AMD announces Radeon HD 6000M mobile GPUs

— 6:00 AM on January 4, 2011

As the Consumer Electronics Show looms, AMD has decided to give some new mobile graphics processors an early launch. Teased as the Vancouver series in November, the Radeon HD 6000M series brings forth three newly minted GPUs, code-named Blackcomb, Whistler, and Seymour, alongside three recycled GPUs from the Mobility Radeon HD 5000 series. All in all, we're looking at a fresh top-to-bottom lineup:

Product Floating-point
SPs Memory
bus width
Memory type Transistors UVD3
Radeon HD 6900M Series 1.31 TFLOPs 960 256-bit DDR3/GDDR5 1.7B Yes
Radeon HD 6800M Series 1.12 TFLOPs 800 128-bit DDR3/GDDR5 1.04B No
Radeon HD 6700M Series 696 GFLOPs 480 128-bit DDR3/GDDR5 715M Yes
Radeon HD 6500M Series 520 GFLOPs 400 128-bit DDR3/GDDR5 626M No
Radeon HD 6400M Series 256 GFLOPs 160 64-bit DDR3/GDDR5 370M Yes
Radeon HD 6300M Series 120 GFLOPs 80 64-bit DDR3/GDDR5 242M No

In case you're wondering which are which, the real newcomers bear 6900M, 6700M, and 6400M model numbers. They're still based on 40-nm process technology, just like the desktop 6000-series cards, but they feature the new UVD3 video decoding block, tessellation efficiency improvements, better texture filtering quality, and purportedly superior general-purpose computing performance than last year's Manhattan series (which is returning for an encore in the Radeon HD 6800M, 6500M, and 6300M).

We're not talking about a Manhattan re-hash here, though. AMD boasts that all of the new mobile Radeons support GDDR5 memory, for one, and it notes that this generation features more PowerPlay states, which should help keep power use in check and extend battery life. HDMI 1.4 support has made it into all of the new 6000-series mobile GPUs, as well.

One glaring omission in the 6000M series is a seamless switchable graphics technology comparable to Nvidia's Optimus—something AMD has yet to implement. When we inquired about the subject, we were told that AMD does have something along those lines coming "soon," and that it will be supported by 6000M GPUs. Better late than never, I suppose.

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