by Anton Shilov
12/17/2012 | 11:35 PM
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.