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AMD unveils Radeon HD 8000M GCN family

AMD unveils Radeon HD 8000M GCN family

AMD's Radeon HD 8000 Series is now official, but there's a couple of strange gaps in the product line-up.

AMD has officially unveiled its Radeon HD 8000M family of graphics processors, after being embarrasingly pipped to the post by the unveiling of an Asus Ultrabook with at-the-time unannounced Radeon HD 8550M dedicated graphics.

The first in the company's 8000-series of mobile graphics processors, the family is split into four ranges: the 8500M series takes aim at the budget market that has outgrown integrated graphics, while the 8600M and 8700M offer progressively improved performance before the whole range peaks with the 8800M for high-end gaming. If you're paying attention, you may have noticed something interesting: there's no 8900M series, the 28nm Graphics Core Next (GCN) equivalent to the current top-end mobile enthusiast chip series the Radeon HD 7900M. That's something AMD is clearly aware of, leaving a clear gap at the top and bottom of its Q2 2013 roadmap for 8400M and 8900M products.

Ignoring unannounced future products, let's take a look at what AMD has actually unveiled. The entry-level Radeon HD 8500M series features 384 stream processors and an engine clock of up to 650MHz depending on precise model. The memory clock is up to 1,125MHz on models with GDDR5 or 1,000MHz on models with cheaper DDR3 memory, and the chip manages a claimed single-precision compute of 537 gigaflops or 33 gigaflops in double-precision mode.

Moving up the range, the Radeon HD 8600M series includes the same 384 stream processors and 1,125MHz/1,000MHz memory clock but running at a higher engine speed of up to 775MHz. Accordingly, there's a boost to performance: single-precision compute goes up to 633 gigaflops and double-precision to 39 gigaflops. The story is the same for the Radeon HD 8700M: 384 stream processors, up to 1,125MHz/1,000MHz memory clock and an engine clock running at between 650MHz and 850MHz depending on model. That in and of itself is an interesting choice: at its bottom-end 650MHz configuration, the Radeon HD 8700M series is identical in performance to its cheaper Radeon HD 8500M; it's only when the clock is upped to 850MHz that improved compute of 691 gigaflops in single-precision and 42 gigaflops in double-precision becomes available.

Finally, there's the Radeon HD 8800M, AMD's flagship mobile GPU - at least, until the Radeon HD 8900M inevitably launches next year. Unlike its stablemates, which vary only in performance, the Radeon HD 8800M is a very different piece of silicon: the chip boasts 640 stream processors to all other 8000M-series' 384. There's also no option for DDR3 memory, with manufacturers being forced to fit faster GDDR5 running at 1,125MHz if they want to fit the GPU to their products. The result is a beast of a mobile GPU: at its peak speed of 700MHz, 150MHz slower than the Radeon HD 8700M, the extra stream processors make themselves felt with 992 gigaflops of single-precision and 62 gigaflops of double-precision compute power.

The decision to limit the engine speed of the Radeon HD 8800M to below that of the Radeon HD 8700M provides a clue, too, as to AMD's plans for the range: next year's Radeon HD 8900M will, in all likelihood, be an uprated Radeon HD 8800M running at the full 850MHz.

What AMD hasn't yet shared are details of the chips' in-game performance and thermal design profile (TDP) figures. The official launch slide deck does provide a chart demonstrating a claimed performance increase of between 20 and 70 per cent in popular games including Battlefield 3, Crysis 2 and Skyrim compared to Nvidia's GeForce 650M mobile GPU, but without providing actual framerates.

Pricing information on the parts, which - as you would expect from laptop-targeted parts - are available only to OEMs, has not been provided.

11 Comments

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damien c 18th December 2012, 14:26 Quote
Hmm Interesting.

Wonder what the desktop cards are going to be like?

However with no performance figures around it's going to be difficult to see if the claims are true of between a 20% - 70% improvement over the Nvidia 650M.
proxess 18th December 2012, 16:39 Quote
That entry level 8500 DDR3 series is pretty much the same as my 5650M with a wee overclock (which in itself is an underclocked 5770 anyway). And less stream processors. Single-precision throughput is pretty much the same.

Anything new?!?!
Gareth Halfacree 18th December 2012, 17:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by proxess
Anything new?!?!
What, aside from the model number? The newest feature is the fact it's the GCN architecture on a 28nm lithographic process. In theory, that means that chips of the same performance should draw less power than their larger predecessors. Sadly, AMD hasn't shared TDP on any of the chips, so at present we have absolutely no idea if "should" equates to "will."
Hustler 18th December 2012, 18:57 Quote
"62 gigaflops of double-precision compute power"

Sorry,but this figure means absolutely nothing to me in trying to determine its real world power...what is the memory bandwidth figure,pixel fill rates, 128bit or 256bit, etc,etc.
abezors 18th December 2012, 19:33 Quote
For a minute there I thought I was reading about the nVidia 8000 series. It even follows the hierarchy naming scheme with 8800 at the top!
Farting Bob 18th December 2012, 23:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by abezors
For a minute there I thought I was reading about the nVidia 8000 series. It even follows the hierarchy naming scheme with 8800 at the top!

It'll follow the NV 8xxx series if they have half a dozen completely different cards all starting with 8800. Then bring out 9xxx cards that someone has put a fresh label on.
XXAOSICXX 19th December 2012, 00:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by proxess
And less stream processors.

Fewer :p
blacko 19th December 2012, 11:34 Quote
You know how Trinity has that onboard GPU. Could you pair it with an 8000m gpu and have a sort of Hybrid SLI/Xfire setup?
Gareth Halfacree 19th December 2012, 12:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by blacko
You know how Trinity has that onboard GPU. Could you pair it with an 8000m gpu and have a sort of Hybrid SLI/Xfire setup?
No: you can't do AMD Dual Graphics (as the technology is known) between generations, and Trinity's GPU is pre-GCN. The successor to Trinity, however, should be compatible with the 8000M-series (and, theoretically, the 8000-series desktop GPUs) for Dual Graphics purposes.
blacko 19th December 2012, 12:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Quote:
Originally Posted by blacko
You know how Trinity has that onboard GPU. Could you pair it with an 8000m gpu and have a sort of Hybrid SLI/Xfire setup?
No: you can't do AMD Dual Graphics (as the technology is known) between generations, and Trinity's GPU is pre-GCN. The successor to Trinity, however, should be compatible with the 8000M-series (and, theoretically, the 8000-series desktop GPUs) for Dual Graphics purposes.

i was thinking about a future laptop with a triple GPU setup....

http://www.tomsguide.com/us/Toshiba-SLI-Qosmio-X305,news-2904.html
jinq-sea 19th December 2012, 13:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by XXAOSICXX
Fewer :p

Yes. Pedantry at its finest. A man after my own heart.
(I nearly added an apostrophe in 'its' but then realised it might look like I'm grammatically incorrect...!)
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