AMD Radeon HD 8000M laptop graphics cards coming in first quarter of 2013

Summary:Four GPUs have been detailed, all using the company's 28nm Graphics Core Next architecture and promising the usual performance and efficiency boosts over their predecessors.

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Mobile gamers now have a potential reason to pay attention to CES 2013 in January. It appears likely that AMD will be officially rolling out its new Radeon HD 8000M laptop GPUs at the annual trade show, after having just revealed four lines from the series.

The quartet will all be using AMD's 28nm Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture, rather than the legacy 40nm process some of the Radeon HD 7000M lineup was saddled with. Three of the GPUs -- the 8500M, 8600M, and 8700M -- feature 384 stream processors and 1000MHz memory clock speed for DDR3 versions and 1125MHz for GDDR5, but differ when it comes to core clock speeds. The 8500M maxes out at 650MHz, the 8600M can go to 775MHz, and the 8700M's engine speed has a range of 650MHz-850MHz. 

As you might expect, the flagship 8800M has more robust specs, the biggest being 640 stream processors instead of 384. According to Engadget, the GCN architecture means the cards will include features like ZeroCore (reduces power to unused cores) and PowerTune (for "smart" clock speed increases). They also support DirectX 11.1. As always, AMD promises improved performance and power efficiency from the new GPUs, though we'll need to wait for independent benchmarking before we know just how they compare to Nvidia's current offerings.

One system has already emerged with one of the new GPUs: an Asus Vivobook U38DT notebook popped up on a German online site sporting the Radeon HD 8555M. No doubt there were will be plenty more laptops using the new 8000M-series cards being launched at CES next month.

Topics: Laptops, Hardware

About

Sean Portnoy started his tech writing career at ZDNet nearly a decade ago. He then spent several years as an editor at Computer Shopper magazine, most recently serving as online executive editor. He received a B.A. from Brown University and an M.A. from the University of Southern California.

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