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So out of curiosity, how many years ago would this have been a top of the line desktop video card?
Good question. Some stuff, like the 4GB of VRAM, make it top of the line now, while other stuff make it ~a year to a year and a half old.
I think it's settled than, a 16" laptop with this graphics and some Ivy and I'll be a happy camper.
HD7970 M is basically an HD7870. This card will beat HD7970M by 15-20%. So its performance is going to be closer to an HD7950/GTX580 on the desktop. It will easily outperform cards such as GTX570/HD6970.
A 7970M is closer to a 7850 but running at 7770 performance.
The GT550M in my Dell L702X is 128bit, 40nm, has 144 Cuda cores and the stock GPU clock was 475mhz. (I run it at 550mhz and I haven't seen my GPU temps go over 65c) Great performing GPU when paired with my i5-2430M.
If buying a laptop for 900p/1080p gaming I would go no lower then the GT 630M. Just my 02.