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UPDATE: AMD Unveils First Specifications of Radeon HD 8000M “Solar” Graphics Processors.

Advanced Micro Devices plans to show off the first Radeon HD 8000M products that belong to the new code-named Solar System family at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, next month. The new chips will be aimed at notebooks and will support a number of innovations, which at present remain a mystery.

AMD is projected to announce new additions to its family of graphics processing units at the CES. Everything that is currently known about the new AMD Radeon HD 8000M-series “Solar System” product family is that it will support DirectX 11.1, OpenGL 4.3 and OpenCL 1.2 application programming interfaces. It is unclear whether the new chips are based on the GCN [graphics core next] architecture, or the technology behind Solar System is more advanced. There will be at least two new chips – code-named Mars and Venus – launched at CES with several more announced, reports Expreview web-site.

It is expected that one of the first notebooks to feature AMD Radeon HD 8550M will be Asustek Computer’s Vivobook U38N laptop. However, it is also rumoured that there will be at least one all-in-one desktop design displayed at the CES.

It is noteworthy that AMD begins to roll out its new HD 8000-series of graphics chips starting with graphics processors for mobile personal computers. Such approach signals growing importance of mobile GPUs in general and AMD’s attempt to fight back market share it lost to Nvidia Corp. this year after the latter signed numerous design wins with laptops powered by Intel Corp.’s Core i-series “Ivy Bridge” central processing units.

AMD intends to unleash new Radeon HD 8000 “Sea Islands” family of graphics processors for desktops later in 2013.

AMD did not comment on the news-story.

Tags: AMD, Radeon, Mobility Radeon, ATI, Sea Islands, Solar System, 28nm, GCN


Comments currently: 20
Discussion started: 12/17/12 01:16:14 PM
Latest comment: 12/22/12 10:18:03 PM
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Anton, more details here:


Very poor marketing by AMD, positioning the slower HD8870M series below HD7800M. Overall performance for HD8500-8870M looks extremely disappointing. It looks like they are reshuffling names all over the place. This is really confusing for the consumer. Also, it implies that there will be a very serious gap in performance between HD8900M and HD8800M parts, unless of course AMD wants to release HD9000M in the 2nd half of 2013 and HD8500-8800M is just a stop gap? HD8870M is being compared to 650M. Ridiculously misleading marketing/confusing product positioning.
2 3 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 12/17/12 01:16:14 PM]
- collapse thread

Definitely a big gripe of mine, AMD's marketing. They sell themeselves short. Logical and transparent naming would be a good start.
2 2 [Posted by: linuxlowdown  | Date: 12/17/12 03:53:39 PM]
I detest rebrands but both nvidia and AMD/ATI now are doing this and their own market analysis shows its working. Meaning to say the customers are getting fooled quite well. This scheme wouldn't be here today if it wasn't delivering the cash flow.

But these are supposedly Sea Island based GCN 2.0 not exactly a rebrand but the model number positioning is very misleading indeed. So like I mentioned above the scheme is working so they are going along with it.

PS: I will have to check on that if its really GCN 2.0 or not. So far it really is unclear. That slide is particularly telling. If it was GCN 2.0 they would be giving it a special highlight.
2 1 [Posted by: vanakkuty  | Date: 12/17/12 05:51:49 PM]
Vanakkuty, it is not GCN 2.0.

"Performance-wise, AMD expects the new GPUs to be substantially quicker than their predecessors. The company's internal benchmarks show gains of around 20-50% from the Radeon HD 7590M to the Radeon HD 8690M, and about as much from the 7670M to the 8770M. In other words, folks should be getting a lot more performance—and likely increased power efficiency—at the same price points.

The 8000M series doesn't appear to boast any unique architectural refinements, though. AMD told us that, while these parts do feature new silicon, they're still based on the original iteration of the GCN architecture, just like the desktop Radeon HD 7000 series."
1 1 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 12/17/12 06:53:07 PM]
You are right. I didn't care to read the texts just looked at the slides.

That paragraph of techreport pretty much asserts it not GCN 2.0 but they are not told by AMD what changes are there to the silicon revision. That was what interested me more.

Found out that info given to the press are true, its not GCN 1.0 as people know it from 7000 series. Pattern changes for test programs are not small changes. There are key changes to patterns at several blocks for this rev of silicon. It is not merely a speed bump. Whether they translate into performance gains I don't know, didn't press further cant also anyway, even If I did I will not be able to tell that so didn't bother asking more.

There are process level changes to aid speed bumps, but this one is obvious if they are going for speed bumps.

So their claims as per BSN/Techreport checks out.

PS: Take a look at my post a bit below this, GCN 2.0 is apparently in the 384 shader parts. Conflicting reports in the press.

The enthusiast models that will come later are GCN 2.0 for now but subject to yield. This part of the roadmap can change based on that. Hopefully no speed bumped 7970Ms because of yield issues as desktop segments gets the pickings first when launch times are to be met. If that happens they will pick a high number to introduce the true GCN 2.0 based mobile chip later. Much better if they just get yields good enough.

Fingers crossed as I was holding out on buying a M18X-R2 waiting for the 8900M refreshes.

2 0 [Posted by: vanakkuty  | Date: 12/17/12 08:52:06 PM]
Ya, based on the Q2 2013 slated launch of HD8900M, I presumed those parts will be Sea Islands and coincide with HD8000 GCN 2.0 desktop cards. I guess that gives you an idea that a real upgrade to HD7970M/HD7970Ghz are at least 3 months away.

"We’ve learned that, right now, partners are planning to show off the Radeon HD 8970 XT at CeBIT in March – with a full launch at Computex in June."

What do you think about them launching HD8900M/desktop HD8000 GCN 2.0 around Computex (Jun 4, 2013 - Jun 8, 2013)?
1 1 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 12/17/12 10:45:45 PM]
They do have tentative launch dates but they never pin much on them that much. They will rely on AIBs to be ready once the required minimum orders are met for the AIBs. After all AIBs need to get the cards ready and shipped out to online and retail stores.

These dates are going to change even just two weeks before they want to launch it. Unless ofcourse its a paper launch, then that would stink.

I am sure they they know better than to risk that. It would only serve to hit some 7000 series sales in anticipation of 8000 series cards which will then face market availability delays. Hard launch from day 1 is the way to go even then we can expect the usual first few weeks of shortages. Hot Products like these will run out quickly.

All that said no real chance of a paper launch. They have no real issues to cause that. Yields are decent if not spectacular. Big die products never have the yields of smaller products. Nature of the beast.

So If am asking, am going to get only "its on track" I haven't asked but I already know the answer on the dates. Not because they cant tell, they themselves cant be sure until its very close to the expected time frame. They say Q2 2012 for a reason, its best to assume end of Q2 to be a safe bet if anyone's holding out for these GPUs. Thats not that bad, just end of June.

0 0 [Posted by: vanakkuty  | Date: 12/17/12 11:36:24 PM]
BestJinjo, It seems there is some confusion regarding the 384 shader parts and the 640 shader part in the press reports.

384 shader parts are all supposedly indeed the GCN 2.0 while the 640 shader part specifically 8800M is not GCN 2.0 but a tweak of GCN 1.0

Will get more debunk/confirmation in a few hours time.

The problem seems to be in the slides supplied to the press. Its mostly incomplete.
0 0 [Posted by: vanakkuty  | Date: 12/18/12 03:08:55 AM]
Whatever the 384 part is, it's destroying the 7690M it replaces by an astounding 50-60% with only 2W more power usage.


Similar at Tom's Hardware.
0 1 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 12/22/12 10:15:39 PM]

i have a feeling that many 8000m series will be nothing more then rebandage 7000m series with faster clock speeds. Got to love Nvidia and AMD's marketing into fooling the avg consumor like that.
2 2 [Posted by: SteelCity1981  | Date: 12/17/12 01:47:09 PM]
- collapse thread

We'll have to see if it's a rebadge. But that wouldn't make sense for a mobile GPU because ultimately AMD is selling it to OEMs who can't be fooled. But I'm sure there are still historical instances of this happening.
1 1 [Posted by: linuxlowdown  | Date: 12/17/12 03:50:17 PM]
they can't be fooled? oems not only don't care, but they like rebandaging products if it makes their system look like it's using the latest and greatest to present to the consumor when it's actually not and they are getting that hardware at a bargin price. i mean look at all the radeon lower end 6000m series that were sold that were just rebandaged 5000m series just like the lower end 7000m series were just rebandaged 6000m series. Nvidia does this also their lower end GT500m were nothing more then rebanaged GT400m series and their lower end GT600m are rebandaged GT500m series
2 3 [Posted by: SteelCity1981  | Date: 12/17/12 08:45:38 PM]
OEMs don't care, infact its them who request it sometimes.

But the bottom line regardless of which decided to go with this dodgy tactic at launch, it works. They are able to make a business gain out of it.

2 1 [Posted by: vanakkuty  | Date: 12/17/12 08:56:30 PM]
Look I'm ignorant of what really goes on. But you're right, I suppose the renaming comes down to pure marketing nonsense working on customers. If it ain't new it's old and not as good, right? For me personally, it just annoys my straight thinking engineering brain.
1 0 [Posted by: linuxlowdown  | Date: 12/17/12 10:49:34 PM]
Oh no I agree, I don't like re-branding, but we all know this is not charity they are a business. AMD will do the pot calling the kettle black just as much as Nvidia does.

Its gotten into a proven practice where if AMD doesn't do it nvidia will and then AMD will be forced to follow it.

Now they have an excuse to say the chips are not the same, they are clocked faster and have a reason for a silicon rev spin. The Joe doesn't care for all that, to them this is still shoddy marketing when they find out. The twisted beauty here is they wont for the vast majority.

Unfortunately the methods of business today. But there some compelling engineering/OpEx reasons for this even more so these days. Vast topic of discussion to fit in here.
0 0 [Posted by: vanakkuty  | Date: 12/17/12 11:44:35 PM]
I think everything below HD7750M was based on VLIW-4/5:

HD8500-8800M are all GCN 1.0 top to bottom. That means 25-50% more performance at those levels based on AMD's marketing materials. Since HD8900M is not going to be out until Q2 2013, I think those will be Sea Islands, and hence why HD8900M is delayed to Q2.
2 1 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 12/17/12 07:01:13 PM]
SteelCity, check out the two reviews I linked above of HD8790M vs. HD7690M. The move from 40nm VLIW to 28nm GCN for netted a massive 50%+ performance increase. I presume the move from 7950-7970M will be much less since 7700M and above are all 28nm GCN parts. We can still expect increase in performance since AMD will lower prices at a given level of performance to remain competitive.
0 1 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 12/22/12 10:18:03 PM]

8500M-8700M => new(Richland)
8800M => 7800M
8900M => 7900M
2 1 [Posted by: seronx  | Date: 12/17/12 03:53:19 PM]
- collapse thread

If HD8870M < HD7870M, then it replaces HD7670M. Does that mean HD8950M replaces HD7870M, HD8970M replaces HD7950M and what then replaces HD7970M?
1 1 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 12/17/12 07:04:09 PM]
1 0 [Posted by: seronx  | Date: 12/18/12 09:04:19 PM]


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