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AMD launches world's first 40nm GPUs

AMD launches world's first 40nm GPUs

A lower transistor count and smaller process technology enables the Mobility Radeon HD 4860 (right) to be much smaller than the Mobility Radeon HD 4850 (left).

Desktop GPUs usually get the first crack at a new process technology, but AMD has bucked the trend today by announcing that the world's first 40nm GPUs will in fact be mobile parts. The Mobility Radeon HD 4860 and 4830 will both take advantage of TSMC’s 40nm production facilities and will sit on either side of the Mobility Radeon HD 4850.

Interestingly, however, the 4860 has fewer stream processors than the 4850, with a total of 640 units compared with 800 on the 4850. AMD’s hope is that the GPU’s GDDR5 memory and higher clock speeds will make up for this and boost the performance. The Mobility Radeon HD 4860 will feature up to 4GHz GDDR5 memory, and the core will be clocked at 650MHz. Comparatively, the Mobility Radeon HD 4850 has a GDDR3 memory clock of up to 850MHz and a 500MHz core clock.

Similarly to the 4860, the Mobility Radeon HD 4830 also has 640 stream processors, but has a core clock of either 450MHz or 600MHz, depending on the circumstances. Meanwhile, the 4830 will come equipped with either DDR3 or GDDR3 memory, which will be clocked between 800MHz and 900MHz.

Both the new 40nm GPUs feature a 128-bit memory bus, and contain 826 million transistors. As a point of comparison, the 55nm Mobility Radeon HD 4850 and 4850 feature 956 million transistors, so the smaller transistor count and process technology have enabled AMD to shrink the die size of the GPUs significantly. You can see in the photo above that the central die of the Mobility Radeon HD 4860 is much smaller than the die of the Radeon HD 4850.

Explaining the decision to introduce the 40nm technology with mobile GPUs, AMD’s senior vice president and general manager of graphics products, Rick Bergman, said on his blog that "it's well documented that notebooks have surpassed desktops in worldwide sales."

Bergman also added that “this is the fifth consecutive time that AMD is first to launch graphics processors based on a new process node, but the first time we've chosen to make such a debut in the mobile market. Shrinking these chips smaller and smaller means that OEM partners are able to pack more graphics horsepower into smaller notebooks, so that consumers can enjoy all the goodness of DirectX 10.1 games, home theater-quality HD multimedia on HD displays and energy-efficient features for long battery life on a wide range of notebook form factors.” For those of you who are eager to see what AMD will do with 40nm desktop GPUs, Bergman tells you “not to worry” as “40nm desktop parts are coming soon.”

AMD says that the new mobile GPUs will be "available in quality notebooks" from Asus as soon as the beginning of the second quarter of this year. Would you be interested in a lightweight laptop with a Mobility Radeon HD 4830 or 4860 GPU? Are you disappointed that AMD didn’t announce a 40nm desktop GPU first? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

18 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Elton 4th March 2009, 13:58 Quote
Impressive, I guess the new top mobile GPU is now in the hands of ATI.

All they need now is to have good driver support and they're set. And they're right with GDDR5, it will double the bandwidth as it did with the preview tests of the RV740.
lp1988 4th March 2009, 14:18 Quote
ATI has really been giving Nvidia a run for it's money the last year or so. both the first with GDDR5 and now the first to use 40 nm dies. wonder what the respond from Nvidia will be.
Delphium 4th March 2009, 14:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by lp1988
wonder what the respond from Nvidia will be.

Re-badge another 9800 series card as a GTX? :)
CSMR 4th March 2009, 16:01 Quote
Are we finally going to get two digital video outputs in notebooks with these GPUs?
Goty 4th March 2009, 16:06 Quote
Well, you technically already do have two digital outputs; One of them is just consumed by the laptop display.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delphium
Quote:
Originally Posted by lp1988
wonder what the respond from Nvidia will be.

Re-badge another 9800 series card as a GTX? :)

This made me laugh.
Farting Bob 4th March 2009, 16:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delphium
Re-badge another 9800 series card as a GTX? :)
You know, its been a while since i saw the GT6600 series in action, maybe its time they made a 301GTX?
CSMR 4th March 2009, 16:09 Quote
I don't think modding a laptop to disconnect the integrated connection, convert it to the right format and terminate it to create an additional digital output is particularly feasible.
nicae 4th March 2009, 16:13 Quote
I wonder about the limitations of going from 256-bit to 128-bit GDDR5. How will the 128-bit memory, clock changes and shader counts balance themselves? I'm curious to see the benchmarks!
C-Sniper 4th March 2009, 17:10 Quote
I guess what AMD is lacking in the processor department they sure are making up for in the graphics area. I am glad to see the guys in Red come back and bring in competition forNvidia
LAGMonkey 4th March 2009, 17:54 Quote
agreed, a bit of competition is always a boreing thing and then everything starts to stagnate. Just look at the CPU side of things (for AMD)
500mph 4th March 2009, 19:44 Quote
So how do the GTX280m, 260m, and GTS216?m compare?
HourBeforeDawn 4th March 2009, 19:58 Quote
well this is certainly awesome so if they are doing this now then probably to work out any kinks before they go full on in the desktop market, oh I cant wait this will be sick.
dyzophoria 5th March 2009, 01:45 Quote
if ATI's mobile parts are much durable than NVIDIA's they'll win my vote instantly,lol, im really pissed with my HP DV2000 & xps m1330 for their failing gpu's (7200go & 8400gs)
Elton 5th March 2009, 05:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicae
I wonder about the limitations of going from 256-bit to 128-bit GDDR5. How will the 128-bit memory, clock changes and shader counts balance themselves? I'm curious to see the benchmarks!

It'd probably cancel out and make it perform similar to a similarly clocked and shader counted GDDR3 card.
Slyr7.62 5th March 2009, 06:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elton
It'd probably cancel out and make it perform similar to a similarly clocked and shader counted GDDR3 card.
Yeah, 128-bit Vram bandwidth sucks. Anyways, ATI putting out these 40nm notebook GPU's will (hopefully) push Nvidia to get some (even better) notebook GPU's. Don't forget the latest GTX 200m products, they meet or beat a 9800GT/X.

We're getting closer and closer to having GTX 260 or higher performance in a notebook(@ a reasonable cost :P)
p3n 5th March 2009, 09:06 Quote
I realise the core is alot smaller but that orientation in pic really doesnt do the job in a 'PR' sense...
kenco_uk 5th March 2009, 09:30 Quote
Aye, you need some crazy statistic for the comparison. Something akin to being able to fit so many more of the smaller cored gpu's into a sporting arena, or something :)

Sounds good though. I just wonder what would be the desktop equivalent of each chip?
r4tch3t 9th March 2009, 01:48 Quote
Will they be on an MXM module and what are their TDPs? If it matches the 8600GT in my laptop I may just have to investigate.
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