AMD Unveils New 28nm Radeon GPUs For Notebooks

Radeon series of GPUs.

The highest-end Radeon HD 7900M series has been dubbed by the chip maker as "the most technologically advanced" mobile GPUs it’s created to-date, touting an 850 MHz Engine Clock and 2 GB of GDDR5 Memory. The HD 7800M series is next in line, running an 800 MHz Engine Clock, while the lower-end HD 7700M runs at 650 MHz, AMD said.

All three chips are based on AMD’s Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture, meaning they employ a heterogeneous design that enables them to not only boost graphics performance, but traditional compute performance as well.

[Related: AMD To Acquire SeaMicro, Eyes Low-Power Server Market ]

But what really makes the new GPUs stand apart from their Radeon predecessors is AMD’s new Enduro technology. Designed to improve battery life, Enduro is a graphics switching technology that automatically alternates between AMD’S Radeon and integrated graphics cards, like its "A" or "E" series of APUs, depending on power demands. Put simply, Enduro enables a laptop to automatically power down a GPU when it’s not required, and to power it back up only when it is.

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What makes Enduro even more unique is that it can be used in notebooks running Intel processors, rather than AMD’s "A" or "E" series APUs. As long as one of the new Radeon chips is being used, the power-saving technology is compatible with Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate, Windows 7 Home Premium, and Windows 7 Home Basic, AMD said.

AMD also built the Radeon HD 7900M, HD 7800M and HD 7700M using its ZeroCore technology, which it said can power the chips down to a virtually zero-watt state when not being used.

In its first quarter earnings announcement last week, the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based chip maker reported bleak financials, with a net loss of $590 million and revenue of $1.59 billion, down two percent year-over-year. But AMD CEO Rory Read pointed to the company’s lucrative and fast-growing graphics segment as a future source of growth. Much of this growth, he said, can be attributed to the success of its Radeon series of GPUs.

To ensure continued success with its new Radeon HD 7900M, HD 7800M and HD 7700M series, which he said will power the majority of AMD notebook offerings moving forward, Read said he is looking to AMD channel partners for support.

"In Graphics, solid demand for our next-generation AMD Radeon 7000 graphics cards, particularly in the channel, drove a sequential GPU revenue increase,” Read said in the earnings call announcing the first-quarter results. "We are focused on growing the profitability of our graphics business by attacking and winning more channel business."