Chipmaker AMD has been riding a wave of success against rival Nvidia recently, with its Radeon graphics systems enjoying solid performance advantages over Nvidia offerings at similar price points. Now, AMD is lashing out in the mobile graphics arena, countering Nvidia’s recently-announced GeForce GTX 580M mobile graphics chip with its own AMD Radeon HD 6990M mobile graphics controller. And the company holds no punches, touting the system as the “world’s fastest single mobile graphics processor” boasting performance up to 25 percent faster than any other mobile graphics system…including Nvidia’s latest offering.
“There’s always been a belief that when it comes to mobile computing you need to make performance compromises,” said AMD GPU division corporate VP and general manager Matt Skynner, in a statement. “The AMD Radeon HD 6990M GPU, which not only packs AMD Eyefinity technology with unprecedented specs, also provides full Microsoft DirectX 11 and Stereo 3D support. Bottom line, this processor is epic and it’s here—now.”
The Radeon HD 6990M supports AMD Eyefinity technologies that can support up to six displays (via DisplayPort and some complicated adapting), AMD App acceleration technology to improve video playback and Web browsing (in IE9 and Firefox, at least), and AMD HD3D technology for users who want to pop on some shutter glasses and tap into 3D games and content. The Radeon HD 6990M supports DirectX 11, along with OpenGL 4.1, AMD’s CrossFireX technology for multi-GPU support, and can handle DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort, and VGA output. The system sports 1120 stream processing units, 56 texture units, and a GGDR5 memory interface.
Dell’s gaming-focused Alienware group is jumping on the Radeon HD 6990M, offering it as a configuration option alongside Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 580M on its Alienware M18x gamer notebook, with both single and dual-GPU options available. Eurocom and Clevo will also be offering systems with AMD RAdeon HD 6990M graphics. AMD doesn’t appear to offer a provision for dropping back to integrated graphics when users don’t need all the horsepower the Radeon HD 6990M offers—which could mean these systems chew through batteries quickly. Of course, anyone with a gamer notebook knows batteries are mainly there to enable users to quickly move from one outlet to another, rather than offer a true portable computing experience.