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General Purpose Compute

AMD Radeon HD 8790M: Next-Gen Mobile Mainstream Graphics Preview
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One of the most attractive qualities of AMD's GCN architecture is its alacrity in compute-optimized applications, particularly now that we've seen Nvidia go the other direction with its Kepler design. The Mars- and Venus-based Radeon HD 8000M-based parts employ the same GCN pedigree, and AMD is adamant that they share similar advantages general-purpose applications able to exploit OpenCL.

So, our plan was to run a handful of synthetic tests, WinZip 17, our OpenCL-enabled Photoshop CS6 benchmark, and the Wireless Security Auditor. Testing hit a snare when we discovered certain applications returned OpenCL initialization errors. More than likely, this is a driver issue, and although AMD wasn't able to book the lab time to confirm, this is a preview, after all. Naturally, we expect these tests to run by the time Radeon HD 8000M-series hardware ships.

Although the real-world tests wouldn't complete for us, the synthetics did, strangely enough. In both LuxMark and CLBenchmark, our Core i5-2500K managed to turn back better benchmark results than the Radeon HD 7670M. But the 8790M blows them both out of the water. Particularly on mainstream 15" notebooks with much less potent CPUs than our 95 W Core i5, that could translate to a significant speed-up in OpenCL-optimized applications.

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