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AMD Radeon HD 8970M launched

AMD's fastest laptop graphics card is official - the Radeon HD 8970M will soon be making its way to high-end gaming laptops

AMD has officially revealed the Radeon HD 8970M – the company’s fastest mobile graphics card to date. With AMD’s Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture, 1,280 stream processors running at 850MHz and memory running at 1,200MHz, it should be able to handle the latest games at high resolutions.

Based on a 28nm process, the 8970m supports AMD’s Enduro graphics switching technology to help save battery life when you aren’t playing full-screen games. It also supports GPU-accelerated compute applications, including the newly announced Adobe Premiere Pro CC, which should result in faster video rendering compared to just using the CPU.

AMD Radeon HD 8970

Now sitting at the top of the 8000m mobile GPU family, the 8970M is, on closer inspection, a very slightly tweaked version of the existing 7970M – the only difference is that the new chip supports AMD’s boost clock to increase the core engine clock from 850MHz to 900MHz when thermal limits allow. This should lead to a raw performance increase of around 5-10% over the outtgoing chip, although that doesn’t take driver improvements – which will certainly focus on improving performance over the coming months – into account.

Based on AMD’s early benchmark results, gamers should expect to see frame playable frame rates in many of the latest games at 1080p resolutions, including Battlefield 3, Crysis 3, Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon and Tomb Raider – although it’s worth pointing out that many of these titles were developed with support from AMD, so the below graph (which highlights the differences between the 8970M and Nvidia’s current high-end mobile GPU, the GeForce GTX 680M) may not carry across to other titles.

AMD Radeon HD 8970

With Nvidia yet to launch its next generation high-end mobile GPUs, it’s difficult to say whether AMD will retain its lead in the coming weeks – we should know by June when Intel introduces its Haswell CPUs, when Nvidia is expected to make its announcement.

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