Introducing AMD’s Radeon Mobility 7400M, 7500M, and 7600M

Traditionally AMD and NVIDIA have launched their new series of graphics products at the high-end and worked their way down. This means launching products like Cypress (Radeon HD 5800 series) and GF100 (GeForce 470/480) first, and following it up with smaller products like Redwood (Radeon HD 5600 series) and GF106 (GeForce 450) later. This owes to the fact that high-end GPUs are the flag bearers of a generation, with new architectures being built on these large chips first before lesser products are derived from them. As a consequence of building the biggest chips first, new architectures have always launched on the desktop first and have come to the mobile space later once the lesser derivatives were ready.

Today AMD will be launching their first Radeon HD 7000 series products, and in a significant deviation from normal they’re starting on the mobile side first. We’ve had some indication that this would happen—AMD chose to demo the mobile version of their 28nm GPU instead of the desktop version back in September—so this confirms AMDs intentions. However the 7000M series launching today is not quite what we had in mind.

We expected Southern Island products based on TSMC’s new HKMG 28nm process, but the fact of the matter is that TSMC’s HKMG 28nm process is running late—yields and production capacity just aren’t good enough for the production of high volume retail products for 2011. We may yet see some kind of 28nm product before the year is out so that AMD meets their stated commitment, but a complete 28nm launch in 2011 is off the table. However, AMD is concerned they need to launch new mobile products at the end of this year whether they have new GPUs or not, meaning they need to make do with what they already have.

As a consequence we’re facing another rebadging situation: the 7000M series launching today is based on AMD’s Turks and Caicos GPUs, the same GPUs that make up part of the 6000M series. Thus AMD may technically be launching the 7000 series today, but it’s the 7000 series in name only. The launch of the 28nm Southern Islands architecture will happen soon enough, but it won’t be happening today. Ignore the product number—if you wanted to see new GPUs from AMD [cue Obi-Wan], these aren’t the GPUs you’re looking for.

Naming shenanigans aside, the particularly frustrating part of all of this is that what was already a two architecture series just became a three architecture series. At the high-end we will of course see Graphics Core Next, AMD’s next-generation architecture intended to move the company away from VLIW. Meanwhile for integrated GPUs AMD’s Trinity will be using a VLIW4 design derived from AMD’s 6900 series Cayman GPU, and at the same time it stands to reason that at least some of AMD’s 7000 series will be VLIW4 in order to have something to CrossFire with Trinity. However, with the latest addition of Turks and Caicos on the 7000M, VLIW5 just got thrown into the mix and any kind of consistency just went out the window.

The one silver lining here is that even with the architecture differences, AMD’s VLIW5 architecture is still a modern architecture. Compute performance is lacking compared to the latest and greatest, but from a graphics perspective GCN, VLIW4, and VLIW5 are all Direct3D 11+ designs. The launch of Direct3D 11.1 will shake this up later next year—particularly if GCN is a D3D 11.1 design—but thankfully there won’t be a massive feature gap like we’ve seen in the past with other rebadging efforts. The graphics feature set will be mostly consistent, even if the underlying architectures are not.

With the above discussion out of the way, let’s hit the actual feature and spec sheets for the 7000M parts launching today. We’re including some information from the existing 6000M lineup as a reference point, and because we don’t have specifics on the actual models that are launching. If the past is anything to go by, we’d expect two or three models (maybe even four) in each series (e.g. the 6430M, 6450M, 6470M, and 6490M are all part of the 6400M lineup).

AMD Mobility Radeon 7400M, 7500M, and 7600M Lineup
  Radeon HD 7600M Radeon HD 6750M Radeon HD 7500M Radeon HD 6630M Radeon HD 7400M Radeon HD 6470M
Core Name Whistler Pro (?) Whistler Pro Whistler LT (?) Whistler LT Seymore XT (?) Seymore XT
Stream Processors 480 480 480 480 160 160
Texture Units 24 24 24 24 8 8
ROPs 8 8 8 8 4 4
Core Clock 600MHz 485MHz 700MHz
Memory Clock GDDR5/DDR3 900MHz (3.6GHz) GDDR5 GDDR5/DDR3 800MHz (1.6GHz) DDR3 GDDR5/DDR3 800MHz (1.6GHz) DDR3
Memory Bus Width 128-bit 128-bit 64-bit 128-bit 64-bit 64-bit
Memory Bandwidth 57.6GB/s 25.6GB/s 12.8GB/s

Unfortunately, the details for the new 7000M parts are lacking right now—all we have to go on is the general configuration. We would assume the newer 7000M parts will have slightly higher clocks than the 6000M parts they’re replacing, but we really can’t say much more than that. All the current 7000M parts have the ability to support DDR3 or GDDR5 memory, and we expect to see higher-end models with GDDR5 and more budget friendly offerings with DDR3.

The most interesting (and not necessarily in a good way) series is the 7500M, which looks to straddle the ground between the entry-level 7400M and the more capable 7600M. It combines the 480 core GPU of the 7600M with the 64-bit memory interface of the 7400M. The goal is to bring prices down on mainstream hardware, but unless pricing is significantly lower the loss of memory bandwidth is going to hurt. Of course, the GDDR5 equipped models can provide the same bandwidth over a 64-bit bus as a DDR3 model with a 128-bit bus, but we’ll have to wait and see what laptops actually ship with the GPUs and how much they cost before we can come to any firm conclusions.

And that sums it up. AMD is launching 7000M GPUs today at the entry-level and midrange segments, but it’s only a rebadging of existing 6000M GPUs. We assume there will be some increased core clocks on the higher end SKUs, but overall there’s no significant change to the performance on tap.

NVIDIA’s GeForce 600M Parts


View All Comments

  • erple2 - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    No, the 8800GT to 9800GT to GTS250 were the exact same chip, just with some die shrinkage. The 3870 was a substantial departure from what the 2900 series was - the die shrink alone wasn't enough to justify the substantial reduction in die size. Cutting back the 512bit memory bus cut it down a HUGE amount, too. There were also several minor tweaks to the architecture to boot. There was more redundant parts of the GPU in the core, too. Read up a bit more on it at ... Reply
  • chizow - Friday, December 09, 2011 - link

    Yes the R600 to RV670 shrink cut down the internal ringbus and external bandwidth in half which accounted for ~30M fewer transistors but *FUNCTIONALLY* the part was identical and just a rebadge/shrink of R600.

    Also, how can all the G92 variants be the "exact same chip" when you've already acknowledged a die shrink, not to mention the 8800/9800GT only had 112SP enabled where the 9800GTX/GTS 250 had the full 128SP enabled? You must have a different definition of "exact" i suppose. There's more differences between the products that I won't even bother getting into.

    Again, its ironic that certain people are so willing to overlook the differences in ATI's rebadges so conveniently forgets the differences with Nvidia's rebadges while condemning them, which is again, why people shouldn't bother nitpicking over such trivial matters.

    All that should matter to someone when buying is price, performance, and features and in all the cases of the various rabadges all 3 were just where they should've been relative to newer parts.
  • Sunagwa - Wednesday, December 07, 2011 - link

    Yea pretty much it right there.

    It's a sad day for gamers everywhere. On the bright side the real parts are right around the corner. =D
  • aguilpa1 - Wednesday, December 07, 2011 - link

    Wow, so pathetic it is beyond words... Reply
  • mariush - Thursday, December 08, 2011 - link

    They're forced by the laptop manufacturers - "if you guys don't come up with some new models, we'll go with the new models from nVidia".

    What would you want them to do?
  • evilspoons - Monday, December 12, 2011 - link

    I think this is why Apple doesn't list model numbers for this sort of thing for their laptops (both CPU and GPU, with the exception of the Intel HD 3000 for some reason - probably because it's so much better than the old Intel GPUs).

    For better or for worse, all they list is the RAM available (which I think is silly, since it's not as big a factor as the average person thinks it is) and the relative performance to their other models.
  • evilspoons - Monday, December 12, 2011 - link

    I stand corrected, they DO list the model number on the specs page... well, at least they don't bother with the ridiculous Intel CPU model number. It would be nice if they'd list turbo boost speeds though. Reply
  • lanestew - Wednesday, December 07, 2011 - link

    Saw the headline. Got excited. Then felt sad and disappointed. Reply
  • ganjha - Wednesday, December 07, 2011 - link

    Same here... Reply
  • piroroadkill - Wednesday, December 07, 2011 - link

    Wow. Yeah, same. I was about to get stuck in to lovely Southern Islands details, but what I got was a pile of re-heated mush.

    Poor show TSMC, poor show AMD.

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