AMD unveils its fastest mobile GPU yet, the Radeon HD 6990M

By on July 12, 2011, 7:00 AM

Just a couple of weeks ago Nvidia announced its latest graphics chip, the GeForce GTX 580M, with the promise of delivering the best mobile gaming performance available anywhere. Well, AMD is now ready to challenge that claim. The company today announced the Radeon HD 6990M and is touting it as the new king of the hill.

Despite the name, the new Radeon is not based on the latest the Cayman architecture, nor it's packing dual-GPUs in a single card solution like its desktop counterpart. Instead, it features a full Barts core with all 1120 shaders enabled -- as opposed to 960 shaders for the HD 6970M, AMD's top mobile part prior to today's announcement. Core clock speeds have also been bumped to 715MHz, from 680MHz on the 6970M, while memory bandwidth remains the same at 115.2GB/s. The HD 6990M features 2GB of 3600MHz GDDR5 memory, instead of 1GB on the HD 6970M.

The closest desktop equivalent for the 6990M would be the HD 6870, which comes clocked 25% higher at 900MHz. In terms of features you get the now-standard DX11 support as well as HD3D (stereoscopic 3D) and OpenGL 4.1 support.

According to AMD's own internal benchmarks, the 6990M outperforms the Nvidia GeForce GTX 580M by about 20% on 3DMark Vantage and 3DMark11, and is anywhere from 5% to 20% faster in a bunch of games. AMD's presentation didn't include any battery life numbers, and considering its latest GPU doesn't support the same sort of automatic graphics switching as Nvidia's Optimus, it's likely that the green team still has the upper hand in this area.

AMD says the 6990M will be available starting today in the Alienware M18x, in both single and CrossFire configurations, while Clevo will also support the HD 6990M in their P170HM, P150HM, and X7200 notebooks.




User Comments: 18

Got something to say? Post a comment
chaboi390 said:

Ummm, i wont see the point of this except for competition.... if u want a gaming PC just by a desktop with proper hardware instead of wasting valuable cash on something that wouldn't even last you hour.

Guest said:

The closest desktop equivalent for the 6990M would be the HD 6870, which comes clocked 25% higher at 900MHz. In terms of features you get the now-standard DX11 support as well as HD3D (stereoscopic 3D) and *OpenCL 4.1* support.
OpenCL -> OpenGL

Guest said:

Muppets. The latest version of OpenCL on the market is 1.1

herpaderp said:

chaboi390 said:

Ummm, i wont see the point of this except for competition.... if u want a gaming PC just by a desktop with proper hardware instead of wasting valuable cash on something that wouldn't even last you hour.

If you even have to question why something like this is made then it clearly isn't something that would be marketed to you....so why even post your thoughts. Companies will keep building mobile hardware because clearly, there's demand because they keep making money on it.

Staff
Jos Jos said:

@Guests: fixed, thanks

fpsgamerJR62 said:

Even though the HD 6990M is clocked much lower than its desktop counterpart, the HD 6870, a pair of these mobile GPUs in Crossfire configuration would make for an awesome mobile gaming experience although your wallet is going to take a beating and the notebooks that will host these GPUs will likely stretch the definition of portable. It would also be nice to see a head-to-head showdown between the GTX 580M and the HD 6990M in both single and dual GPU configurations to see which one is really the fastest mobile GPU.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

chaboi390 said:

Ummm, i wont see the point of this except for competition.... if u want a gaming PC just by a desktop with proper hardware instead of wasting valuable cash on something that wouldn't even last you hour.

Seems there are always people that can't think outside their own situations. So, again, what about people like me, who enjoy gaming, but spend more than half of their year travelling and in hotel rooms? Buying a desktop gaming rig would be more of a waste of my valuable cash than a gaming laptop, since I can't use that desktop on the road.

There are a wide variety of reasons and situations where gaming laptops make sense - if there was no reason for them, there would not be so many on the market. So, "the point" of hardware like this is only lost on people who have no reason to consider mobile gaming systems.

Guest said:

Ya, but what's the hash rate?

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Vrmithrax said:

chaboi390 said:

Ummm, i wont see the point of this except for competition.... if u want a gaming PC just by a desktop with proper hardware instead of wasting valuable cash on something that wouldn't even last you hour.

Seems there are always people that can't think outside their own situations. So, again, what about people like me, who enjoy gaming, but spend more than half of their year travelling and in hotel rooms? Buying a desktop gaming rig would be more of a waste of my valuable cash than a gaming laptop, since I can't use that desktop on the road.

There are a wide variety of reasons and situations where gaming laptops make sense - if there was no reason for them, there would not be so many on the market. So, "the point" of hardware like this is only lost on people who have no reason to consider mobile gaming systems.

I agree but surely its not really any use if the battery last an hour or so? I mean, I couldn't complete Half-Life 2 in the time it would take for the battery to die, hell I can't think of many games except the orginal Portal that I could complete before the battery dies?

Xero07 said:

burty117 said:

Vrmithrax said:

chaboi390 said:

Ummm, i wont see the point of this except for competition.... if u want a gaming PC just by a desktop with proper hardware instead of wasting valuable cash on something that wouldn't even last you hour.

Seems there are always people that can't think outside their own situations. So, again, what about people like me, who enjoy gaming, but spend more than half of their year travelling and in hotel rooms? Buying a desktop gaming rig would be more of a waste of my valuable cash than a gaming laptop, since I can't use that desktop on the road.

There are a wide variety of reasons and situations where gaming laptops make sense - if there was no reason for them, there would not be so many on the market. So, "the point" of hardware like this is only lost on people who have no reason to consider mobile gaming systems.

I agree but surely its not really any use if the battery last an hour or so? I mean, I couldn't complete Half-Life 2 in the time it would take for the battery to die, hell I can't think of many games except the orginal Portal that I could complete before the battery dies?

Laptops are still many times preferable even with low battery life because they are lighter and only have one cord. Even plugged in you can easily game in your room, in your living room, or at a friends house/lan party without nearly as much as effort as changing the location of your desktop

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

AMD's presentation didn't include any battery life numbers, and considering its latest GPU doesn't support the same sort of automatic graphics switching as Nvidia's Optimus, it's likely that the green team still has the upper hand in this area.

This also needs to be 'clarified' as Radeon based notebooks also support graphics switching, e.g. this DV6 6011TX I am typing on right now, have Radeon 6770M with SNB QM2630 processor, and as soon as you pull out the power cord it will immediately/automatically give you choice to change the graphics from discrete option to IG on SNB. Even the battery life on SNB/IG is very respectable i.e. 4:30-5:00 hours range while websurfing/using excel or word or powerpoint etc.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

burty117 said:

I agree but surely its not really any use if the battery last an hour or so? I mean, I couldn't complete Half-Life 2 in the time it would take for the battery to die, hell I can't think of many games except the orginal Portal that I could complete before the battery dies?

Can't say it's an ideal situation, by any means. But sometimes battery life isn't the main issue. My time on the road has very few occasions where I'm not able to plug in. I'm more concerned with having the graphics push during my down time (like nights in hotels). The nVidia Optimus technology is great for road warriors who need to do graphics-light work on battery and game on their off hours - it uses the power sipping integrated GPU for light work stuff, and the heavy GPU for games. Hoping that AMD can pair this new mobile unit with their Fusion APUs and do something similar - even having the ability to manually switch off/on the discrete GPU could be ideal for many of us run & gun gamers.

chaboi390 said:

@Vrmithrax, @herpaderp

Excuse me, I think we got off on the wrong foot, I'm not trying to troll this article or anything but in logical sense having a gpu like that in a laptop is great and all, but looking through "Idk" a Screen less than <20" inches, does all that detail really seems necessary (correct me if I'm wrong) and shouldn't we be seeing a revolutionary change to laptops than evolutionary in graphics wise......

Guest said:

Alienware 17x laptop:

Single-GPU options:

1. HD6970M (about as fast as a GTX485M, or 10-15% slower than GTX580M) = + $250 USD

2. HD6990M (at least as fast as the GTX580M) = + $300 USD

3. GTX580M = + $600 USD

Alienware 18x laptop:

1. Dual HD6990M = + $500 USD

2. Dual GTX580M = + $1,200 USD

NV pricing <-- Huge FAIL! The choice couldn't have been clearer (unless you are a fanboi).

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Guest said:

Alienware 17x laptop:

Single-GPU options:

1. HD6970M (about as fast as a GTX485M, or 10-15% slower than GTX580M) = + $250 USD

2. HD6990M (at least as fast as the GTX580M) = + $300 USD

3. GTX580M = + $600 USD

Alienware 18x laptop:

1. Dual HD6990M = + $500 USD

2. Dual GTX580M = + $1,200 USD

NV pricing <-- Huge FAIL! The choice couldn't have been clearer (unless you are a fanboi).

Not really, the Nvidia setup most probably takes alot less power (at least, when not using the GPU) and therefore they can increase the price a huge amount.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Not really, the Nvidia setup most probably takes alot less power (at least, when not using the GPU) and therefore they can increase the price a huge amount.

I am not sure how you can confine this characteristics simply to nVidia solutions. In my previous post I mentioned that DV6 I own have dual GPU setup, you can easily see the specs of it in my profile. I can switch to discrete or SNB IG at any time.

Guest said:

Less power? You are joking right. You can't game on a laptop with an HD6970M/GTX580M (nevermind CF/SLI versions) from the battery for more than 1 hour anyway. People who spend $1500+ on gaming laptops couldn't care AT ALL about power consumption. The only way you would care about power consumption in this case is if it severely impacted GPU/laptop temperatures. Of course AMD GPUs run cooler than NV counterparts so this point is also irrelevant.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Less power? You are joking right. You can't game on a laptop with an HD6970M/GTX580M (nevermind CF/SLI versions) from the battery for more than 1 hour anyway. People who spend $1500+ on gaming laptops couldn't care AT ALL about power consumption

True enough to a degree I think. Most of the people I know with desktop replacement laptops (~17" tend to use them either for LAN's because their desktop is a full-tower, and more often than not pretty heavy, or for gaming when they travel on business- hotels and motels I've used don't tend charge for power usage.

The pricing difference between the 580M and 6990M is pretty screwed up though. It will be interesting to see what (if any) pricing adjustments are made now that the 6990M has launched.

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.