Mobility Radeon HD 5000 series brings DX11 to laptops

DirectX 11 graphics are coming soon to a notebook near you. In what must be some sort of record, AMD has gone from introducing the world’s first DX11 desktop graphics card to rolling out netbook-bound derivatives in the span of about three and a half months. The new Mobility Radeon HD 5000 series includes three different graphics chips and a whole lineup of products serving the enthusiast, performance, and mainstream markets.

Rather than introduce each model and its specifications in prose, we’ll let this handy chart (partly transcribed from AMD’s slide deck) do the honors:

  Mobility Radeon HD 5800 series Mobility Radeon HD 5700 and 5600 series Mobility Radeon HD 5400 series
Transistors 1.04 billion 626 million 242 million
SPs 800 400 80
Max. core clock 700 MHz 650 MHz 750 MHz
Peak shader arithmetic 1.12 TFLOPS 572 GFLOPS 120 GFLOPS
Max. memory rate 4 Gbps (GDDR5) 3.2 Gbps (GDDR5) 3.2 Gbps (GDDR5)
Memory bus 128-bit 128-bit 64-bit

AMD has based the Mobility Radeon HD 5800 series on the same 40-nm Juniper silicon as the desktop Radeon HD 5700 series. The Mobility 5700 and 5600 series are both based on Redwood, while the 5400 series is based on Cedar. Those last two 40-nm GPUs haven’t shown up on the desktop yet, but they will soon.

There’s no trace of Cypress here, though. AMD told us it developed that chip specifically for desktop cards like the Radeon HD 5870, and it’s basically too big and too hot for laptops.

This new naming scheme might sound like sacrilege to fans of the Mobility Radeon HD 4000 series, which matched model number series with the same GPUs as corresponding desktop products. (For instance, the RV770 GPU powered both the Mobility Radeon HD 4870 and the desktop Radeon HD 4870.) With the Mobility 5000 series, AMD is now playing the same branding game as Nvidia, whose mobile GPU nomenclature has gotten, shall we say, increasingly liberal.

On the performance side of things, the Mobility 5870 can purportedly outrun the old Mobility 4870 by about 10-30% at 1920×1200 in current games. That might seem a little counter-intuitive, since desktop Radeon HD 5770 and 4870 cards are pretty closely matched. However, AMD says none of its customers paired the Mobility 4870 with GDDR5 memory like the desktop product, with most opting instead for slower GDDR3. Also, presumably because it has a smaller, more power-efficient GPU, the Mobility 5870 lies closer to its desktop sibling in terms of clock rates. (For reference, the desktop Radeon HD 5770 runs at 850MHz with 4.8Gbps GDDR5.)

A Mobility Radeon HD 5800-series MXM module. Source: AMD.

Speaking of power efficiency, the new Mobility 5000 lineup features “improved engine and memory clock scaling and clock gating,” which helps lower power consumption at idle. AMD allows real-time switching between integrated and discrete graphics processors, too, so users can disable their discrete Radeons in order to get longer battery life. The switching technology supports both Intel and AMD platforms.

Other perks include Eyefinity hexa-display capability, which you’ll find on Mobility 5800-, 5700-, and 5600-series GPUs. Those who opt for Mobility 5400-series parts will be limited to quad-display setups, which still aren’t shabby by any stretch of the term. All of these GPUs also support up to 1GB of GDDR5 RAM, although you may see some of the lower-end parts with smaller amounts of DDR3 or DDR2 RAM strapped to them. The choice will likely be up to laptop makers.

What about availability? AMD briefed us on the new mobile Radeons last month, a couple of weeks before TSMC’s 40-nm yields finally stabilized, so we were curious if the yield problems would impact this line of products—and whether we could expect broad availability this quarter. AMD’s Asif Rehman told us, “We have some supply constrains in Q1, and our demand is much higher than anticipated . . . though we anticipate that in Q2 and following quarters, we should be able to improve upon our supply situation and be able to fully support all the demand.” That said, Rehman added that AMD had already shipped “many thousands” of Mobility Radeon HD 5800, 5700, 5600, and 5400 parts to its customers.

We had another question: does AMD plan to follow Nvidia’s lead and offer mobile graphics drivers directly? Rehman answered, “This is something that we are currently working on. I cannot give you any definite timeline in this regard, but definitely this is something that is in the pipeline, and we will announce it when we have support available and we have the full qualification done on all the systems and the GPUs.” Promising news, then, even if AMD is keeping a tight lid on the time frame.

Those who go shopping for a laptop later this year may see Mobility Radeon HD 5165 and 5145 graphics processors pop up in some spec sheets. No, those aren’t typos—but they’re not DirectX 11 mobile GPUs, either. Rather, the 5165 and 5145 are faster-clocked versions of 55-nm, DirectX 10.1 Mobility Radeon HD 4800 and 4600 GPUs, respectively. Although we surmised that these products were somehow tied to the 40-nm shortages, AMD said it created them before the yield issues cropped up. The firm’s partners simply wanted faster 55-nm parts with better brand names. Go figure.

Comments closed
    • ish718
    • 10 years ago

    “the Mobility 5870 can purportedly outrun the old Mobility 4870 by about 10-30% at 1920×1200 in current games.”
    Fail? Not to mention, the mobility 4870 only used GDDR3 memory.

    128-bit memory is pointless if you’re gaming at 1920×1200 even with GDDR5 memory. They should have atleast made it 192-bit or something.

    They say they’re focusing on power efficiency, the hell with that if you’re going to be gaming at 1920×1200.

    Unless Directx 11 games are going to be extremely optimized…
    O_O

    • FuturePastNow
    • 10 years ago

    I’d love to see the 5700/5600 series GPUs with 400SPs going into some laptops under $800. Pretty please?

    • crsh1976
    • 10 years ago

    So this begs the (indirect) question, what is Nvidia doing and when are they ever going to launch some DX11 hardware?

    EDIT: Found traces of them here: §[< http://www.techpowerup.com/112242/NVIDIA_GF100_Graphics_Card_Chugs_Along_at_CES.html<]§

    • jinjuku
    • 10 years ago

    Will these parts bitstream DTS-HD and Dolby-HD for Blu-Ray playback?

    • xtalentx
    • 10 years ago

    This is exactly what I was waiting for to replace my current laptop. Very excited for my tax return money now!

      • A_Pickle
      • 10 years ago

      Same. I just saw an ASUS that was unveiled at CES… has a Core i7 and a Mobility Radeon HD 5000-series card of some kind. I’m super psyched, I’ll bet these things have GREAT gaming battery life given their power consumption…

    • derFunkenstein
    • 10 years ago

    Mobile part name games are why we need references like notebookcheck.net. In trying to figure out what a mobile video chipset is REALLY capable of, I find it a very useful site.

      • JustAnEngineer
      • 10 years ago

      Agreed.

      There are just too many names for any sane person to keep track of.

    • lycium
    • 10 years ago

    a teraflop of programmable computing power in a (soon) common consumer laptop is just incredible… it’s running off a battery!

    • rUmX
    • 10 years ago

    You can’t blame them. The 5870 cards are HOT right now, simply because there’s no competition, and with all the rage and what not. AMD/ATI is doing all they can right now while they have the upper hand over Nvidia — and that means renaming cards.

    They should drop the model numbers by one hundred, then it would make a lot more sense. I have a hard time picturing the Mobility 5870 as a non-cypress chip.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 10 years ago

      If they drop the model numbers down by 100, it implies there’s going to be a significantly more powerful model in the same series.

      These are laptops. Not going to happen.

        • rUmX
        • 10 years ago

        There’s always going to be more powerful cards in the series. This “Mobility Radeon 5870” isn’t going to be the last one. Who says we won’t see a Mobility 5890 or a 5970? I was thinking they should have named it Mobility Radeon 5770, and then a few months down the road when they can improve on the 40nm process (or use an smaller process even) with tweaks here and there to the core or what not, we’d see a cut-down Cypress to the mobile world. There are people who’d buy a top end Core i7 laptop with Cypress for $2-3k + or more.

    • flip-mode
    • 10 years ago

    q[

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 10 years ago

      No, it’s not 4000s renamed. Read the article, silly goose.

      They’re still the new 40nm DX11 GPUs that use a lot less power and make far more sense for laptops.

      Something tells me you’re never going to see those 5100s, much as almost the entire 4000 series never actually materialized in more than one laptop.

      I get the idea that each OEM pretty much gets to make up their own card. They can’t be selling too many of the higher end ones.

        • TheEmrys
        • 10 years ago

        Might want to read the comment thoroughly…. you missed the jab at nvidia.

          • OneArmedScissor
          • 10 years ago

          Doh, I get it now. When are browsers going to come with sarcasm detectors?

            • flip-mode
            • 10 years ago

            Those are supposed to be installed on the user, but, there are so many versions that incompatibilities unavoidably arise.

    • dpaus
    • 10 years ago

    l[

      • Hattig
      • 10 years ago

      Corporate Laptop Outputs:

      1. Internal Display
      2. VGA output on laptop (projectors)
      3. Dock connector carries additional DVI signal
      4. Dock connector carries additional VGA signal
      5. Dock connector carries a HDMI/DisplayPort signal
      6. Laptop HDMI or DisplayPort output

        • dpaus
        • 10 years ago

        Works for me 🙂

        • Flying Fox
        • 10 years ago

        The current crop of ThinkPads can already go up to 4 with the USB out connector IIRC.

      • UberGerbil
      • 10 years ago

      DisplayPort can daisychain displays; you should be able to run four off one DP port at least (subject to total resolution, etc).

    • Anonymous Coward
    • 10 years ago

    It seems inevitable that good things will be corrupted by money. That said, I fail to see how 51xx sounds better than 48xx and 46xx.

      • Farting Bob
      • 10 years ago

      Because its 300 more?

        • dpaus
        • 10 years ago

        This! Is! Sparta!

      • ltcommander.data
      • 10 years ago

      If the Mobility HD 5165 is a higher clocked Mobility HD 48xx and both the Mobility HD 48xx and the new Mobility HD 58xx series have 800 SPs with the Mobility HD 48xx having a 256-bit memory controller, it’s quite possible that Mobility HD 5165 can match the performance of even the higher end 5xxx series despite the low model number which will only add to the confusion.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 10 years ago

        Well what’s poopy about it is they are sort of pulling an NV in that you won’t be able to easily tell what features a GPU has based upon its model number. AMD has done very well for some time to not rename parts from older generations so that there was feature consistency for a whole series but with these renamed mobile GPUs they are like NV and their mixing up of features and product series name.

          • BlackStar
          • 10 years ago

          This is not the first time ATi renames parts of an older generation. Remember the 9200 (DX8 instead of DX9), X300 (SM2.0a instead of SM2.0b), X1200 (SM2.0b instead of SM3.0) and now the 51×0 (SM4.1 instead of SM5.0).

          To their credit this only happens on the lowest-end parts and model numbers, which is a far cry from Nvidia’s insane naming scheme.

            • MadManOriginal
            • 10 years ago

            Yes I’m well aware of those parts. You did not read carefully because I said q[

          • Anonymous Coward
          • 10 years ago

          I’d rate this as more inexplicably stupid than what nVidia does, because now 51xx is going to be a lot faster, a lot hotter, and more expensive than 54xx (and maybe other models). I can’t understand what they were thinking at all.

          • OneArmedScissor
          • 10 years ago

          Don’t worry about it. How many laptops do you really think you’re going to see with 5100s?

          AMD’s real problem here is no different from normal: having way too many variations of mobile cards that no one ends up using, which just confuse everyone by showing up in the news and never on store shelves.

    • potatochobit
    • 10 years ago

    this is very offensive to me
    i hate rebadged items and they are cheapening the 4xxx series cards by doing so which were already had great chips

    I dont want to have to look at wikipedia either every time i want to buy something to make sure im not buying a piece of garbage with an i’m cool sticker

      • JrezIN
      • 10 years ago

      I have to agree… ATi/AMD just lost an advantage to nVIDIA parts. I’ll probably not recommend this ones over nVIDIA like I did with mobility 4xxx series.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 10 years ago

      That’s blowing this way out of proportion. You act as if you could end up buying a card with a high model number and get something slower than the last generation’s.

      They’re all faster than their equivalent of the last series, and they all work better for laptops.

      The mobility series was never identical to the desktop series to begin with.

        • Xaser04
        • 10 years ago

        The HD4850m, HD4870m*, HD4670m & HD4650 were all identical to their desktop counterparts bar clock speeds.

        * available with either GDDR5 or GDDR3

        The HD4830 and HD4860 were the odd ones out at they had more in common with the desktop HD4770 cards (640SP, 128bit memory bus with either GDDR3/GDDR5)

        The laptop HD45XX (and 4330) series are just desktop 43XX cards, again feature set wise identical.

        I think the biggest problem we are seeing with this new generation is both the disconnect between desktop naming scheme and laptop naming scheme (Laptop H5870 doesn’t match the desktop HD5870 unlike the previous gen) and the renaming of the HD4850/ 4870 to product numbers that bear no resemblence to their performance (The 54XX series is a bigger number but will perform far worse).

        At least it isn’t as bad as the Nvidia mobile lineup, that lot is just a mess.

          • OneArmedScissor
          • 10 years ago

          They were not at all exactly the same.

          The mobile 4870 isn’t even as good as the desktop 4850. That’s just as off as the desktop 5700s being called 5800s, if you ask me.

          The mobile 4850 has significantly less memory bandwidth, even though the desktop 4850 already had an issue with that.

          The 4600s and lower were relatively close, but that’s about it. It’s the same deal here. The more powerful laptop cards don’t match the desktop cards.

          It’s always been that way and it’s always going to be that way, for obvious reasons.

          The mobile 5800s should be good for 1920×1200. There’s just no reason to put a card with 1,600 SPs in a laptop.

          They could have called the high end cards 5700s, but as I said before, considering their naming scheme, that implies there’s going to be a significantly more poweful card, when there won’t be.

            • Xaser04
            • 10 years ago

            r[

      • UberGerbil
      • 10 years ago

      Well, unless you’re blindly expecting fairly arbitrary model numbering to encode an awful lot of information, you’re probably going /[

    • ltcommander.data
    • 10 years ago

    I guess this means that no ATI DX11 notebooks will have double precision float capability which is disappointing considering their previous gen high-end notebook GPUs could do it. It’s interesting that Juniper (RV840) doesn’t support DP floats while it’s immediate predecessor the RV740 used in the Radeon 4770 and Mobility Radeon 4830 and 4860 were DP float capable.

      • stmok
      • 10 years ago

      You posted the EXACT same comment in the Anandtech article feedback, minus a paragraph.

        • dpaus
        • 10 years ago

        So he knows how to use cut-n-paste. Perfectly appropriate on International Programmer’s Day.

        • ltcommander.data
        • 10 years ago

        I’m consulting 2 knowledgeable websites on the off chance I’ll be pleasantly surprised on DP support.

          • UberGerbil
          • 10 years ago

          You’re dong GPGPU computing that requires dp…. on a laptop?

    • ew
    • 10 years ago

    *[

      • Skrying
      • 10 years ago

      What are you talking about? Currently ATI doesn’t offer drivers directly to the mobile market at all.

        • Firestarter
        • 10 years ago

        Which would be my #1 reason to switch to Nvidia. I’ve had so much problems just finding a proper driver for my Ati Mobility that I cannot with good conscience recommend it to anyone until AMD fixes this.

          • Xaser04
          • 10 years ago

          Ati Desktop Drivers + ATI Mobility Modder = The latest drivers directly for your mobility card (not integrated unfortunately).

          Currently running Cat 9.12s on my HD4850 Mobility.

            • A_Pickle
            • 10 years ago

            How the hell did you find a laptop with a Mobility Radeon HD 4850? I would’ve killed for one, but apparently nvidia sexed up all the laptop manufacturers and I wasn’t going to shrug and say, “Well, a 9600 GT should be just as good…”

            I’m running a Mobility Radeon X1900. I don’t want to switch to Nvidia cards, but… when I can get a laptop that can turn off the discrete GPU to use Intel’s garbage (for it’s one strong suit: power consumption)… then I don’t see much of a choice. Is there ANYTHING in ATI’s hand that can do that?

            • Xaser04
            • 10 years ago

            Advent 6555 (which is a MSI GT725 with a different badge).

            I am in the UK though, as far as I am aware Advent is a PC world (UK) own brand.

            • Firestarter
            • 10 years ago

            This works, but the vast majority is still bugged. I’ve tried at least 5 drivers this way and I still haven’t found one that just works. They’re all bugged one way or another.

            The ATI provided XP drivers worked perfectly for me, but with Vista/7 their support for laptops tanked like the Titanic.

            • A_Pickle
            • 10 years ago

            That’s so weird, man. I’m the only one that I know of with a Mobility Radeon X1900, a card that’s now relegated to legacy status and it works brilliantly with the modded drivers. Seriously, I’m sold to ATI’s stuff precisely /[

        • ew
        • 10 years ago

        Ah, I didn’t know that. They do offer drivers for older products and that’s all I’ve had recent experience with.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 10 years ago

    booo 128-bit bus. (yes, I know it’s on GDDR5 RAM)

      • Meadows
      • 10 years ago

      If you know it’s GDDR5, then why bother booing?

        • eitje
        • 10 years ago

        If you’re just going to question his actions, why bother questioning?

        You should at least provide some value to the statement, like so.

          • SomeOtherGeek
          • 10 years ago

          Why answer his question, if you knew the answer? Just playing the word game.

          This is some serious shit! ATI resigns supreme! This is going blow everything out of the water/laptop. Maybe I can use it do my work for me?

            • VILLAIN_xx
            • 10 years ago

            Why answer the questions with questions? Then why question the answers that bring more questions? Question questioning and answer nothing with questions and then …. what the hell are we talking about again?

            • swampfox
            • 10 years ago

            Great post. Reminds me of “Who’s on first?”

            (Oh, and I’m not adding anything to this conversation either… should I ask a question?)

            • Meadows
            • 10 years ago

            ATI _[

            • blubje
            • 10 years ago

            maybe some at nvidia would rejoyce. having another competitor taking sales from Intel might not be bad.

            • Meadows
            • 10 years ago

            You do realise that you have both missed the typo I pointed out AND made one yourself, right?

            • SomeOtherGeek
            • 10 years ago

            Yes, I noticed after you pointed it out and just laughed. That was 2 days ago. But thanks anyway. I liked your comment, so I didn’t bother with it.

            • Meadows
            • 10 years ago

            I was talking to blubje, so shoo.

      • lycium
      • 10 years ago

      this is a laptop, lower bus width == better

        • derFunkenstein
        • 10 years ago

        dumb question time: does bus width have anything to do with power consumption?

          • JustAnEngineer
          • 10 years ago

          Perhaps. More importantly, bus width affects the number of memory chips needed and the length and width and number of layers needed for the printed circuit board. This affects cost, size and weight.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 10 years ago

      AMD said that the previous 800 stream processor parts (Radeon 4870, for example) were bandwidth-rich, relative to their computing power. I don’t think putting a 256-bit bus would improve performance all that much compared to the associated cost and die space (for what I’m guessing to be 2 more 64-bit memory controllers) requirements.

        • ssidbroadcast
        • 10 years ago

        Yeah, 256-bit is overkill. I was thinking something like 192-bit wide bus. Then again, I’m not an engineer. A 192-bit bus probably would not make sense, or would result in sacrificing too much. (in other words: I bitch, but someone else much smarter than me probably already meticulously weighed the cost and benefits of a wider bus)

    • Skrying
    • 10 years ago

    I hardly consider this the same as what Nvidia has done with the model naming. The model numbers match up with the desktop parts in terms of where they fit into the market and how they perform in relevance to each other. That is nothing at all like Nvidia which has simply slapped new names on existing parts. All of these new AMD chips ARE new chips.

      • SomeOtherGeek
      • 10 years ago

      I agree. If you have a laptop with a 5800 card, it is a no brainer. nVidia naming schemes still hurts my head.

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