Advanced Micro Devices on Tuesday formally introduced its latest family of graphics processing units (GPUs) for notebooks. The new ATI Radeon HD 7000M-series chips code-named Wimbledon, Heathrow and Chelsea are made using 28nm process technology, are based on graphics core next (GCN) architecture, have higher performance than predecessors and support a number of new technologies, such as hybrid graphics Enduro, ZeroCore power tech, DirectX 11.1, Eyfinity6 and other.
As it usually happens with graphics processors for notebooks, they closely resemble their desktop brethren, but also support a number of mobile specific capabilities designed to reduce power consumption or bring other necessary functionality. In general, AMD Radeon HD 7900M (Wimbledon) is a version of Radeon HD 7800 (Pitcairn XT) chip with 1280 stream processors, AMD Radeon 7800M (Heathrow) is a flavour of Radeon HD 7770 GPU (Cape Verde XT) with 640 stream processors, whereas AMD Radeon HD 7700M is a version of Radeon HD 7750 solution (Cape Verde Pro) with 512 stream processors.
In addition to typical features offered by Southern Island family of graphics solutions based on GCN architecture, the mobile versions also offers several very important technologies:
- AMD Enduro - which resembles Nvidia Optimus - monitors usage of graphics processing unit and completely shuts it down if it believes that CPU-integrated graphics adapter provides enough performance. The tech is GPU-technology agnostic and therefore supports both AMD and Intel microprocessors. Just like Nvidia's Optimus, the AMD Enduro relies on application profiles and depends on software.
- AMD power gating technology dynamically shuts down portions of AMD Radeon GPU when not in use, reducing power in low/moderate workloads.
- AMD ZeroCore Power technology allows AMD Radeon GPU to consume virtually no power when in idle state.
- AMD PowerTune technology allows to dynamically accelerate clock-speeds of GPUs when thermal design power set by notebook manufacturers has headroom to increase.
AMD claims that over 200 of notebook designs are compatible with the new Radeon HD 7700M/7800M/7900M graphics processors. Not all of those notebooks, including those based on AMD's own accelerated processing units or Intel Corp.'s "Sandy Bridge" or "Ivy Bridge" microprocessors, will actually feature discrete graphics adapters. Nonetheless, AMD claims that the demand for such solutions exists even when it comes to ultra-thin laptops.