Along with a bevy of roadmap announcements at financial analyst day, AMD has also slipped in a full-on mobile GPU announcement today at the event.

Being announced today is the Radeon M300 series. With so much other news coming out of FAD we’re still tracking down more information on the product line, but of the information released by AMD so far, we do know that these parts are being advertised as refined parts with better efficiency and power management. AMD’s FAD presentation has not made any mention of what specific GPUs are being used here or of specific SKUs (we may yet see a press release), so it’s not clear whether there are new GPUs involved or if these are simply rebadges of existing GPUs and products.

AMD does note that M300 systems should already be available from several of AMD’s usual partners, including Alienware, HP, Dell, Lenovo, and Toshiba. Meanwhile given the timing of the announcement and the fact that AMD is specifically advertising these GPUs as supporting Dual Graphics mode with AMD’s A-series APUs, I suspect some of these GPUs may be intended to work alongside AMD’s Carrizo APU, which is due this year.

Update: AMD has since released the details of the M300 SKUs on their website, and though they’re not incredibly detailed, they give us an idea of just what AMD is up to.

AMD M300 Series GPU Specification Comparison
  R9 M375 R7 M360 R5 M330
Was Variant of R9 M270/M260 Variant of R7 M270/M260 Variant of R5 M255
Stream Processors 640 384 320
Texture Units 40 24 20
ROPs 16 4? 4?
Boost Clock <=1015MHz <=1015MHz <=1030MHz
Memory Clock 2.2GHz DDR3 2GHz DDR3 2GHz DDR3
Memory Bus Width 128-bit 64-bit 64-bit
VRAM <=4GB <=4GB <=4GB
GPU Cape Verde Oland Oland
Manufacturing Process TSMC 28nm TSMC 28nm TSMC 28nm
Architecture GCN 1.0 GCN 1.0 GCN 1.0

Unfortunately it looks like everything is going to be a rebadge/rehash of AMD’s existing GCN 1.0 GPUs. While AMD’s specs do not confirm which GPUs we’re looking at, and hence we’re admittedly taking an educated guess, based on the specs and features we have every reason to believe we’re looking at Cape Verde and Oland, the two GPUs that also backed AMD’s M200 series. I had been hoping for a cut-down Bonaire in here, to bring GCN 1.1 to mobile, but it doesn’t look like that’s in the cards.

What we have then is a 3 product stack with some very unusual configurations. Compared to their M200 counterparts, all 3 M300 parts have much higher GPU clockspeeds. AMD is now allowing clockspeeds over 1GHz, even for the low-end M330. Though as always, we need to remind everyone that these are “up to” speeds, and OEMs get the final choice in what the shipping clockspeed of a M300 part will be in any given laptop.

And although clockspeeds are up, memory bandwidth is way, way down. All of these parts ship with DDR3, and of those only the M375 gets a 128-bit memory bus. The other two parts, based on Oland, are shipping with a 64-bit memory bus. On the M200 series AMD was using GDDR5 with Cape Verde and the full 128-bit memory bus with Oland, so these new parts have half (or less) of the memory bandwidth of their M200 counterparts.  The fact that AMD did this while increasing clockspeeds (which generally has a knock-on impact on power consumption) is very odd, and I would expect that these new parts are going to be bandwidth starved and will not reach the full potential of their respective GPUs. Meanwhile there's also some uncertainty over the number of ROPs enabled on the M360 and M330; with 64-bit memory buses on a chip that natively has a 128-bit memory bus, AMD may have disabled half of the ROPs in the process.

Looking at these parts overall, in AMD’s FAD event today the company specifically noted the dual graphics capabilities of the M300 series, and I suspect that’s precisely what these parts are meant for. They’re not intended to be stand-alone, but rather they’re designed to be paired with Carrizo/Kaveri APUs to inject more graphics silicon to improve GPU performance. In which case we’re looking at another wrinkle in performance, not only from dual graphics but from the fact that AMD’s APUs tend to be hungry for bandwidth as well, in which case the impact of these slower memory buses may not be as great.

Finally, it’s interesting to note that AMD only went up to M375 here. They did not introduce an M380 or M390 series part, not even rebadging the Pitcairn/Tonga parts that compose the faster members of the M200 series. This may be a sign that AMD intends to introduce faster parts later on, but for the moment that’s merely speculation on my part.

POST A COMMENT

37 Comments

View All Comments

  • dragonsqrrl - Wednesday, May 06, 2015 - link

    Err not quite. I think a more informed analogy might be if Nvidia were still relying on GK107 in their 900m series lineup as the 950 or 960m. You know, like what AMD is doing with the mobile 300 series, right? Reply
  • Crunchy005 - Monday, May 11, 2015 - link

    I guess. Still the whole rebranding thing gets old on both sides in the end. When will the companies actually try to make a new part for a new series instead of rebranding to try and make more money on the same architecture, I just feel it is dishonest to consumers and both AMD and nvidia do it. I wasn't trying to just bash on Nvidia, reread my post, I just figured the article did the AMD half for me. :) Reply
  • dragonsqrrl - Thursday, May 14, 2015 - link

    I'm fine with rebadging as long as it makes sense from a pricing and performance perspective in the current product stack. I think this is where Nvidia tends to differ from AMD with rebadging. And as much as you keep bringing up the 960m as an example of Nvidia doing the same thing as AMD, the M300 series is really quite different and unprecedented, even as rebadging goes. I can't recall either company ever rebadging a card for three consecutive generations while maintaining the same relative performance and position in the product stack. Reply
  • chizow - Wednesday, May 06, 2015 - link

    Ya the layer of dust from when they were actually fabbed to when they shipped in a product may be acting as a thermal interposer for better heat dissipation. Reply
  • lkb - Thursday, May 14, 2015 - link

    Best comment by far in this section! Who knew dust has such advanced thermal properties. As for AMD, I guess if my pitcairn 7870 ever needs replacement parts, they will be readily available for the next 5 years... smh... Reply
  • HighTech4US - Thursday, May 07, 2015 - link

    Replace faster power hungry GDDR5 with much slower lower power DDR3 and there is your Power Savings.

    Even with the clock speed increases (which may not even occur in released products) and these GPUs are slower than the 200 family they replaced.
    Reply
  • Taneli - Wednesday, May 06, 2015 - link

    So they are selling same old 200 series parts that were same old HD8000 series parts that were same old HD 7000 series parts as new? This is the way forward! Reply
  • Khenglish - Wednesday, May 06, 2015 - link

    Yup, it looks like the 7970m from May 1st 2012 is going to maintain its spot as the top AMD mobile GPU (m295x never made it to laptops, just imacs). Reply
  • TheinsanegamerN - Thursday, May 07, 2015 - link

    Actually, the alienware 15 and 17 have the m295x an an option. dont know why anyone would take it, when the 970m is faster, cheaper, and uses less power though. Reply
  • WorldWithoutMadness - Thursday, May 07, 2015 - link

    Radeonception!
    Appearantly this may be due to their financial
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now