TechSpot

AMD mobile graphics switching "Enduro" technology has problems...

By Arris
Sep 5, 2012
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  1. Recently this has come to light during my own research into mobile GPUs that are currently available on the market as I've been considering replacing my aged i5-520M laptop with 5650M GPU. I had even placed an order and paid for a machine but after reading much about the issue (none of it from AMD themselves other than "For those with 7970M - Enduro issues are also being investigated;" by http://twitter.com/CatalystCreator back on the 9th of August 2012) I cancelled before the unit was completed and shipped. This is mostly a problem for Clevo 170EM/150EM based laptops which have no way of bypassing the Enduro graphics switching unlike Alienware products which have a hardware switch.

    Basically there is something very wrong with this immature technology. Users are finding under utilisation of their cards (for example Battlefield 3 64 person multiplayer fps dips with lower recorded GPU utilisation) when it should be going flat out. Even worse is when the graphical settings are lowered to try and allow for more fps to be pumped out by the GPU the situation does not improve. It is as if the Enduro tech is deciding that the lower workload required at lower resolution or graphical settings means it can lower utilisation further. This means that someone with FPS issues at Ultra settings can drop to Medium settings and not see any improvement in output.


    Threads about this:
    http://www.rage3d.com/board/showthread.php?t=33993055
    http://forums.guru3d.com/showthread.php?t=366880
    http://hardforum.com/archive/index.php/t-1709810.html
    And many others..

    Facebook awareness page:
    https://www.facebook.com/Amd7000mEnduroUtilizationAwareness?ref=ts


    Many owners of systems with 7970M graphics cards are now concerned with AMD's reluctance to comment on the problems that they are just going to try and sweep it under the carpet and move on to the next generation of GPU with the next generation of Enduro, perhaps one that works. No one is exactly sure if the problem is even something that can be overcome with a software/driver or whether it is a hardware issue that the Clevo based laptops are stuck with.
     
  2. Clintre

    Clintre TS Rookie

    The silence from AMD on this is deafening. I honestly can't in good conscience recommend anything AMD related unless they get this situation fixed. The fact that they have tried to silence other manufacturers on forums says a lot. I would feel much better if they were just open about it and said what they are doing to fix the problem.
     
  3. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,944   +728

    Never fear! In answer to the problem, AMD has released it's newest power point slide deck, and turned the key on their wind up toy de facto PR mouthpiece, Anandtech...so salvation is at hand...sometime
    .
    Interesting read. Lots of future forward looking cutting edge bullet points, a heaping of scorn on OEM's, and the promise of a utopian mobile future!
     
    Arris likes this.
  4. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 4,601   +110

    Yay! cutting edge bullet points are my favourite. Do they have a side of some tasty "promise of overly optimistic but enticing performance increases that they'll probably not deliver on" to go with that?

    Thanks for the link DBZ!
     
    dividebyzero likes this.
  5. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,944   +728

    You've wrecked the surprise for the next power point slideshow!
     
  6. foxrox

    foxrox TS Member Posts: 20

    Enduro issues aside, being crippled with an AMD GPU is not something Clevo-based laptops have an exclusive claim to. AMD driver support is more abysmal than ever. The 7970/7970M still does not have proper driver support, even on systems that do not employ the garbage called Enduro.
     
  7. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 4,601   +110

    I believe they are working on it. Some positive driver information has been announced so hopefully at least the Enduro utilisation issues should be getting better/solved soon. But still kinda glad I eventually opted for a GTX680M in the end.
     
  8. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,286   +232

    My life is full of conflicting opinions on AMD and mobile computing lately, primarily due to my recent experiences with a (work provided) Dell laptop and the Radeon HD 6630M GPU it contains. The 6630 is surprisingly capable paired with the i5 in this machine, slogs through SolidWorks pretty well, and does some current gen gaming at decent detail / resolution / framerates. I was actually very pleasantly surprised with how well this mobile GPU behaves.

    But, on the flip side, the ongoing mobile driver support is horrid. Thanks, in no small part, to the "Switchable Graphics" initiative, which appears to be the original attempt at an answer to nVidia's Optimus technology, and now Enduro has been brought in. Many are in my boat, where we apparently can't update to the newer revised and much improved AMD drivers, because they are incompatible with Switchable Graphics. The drivers have to come from the manufacturer. And Dell could care less about keeping their drivers updated - it's not financially viable to keep chasing AMD's improvements and churning out custom driver sets for all of their products.

    I'm lucky enough to have a very stable driver set at the moment, but the original enticing promise of Switchable Graphics has long since tarnished beyond repair. I am just fearful that adopters of Enduro will suffer the same fate, and find themselves at the losing end of a nonexistent update scenario.
     
    foxrox likes this.
  9. foxrox

    foxrox TS Member Posts: 20

    Those are very valid concerns, Vrmithrax. It is not feasible for any OEM to chase driver updates, nor should it be their responsibility. If AMD was not planning on providing proper support through reference drivers they should not be peddling the product. Expecting any OEM to provide ongoing driver updates would be just as ludicrous as expecting them to provide all of the security and stability updates from Microsoft Windows. Microsoft supports its products and AMD should as well.
     
    Vrmithrax likes this.


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