The tussle between AMD and NVIDIA has erupted once again, both jockeying for position at the top of the Video Card heap. With marketing departments loaded and ready to fire at ten paces the great GPU – Graphics Procesing Unit – race starts a new. Two weeks ago Nvidia announced the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580M was the fastest mobile graphics processor on the market, AMD not to take such claims lightly has this week announced the AMD Radeon HD 6990M, claiming to be up to 25% faster than the competition. Will NVIDIA have a comeback, we will all have to wait and see.
AMD’s marketing department would like us to highlight its latest catch phrase technologies, things like EYEFinity, a technology built into AMD’s new chips that allows 6 displays to be connected and used as one continuous display. It does look spectacular for gaming, full video surround, immersive. HD3D is AMD’s take on integrating 3D glasses for 3D movies and to give those first person shooters head ducking realism. App Acceleration cuts CPU usage by shifting application work loads to the GPU, using the math’s crunching power to make easy work of applications like video production and photo editing. AMD PowerPlay™ power management technology with dynamic power management with low power idle state should stop this GPU requiring a nuclear power station to operate.
Here at Highpants we have far too much pride to bow down to such marketing demands, instead we would like to turn your attention to the hard numbers, the HD6990M contains 1120 Stream Processing Units, out of the box it runs at 715 MHz – clock speed – which provides for up to 1.6 TeraFLOPS – 1.6 trillion calculations per second -, that’s enough grunt to lift a bus. In 2000 a computer capable of 1 TeraFLOP would have cost $1,000,000 USD, now a laptop is capable of over 3 teraFLOPS. The memory numbers aren’t to be scoffed at either, GDDR5 memory clocked at 900 MHz providing 115.2 GB/sec of memory bandwidth between the memory and GPU, very important for achieving all of those precious TeraFLOPS.
The 6990 chip itself is a Series 6 video chip based on what AMD calls TeraScale 2 Unified Processing Architecture. This architecture includes a number of broader technologies aimed at improving the visual experience. The previously mention marketing technologies are included here – AMD Eyefinity, HD3D, AMD PowerPlay™ – as well as Audio over HDMI which Supports AC-3, AAC, Dolby® TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio™ formats and DirectX® 11 Evolved, Shader Model 5 DX11, which is the latest gaming standard for Windows 7 – Direct X being a windows API – . What all that adds up to is one fast card that excells at the latest games, watching movies, or any other task that your inspired to try. This is a workstation class media centre PC, and when it’s not busy it could easily hunt for a cancer cure, aliens or some other super computer task.
Already announced to appear in the Alienware M18x gaming laptop which can use two of them along with 2GB of fast video memory to deliver extreme performance, a potent combination that rivals even top end gaming desktops and workstations. The Alienware website is awash with options when choosing the hardware to include in your new Über laptop, interestingly they include the Nvidia 580M and the AMD HD6990M as options, including the option for two of your favoured video cards jammed under the hood, a crow bar likely required to shoe horn them in there. Cleco has also announced support for AMD’s new mega pixel pusher with the models X7200, P170HM, P150HM having AMD included in its options lists.
High end hardware such as the HD6990M and Nvidia 580M are designed to provide uncompromised graphics and gaming, meaning that you never have to choose detail settings, just crank them as high as they will go and play. Built into laptops that don’t keep you waiting, this is a video chip very few of us will get to use but it is one we should all consider. How much is your time and happiness worth?
Further information at AMD’s product page
Buddha’s Brother out…