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 Asylum, Dragon
Age 2, Shogun 2, BattleForge, Left 4 Dead, Metro2033,
Wolfenstein MP, The 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
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
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.