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UPDATE: Some of the product specifications have been corrected.

Advanced Micro Devices on Monday unveiled additional details about its new-generation family of graphics processing units (GPUs) for mobile computers. The initial breed of Radeon HD 8000M “Solar System” graphics chips will provide entry-level/mainstream performance and will be only a tad faster than the Radeon HD 7000M-series products. Going forward AMD will release more advanced Solar mobile GPUs. 

The formal launch of the first AMD Radeon HD 8000M “Solar” will occur at the Consumer Electronics Show next month along with actual notebooks and all-in-one systems powered by the new chips. However, AMD revealed on Monday that the first two chips it will release are code-named Mars (with up to 384 stream processors) as well as Neptune (with up to 640 stream processors), which will provide entry-level and mainstream performance for laptops. The more advanced code-named Sun chip will be launched sometimes in the second quarter of the next year, possibly, around the same timeframe as Radeon HD 8000 “Sea Islands” products for desktops.

Since the configuration of AMD’s Radeon HD 8800M-series “Neptune” in many ways resembles that of the Radeon HD 7800M “Heathrow” and “Cape Verde” GPUs, it is highly likely that the chip is generally similar to its predecessor with possible minor redesigns that are aimed at performance and cost optimization, but with negligible difference in performance. In the meantime, the main point of the Radeon HD 8600M/8500M “Mars” graphics processor is to drive the GCN architecture into the entry-level/ultra-thin product segments as previously the most affordable/energy-efficient GCN chip was Cape Verde.

In fact, AMD remains tight-lipped about the differences between the Radeon HD 7000M and 8000M products based on GCN-architecture chips, which is probably an indicator that there are virtually no differences between the two. Therefore, do not expect any tangible performance advantages from AMD’s Radeon HD 8000M-series, but probably wait for better form-factors and generally faster laptops with the new GPUs thanks to manufacturers’ growing experience with ultra-slim chassis as well as faster processors based on Intel’s Ivy Bridge and Haswell micro-architecture as well as AMD’s own A-series “Trinity” chips.

The AMD Radeon HD 8000M-series “Solar” graphics processors support all the advantages that the graphics core next (GCN) architecture has to offer, including support for DirectX 11.1, OpenCL 1.2, OpenGL 4.3, PCI Express 3.0, AMD Eyefinity 2.0, ultra high-definition output support using DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 1.4a, optimized power consumption, integrated 7.1 audio controller, stereo-3D/Blu-ray 3D support, and other new technologies.

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


Comments currently: 24
Discussion started: 12/18/12 12:13:13 AM
Latest comment: 12/22/12 10:12:20 PM
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The 8970M is exactly what I expected. Atleast my wait was worth it. Albeit I will be getting it only by the end of 2013 from dell outlet. Yeah am cheapo :p

PS1: There is a slight concern that 8970 spec is not GCN 2.0, but a tweaked GCN 1.0 like the rest of them, very similar to Tahiti LE versions.

PS2: But the confusing thing is it shares the spec with the Sea Islands based desktop HD 8850, the Shader/TMU/ROP parts alteast. Guess will have to dig more on this
3 2 [Posted by: vanakkuty  | Date: 12/18/12 12:13:13 AM]
- collapse thread

We don't have confirmation of HD8850 desktop card specs or specs for HD8970M. So how do you know HD8970M is exactly what you expected? Any reason you are automatically ruling out GTX770MX (or w/e the 2nd fastest NV card will be called)? What if it's much faster for the same price?
2 1 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 12/18/12 11:31:39 AM]
Don't know about Nvidia's plans, but the specs was already known to me for a while and on some other products. But then I also recalled this will be a wildcard spec since it shares the Shader/ALU/TMU/ROP arrangement with Tahiti LE.

You may know me as Vini at fudzilla, work as PD engineer for certain chipmarker. So I have my means to know some of the things
3 1 [Posted by: vanakkuty  | Date: 12/18/12 07:30:10 PM]
Oh ok, cool! Without revealing the specs/actual performance numbers, is HD8970 going to be a big jump over HD7970Ghz or more of a refresh like HD5870 --> HD6970 was?
1 2 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 12/18/12 11:00:16 PM]
Its a respectable jump with the combination of changes to GCN2.0 (which is mostly addressing HSA enablement and some other changes of which I can't give hints) and most importantly process changes.

GCN2.0 is not going to be the radical change we saw from VLIW4 to GCN1.0. That should be a good indicator what to expect.

I know what you mean, there are wild rumors out there about just how much of a performance jump these are supposedly going to be, those were mildly exaggerated. Energy efficiency is a different story. Those numbers I don't know but process improvements will definitely give more room to save power or use the saved power to increase clocks. Even after knowing the final clocks I wont be able to determine what the final power draw will be because a sizable board/component change can lead to different power draw. Reference board and then AIB dependant.

On the mobile front: Turns out GCN2.0 is indeed in the line up. My friend who suggested its a tweak of GCN1.0 was not wrong technically. He said what he noticed on the test program level. He doesn't have to know the design/changes, he wont be able to see it unless he asks his higher ups. Everything is compartmentalized on a need-to-know basis. So the story on silicon being different is checking out. But the family of Shader processors were not really revealed to the press. Press have interpreted what they felt. Even its not confirmed that the 8800 series is a re-brand as originally thought. That was press speculation not AMD's confirmation I went through a couple of the latest press core reports on this piece. Couldn't find a direct quote from AMD rep saying anything of the sort.

There is a good strong reason for this change in assessment on my part because I have now a better understanding of changes between GCN1.0 and GCN2.0 so based on that I am going to go out on a limb and say all 384 shader parts revealed yesterday are indeed complete GCN2.0 parts. The 8800M sereis 640 shader part is also if my understanding is correct GCN2.0 but I could be wrong since there are corresponding SI parts to match, then again re-spinning an older generation is cost and manhours, does not sound very effective financially to me when they can just focus on CI based silicon. But those 384 shader parts are pretty much GCN 2.0.

Spinning new silicon for an older generation when the new generation is already there is not business sense for AMD especially in these trying times. They are also trying to push HSA forward as much as possible so improvements in GCN2.0 cant come any sooner for them. Developers need time if they want to work on something if they want to have it out in 1-1.5 years time as Beta.

Let me put it this way, whatever AMD told the press was correct the only thing is they didnt tell the press the families or the core differences that is saved for a later date. I don't know when. Anandtech says Jan 2013? Maybe, this I don't know.

To me it seems reasonable they don't want to talk about GCN2.0 right now. Everyone likes to have some fanfare when they make big announcements so maybe thats why they didn't disclose anything on the solar system lineup.

From my understanding for the same shader count SI and CI die sizes will be virtually identical not really easy to see the size difference unless we are talking about the larger models even then its going to be very small.

Yeah thats all I have now. If anyone is waiting on these cards its all good. They will be happy with their purchases for sure.
3 1 [Posted by: vanakkuty  | Date: 12/19/12 12:21:15 AM]
Thanks for the in-depth reply. I guess I am still undecided if I want to consider GTX780 or HD8970 for my next upgrade or skip that generation entirely and just wait until Q4 2014 for 20nm. Right now other than Metro LL and Crysis 3, I am not seeing anything that jumps out at me as next generation graphics in 2013. Even between those 2 games, I am not sure a 30-40% improvement in GPU power will be enough enough to go from unplayable to playable (if you know how crazy demanding Metro gets all maxed out).

Cevat Yerli said his aim for Crysis 3 is for it to be the best looking PC game for at least 2 years.

Or maybe if some next gen games start arriving in 2013 like Star Wars 1313:

I feel like we are going to be on the cusp of a large leap in graphics once DX11 PS4/Xbox 720 launch and HD8000/GTX700 feel more like a stop-gap before the real thing - 20nm Maxwell / Volcanic Islands. As you said GCN 2.0 should bring enhancement but if they focus on power consumption too, they are still going to be limited by the laws of physics on the 28nm node.
0 1 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 12/19/12 10:32:24 PM]
Cevat Yerli is so full of himself. Crysis 3 looks like Crysis 2 with more sprinkles on it.

Crysis 2 was already an insult to people's expectations after Crysis 1 and now they are going with more of the same in Crysis 3.

Crytek is fearful of the progress other game engine developers are making while they simply stand around trying to sell us talk instead. Empty vessels making a lot of noise nothing more.

Yeah the next gen consoles will definitely go a long way to allowing more creative freedoms for better visuals than what we have today.

Initial games on next gen consoles will come very close to looking as good as what we have on PC today even though there will be some clever sacrifices here and there that we wouldn't notice unless someone pointed them out to us.

And with time like we saw in the current gen consoles, creative programming will lead to much better looking games.

But I don't see much of a great future in terms of leaps in PC gaming with all these developments focused on console first and then PC port later. Every once in a while there is that odd developer who develops for PC first and then ports it to console. But those companies are so few that PC gaming will be artificially held back because of the console's existence, this is not going to change anytime soon. We will definitely get the next jump with next gen consoles but that will be about it until the next jump happens in 6-10 years time.

By right we should be so far ahead by now on PC gaming capabilities but all we have is crappy games like Crysis 2 which have artificially increased the load on GPUs just to make it look like its heavy duty. Lets not forget the cheap nvidia tactics they employed where they rendered the tessellated sea in areas the sea was not even supposed to be visible. The whole city had sea tessellated under the ground, hidden away from view. Remove all that junk and we are left with 2005 level graphics mixed with some high res textures and some unusually over tessellated structures that you don't even care about like those road blocks for instance.

Crytek thinks we are all idiots that if we see something over loading a GPU while really not delivering any jaw dropping graphics, we will think its an amazing GPU stresser in terms of graphics because the first Crysis was exactly that only difference being it actually looked awesome at the time.
1 0 [Posted by: vanakkuty  | Date: 12/19/12 11:11:47 PM]
Ya I was hugely disappointed in Crysis 2's tessellated ocean / concrete barriers. With MaLDoHD mod, the game should be improved soon.

Check out Crysis 3 | "The Hunt" 7 Wonders of Crysis 3 - Episode 2

The vegetation/graphics look much better than Crysis 1/2. Finger crossed it's going to look like this in the final game.
0 1 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 12/22/12 10:06:49 PM]

So then what's the point of calling it an 8000m series if there is going to be little performance between the 7000m series?

It used to be when there was a new series on the market that it was actually a next gen chip and not this rebandage marketing BS like we see today from AMD and Nvidia.

AMD and Nvidia maybe able to fool the avg consumors with this rebandage garbage but they can't fool the enthusiast with this crap.
4 3 [Posted by: SteelCity1981  | Date: 12/18/12 01:14:18 AM]
- collapse thread

Yeah, the expectation was atleast the top end part would be GCN2.

The Tahiti LE GCN based chip has a complete board+chip power draw of anywhere between 160-185 watts. Process improvements and silicon rev changes can bring the power down a decent margin, but desktop clocks wont be possible maybe 850-875Mhz, even then a 100 watt spec top end card with 1536/96/32 arrangement for GCN 1.0 tweaked seems like excess effort when HD 8850 can be down clocked and made to meet 100 watt or below specs. If vanilla GCN Tahiti LE part was down clocked it looses a lot of performance. Not ideal if good gains are to be made over the 7970M.

I'll try to see if firm info can be had.

2 2 [Posted by: vanakkuty  | Date: 12/18/12 01:26:17 AM]
That's a very good guess. Since HD7850/7870 were underclocked HD7950M/7970M, it stands to reason that HD8950/8970M will be based on underclocked HD8850/8870 desktop parts. As those are not due until Q2 2013, that explains why HD8900M is not launching in Q1. I am not sure the performance increase will be worth it though. Looking at prices on eBay for HD6970M, I bet once HD8970M launches, HD7970M will drop to $325-350:

Will it be worth it to pay $200 more for say 20% more performance that HD8970M may offer over 7970M? I think the next big break-through in mobile GPU performance will only happen on 20nm with Maxwell/HD9000 in 2014.
2 2 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 12/18/12 11:26:33 AM]
I don't plan to simply buy the cards. I'll get a good deal with coupons on the dell outlet when a Xfired 8970M M18X-R2 comes as part for the Dell 2013 refresh sometime in Q3

I plan to give my current M18X-R1 to family. So by 2013 end I should have a nice upgrade to my current Sandy Bridge and Dual 6970Ms. But then again I might delay this plan still further as this is my future laptop plan. I am on the move most of the times so a PC is not viable for now.
1 1 [Posted by: vanakkuty  | Date: 12/18/12 07:37:26 PM]
Hmm..wouldn't it make sense for you to wait for Alienware to introduce a new M18X Haswell model? I think Haswell is supposed to launch April-June 2013, right around HD8970M launch. Would work out nicely.
1 1 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 12/18/12 11:02:36 PM]
Then there maybe a M18X-R3 that also works for me but I won't be buying until some units hit the dell outlet, it takes a while before they get returns and they fix the problems, double check and sell them for lower prices. Add a coupon to that and if its 225-30% discount then its steal of a deal.

I got my current system for a cool 1583 USD including Shipping. It was definitely worth atleast $2599 excluding shipping at the time if I had to order brand new.
1 1 [Posted by: vanakkuty  | Date: 12/19/12 12:26:17 AM]

The first, low-end 7000M parts were rebadges of last-generation 40nm VLIW5 GPUs (specifically Turks and Caicos). These were introduced right at the start of 2012 so that AMD would have a fresh product line for OEMs (who hate selling the same thing 2 years in a row). So the 7400M, 7500M, and 7600M were all rebadges.

A few months later AMD introduced mobile parts based on their new 28nm GCN GPUs; the 7700M, 7800M, and 7900M. These existed alongside the earlier VLIW5 GPUs.

The 8000M series will shape up similarly to the 7000M series. It will be a mix of 2012 GCN 1.0 GPUs (this announcement) and 2013 "Sea Islands" GCN 2.0 GPUs that will be launched a couple of quarters from now. As such, HD8550-8870M are all 28nm GCN 1.0. It's not a rebadge.

On the lower/mid-range end, the performance has increased 25-30% at the same price level to OEMs. The issue as usual is confusing naming convention. HD8870M actually replaces HD7670M on price, but you'd think it's meant to replace HD7870M on performance. That's why the comparison is tricky without having a price list. The end consumer will get much faster product though at the same price levels previously occupied by VLIW HD7000M parts.
2 2 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 12/18/12 11:23:01 AM]

Sun looks hot.
4 1 [Posted by: rauelius  | Date: 12/18/12 01:25:46 AM]

GCN 2.0 will be better refined towards Game engines over brute force (- extras) compute which AMD had in GCN 1.0.

PS I cant wait for the screw ups from AMD`s GPU team responsible for reviews, these guys have consistently failed to do anything decent ie Sending out cards that are HOT, SLOW and NOISY, best part is; these cards were never sold on the market LOL.

This whole team needs to be given the pink slips, especially the top end part of the team.
4 3 [Posted by: keysplayer  | Date: 12/18/12 06:08:12 AM]
- collapse thread

Ya, sending out HD7950 Boost / HD7970Ghz reference cards was the greatest disservice to that series. Not only did after-market versions ran cooler and quieter, but many of those versions came clocked even higher and priced below MSRP. Many reviewers later refused to do updated round-ups with after-market HD7950 boost/7970Ghz cards to investigate their overclocking, performance, noise and temperatures vs. reference versions AMD sent out.

NV on the other hand has a tendency to send cherry-picked after-market cards that boost through the roof to make them look better in reviews.
1 2 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 12/18/12 11:18:57 AM]

Sorry but the specs are a fake.
Inferior processor power, inferior core counts wake the fok up lmao. A good a fake would at least get the basics right. It was never supose to offer superior performance, it was merely suppose to be more power efficient, of course if they were smart then could have kept their high end product at same power so as to offer substantive performane improvement, it appears that... fok my keyboard just gave way
1 3 [Posted by: ericore  | Date: 12/18/12 06:57:22 PM]
- collapse thread

What? Those specs are directly from AMD. Those parts in the chart, excluding HD8870M, replace older 40nm VLIW-5 parts. Of course they are faster and more efficient since GCN 1.0 is made on 28nm.
2 2 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 12/18/12 11:04:13 PM]
First reviews are out. HD8790M is crushing HD7690M by 50-60%.

384 Shader 28nm HD8790M is more than 50% faster in this review vs. 40nm VLIW 480 Shader 7690M:

Very large differences at Tom's Hardware as well:
0 1 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 12/22/12 10:12:20 PM]


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