anybody who knows anything about computer hardware should know that mobile GPU's don't compare to their desktop counterparts and if you buy a laptop with a 6990M you are getting a mobile GPU. DUH!!!! Where in the hell would you be able to fit a full on 6990 in a laptop? Get with it people, it's the mobile sector, stop complaining already.

RE: 6990 is an outright lie
By MrTeal on 7/12/2011 12:29:34 PM , Rating: 2
I guess it comes down to what you expect from the model number. There was a discussion in one of the Intel articles about whether the model number should just be a number that indicates performance or if it should encode information about features. AMD seems to be taking the "It's just a number that doesn't mean anything" approach, and since the new chip is their best mobile solution it gets the 6990M label, regardless of whether it's related to the regular 6990. They should just call it a 6870M, since it basically is a downclocked 6870, but that won't happen.

The GPU naming system, especially in the mobile space, is ridiculous. If Chevy introduced a Corvette LE that was identical to a lower performance Cobalt, people would laugh at them. Sure, it's just a name and they can call the new car whatever they want, but that doesn't mean it's the best idea. AMD/NVIDIA continue to do it because people don't know any better and don't both to research it since they don't really care that much.

RE: 6990 is an outright lie
By The0ne on 7/12/2011 3:15:17 PM , Rating: 2
It's quite ridiculous that's why you do research before buying into a $2000+ laptop :) Sadly, some kids still don't but hey whatever floats their boat :)

RE: 6990 is an outright lie
By Fritzr on 7/12/2011 5:45:42 PM , Rating: 2
It's not even confined to video parts the intel P4 & P4M used completely different architectures. The M part was the first to use the P5 (Core) architecture while P4 (non-M) family was the end of the NetBurst architecture.

You need to read the tech specs and just use the part number to index your notes.

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