AMD is unveiling its fastest graphic card, the Radeon 7970, two days after rolling out 13 new APUs for notebooks and desktops.
Advanced Micro Devices is using the
week before Christmas to show off new processor and graphics products for
mainstream PC users as well as enthusiasts and gamers.
AMD announced Dec. 22 its new Radeon HD
7970 graphics card for desktops, which officials said is the fastest graphics
processing unit (GPU) card and the only one based on a 28-nanometer
Code-named "Tahiti," the GPU reportedly
is faster than Nvidia's speediest GPU, the GeForce GTX 580, and sports AMD's
new Graphics Core Next architecture. According to a Dec. 22 review by AnandTech
, the GPU is between 5 and 35
percent faster than Nvidia's graphics card.
Reports of the Radeon 7970 had been
circulating in the media for several weeks. AMD officials have said the GPU was
designed as a heterogeneous type of chip, one that is as suited for computing
as it is for graphics. Traditional GPUs have been built with one or the other
AMD officials said the new Graphics
Core Next architecture will significantly improve both computing and gaming
capabilities. It also supports PCI Express 3.0 for greater performance scaling
and AMD's CrossFire multi-GPU technology. Support for AMD's App Acceleration
technology means improved high-definition video images and better performance
for mainstream computing applications, while Eyefinity support will enable
users to connect up to six displays to a single GPU, a key consideration for
gamers and high-performance computing users.
AMD also is looking to ensure high-energy
efficiency while it ramps up the performance. The Radeon 7970 GPU supports
AMD's PowerTune and ZeroCore Power technologies. PowerTune lets users essentially
crank up the performance of the GPU while staying within the chip's power
envelope by enabling the graphics chip to find unused power capabilities and
AMD's ZeroCore Power lets the GPU idle
at very low power.
AMD's Radeon 7970 is scheduled to be
available starting Jan. 9, 2012, with pricing starting at $549.
The new GPU was introduced two days
after AMD unveiled its Fusion A-Series accelerated processing units (APUs) for
mainstream PCs. The chip vendor rolled out eight new laptop APUs and five new
desktop chips, all of which offer faster speeds and better graphics performance
than those first unveiled in June.
The chips are the latest of the Fusion
APUs that AMD first introduced at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in January
and that offer the CPU and high-level graphics capabilities on the same piece
of silicon. The enhanced A-Series APUs offer two to four x86 CPU cores with up
to 400 Radeon GPU cores, according to AMD.
Most of the new chips include AMD's
Turbo Core technology, which helps users boost core performance without impacting
the APU's power efficiency.
The new APUs, which will start hitting
the market over the next few weeks, are an indication that AMD apparently has
moved beyond the supply problems
that cropped up this fall, when
the company had to cut its third-quarter financial forecasts due to problems by
manufacturing partner Globalfoundries that limited the initial yield of the
32nm A-Series "Llano" APUs.
AMD officials have said the Fusion APUs
have become the fastest ramping products in company history. Over the course of
the year, the chip maker has introduced APUs for such markets as low-power PCs
and embedded devices.
AMD in October also introduced its new FX chips based on its "Bulldozer" multicore architecture
The chips offer four to eight cores but do not include integrated graphics and
are aimed at high-end systems for extreme gaming, HD content creation, and
multimedia for PC and digital enthusiasts, according to the company.