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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 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.

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