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.

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  • chizow - Wednesday, May 06, 2015 - link

    All rebrands I see, this doesn't bode well for their desktop line-up....at least the low-end. Reply
  • Pwnstar - Wednesday, May 06, 2015 - link

    Low end is usually rebrands. Reply
  • chizow - Thursday, May 07, 2015 - link

    Yes, that's true low end is usually rebrand, but they're rebranding their entire mobile GPU product stack. At least most of the time you get some refreshes with some changed specs on same ASIC, with newer parts near the top. Reply
  • Gigaplex - Wednesday, May 06, 2015 - link

    NVIDIA are guilty of rebrands too. AMD seems to be the worst offender this generation (if rumours are true), but a couple of generations ago NVIDIA were horrendous at it. The 700 series had a mix of Fermi, Kepler and Maxwell architectures. One particular example that sticks in my mind is the 640 which had a handful of variants, with a mix of Fermi and Kepler chips. Some of the 640 models were rebrands from previous series, and some were rebranded in later series. Reply
  • FlushedBubblyJock - Thursday, May 07, 2015 - link

    nVidia has never come close to the crap AMD is pulling, it's a mountain to a molehill. And AMD keeps doing it every single time over a very wide swath, after swearing to us all it would never.

    So just stop it.
    Reply
  • nightbringer57 - Thursday, May 07, 2015 - link

    Come on, nvidia is every bit as guilty as AMD may have been on the subject.
    Especially on OEM-oriented products. The G92 GPU (I'm talking the GPU itself, not the G92 family) was used on products of the 8000 (mid-high end), 9000 (mid to high-end), 100(OEM filler series) and 200 series (yeah, the G92 made up the core of the GT 230 to GTS 250 entry-level-to-mid-end models).

    Many entry-level models in the nvidia 700 series are made with the GF108 GPU dating back from the 400 series!

    Both contestants have their hands dirty here, it just depends on the time span considered.
    Reply
  • Yojimbo - Thursday, May 07, 2015 - link

    I don't think the R9 M375 (or the R9 380 in the desktop space) is meant to be an entry level model... The Geforce 9 series cards came out like 6 months after the G92 Geforce 8 series cards while the G80-based 8 series cards came out 6-12 months before the 8 series G92 cards. They could just as easily have called the new G92 cards 9 series to begin with. It was just a confusing naming indecision. The Geforce 100 series never had any non-OEM parts, it came out at the same time as the 200 series. With the 100&200 series they rotated the G92 chip down the lineup from high end to low end. A rebranding, yes, but it's hardly the same thing as rebranding the entire lineup (save possibly the Fiji part) into the same or nearly the same market segments the previous generation cards were already occupying. We're not talking about 6 months here. We are talking about cards that have been around for 2-3 years. There's no precedent of that from NVIDIA, not even from 6 years ago, so NVIDIA isn't "every bit as guilty as AMD may have been on the subject." (Why "may have been", btw?) Reply
  • testbug00 - Thursday, May 07, 2015 - link

    Most of Nvidia's rebrands of this scale have been on lower end stuff.

    Nvidia's real issues with cards is how there are 3 version of the 630, 640, 740.... Probably same for other cards. Hope that doesn't come to the 900 series (I haven't checked). It's just a PITA. At least AMD gives the cards different names, even if they are f*cking rebrands.
    Reply
  • Yojimbo - Thursday, May 07, 2015 - link

    Your first sentence makes no sense at all. A rebrand in the low end is not a "rebrand of this scale" because "this scale" is that of just about the entire product lineup. And that was pretty much the crux of my post you replied to. Face it, it's a whole lot bolder to rebrand an entire generation than to carry over some previous generation cards because they are still relevant to a targeted market segment, but to update the name to make them sound current. OEMs probably demand a certain amount of rebranding because they don't want to be selling systems with old-sounding names. So what if the chip filled a higher-end purpose in the previous generation? The ill-informed consumer will be turned off by something that sounds old. But that whole argument goes by the wayside if the entire new lineup is just a rebadge of the old one. In this case the OEMs still don't want to be selling something that sounds old, but there hasn't been any shift in the market segments targeted by the same cards in the new naming scheme.

    The rest of what you said is off-topic to the thread. We're talking about rebranding not confusing naming schemes, although I agree it's annoying because it means if you are looking at a system with that number you have to look more closely to see exactly which version/revision of that product the system actually contains.
    Reply
  • chizow - Thursday, May 07, 2015 - link

    G92 isn't really a relevant comparison because for whatever reason, there were a ton more product line changes in a compressed period of time. G92 launched in Nov 2007 as the 8800GTS 512 and 8800GT, which was quickly die-shrunk to G92b and rebranded to the 9800GT and 9800GTX in March or so 2008, but Nvidia launched its next flagship and named it GTX 280 in June 2008 because they ran out of numbers, and so the G92 was rolled into that stack as GTS 250. In any case, we are talking about 4 rebrands in less than a year for G92 while its performance and feature-set were still very relevant.

    With this Radeon, we are talking 4-5 rebrands over the course of almost 4 years!
    Reply

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