Xotic PC NP9150: Striking Back At Kepler With Radeon HD 7970M

AMD's Radeon HD 7970M, Exposed

We already examined Clevo’s P150EM in Eurocom Racer 2.0 Review: Intel's Ivy Bridge Meets Nvidia's Kepler, though Sager, a distributor of Clevo's whitebook designs, renames it to the NP9150 before it gets to Xotic PC. Aside from the logos, it’s the same chassis.

Opening up the machine reveals very similar cooling to what we saw on Nvidia's GeForce GTX 660M. The Radeon HD 7970M has the same basic cooler design as the GeForce, but with custom-matched contact surfaces.

The Radeon HD 7970 GPU is composed of nearly three billion transistors, and it takes up much of the graphics module's real estate, even in light of TSMC's 28 nm manufacturing process. But isn't AMD's Radeon HD 7970 supposed to have 4.3 billion transistors?

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Desktop vs Mobile Radeon Graphics
Row 0 - Cell 0 Desktop Radeon HD 7970Radeon HD 7970MDesktop Radeon HD 7870
Transistors4.3 billion2.8 billion2.8 billion
Engine Clock925 MHz850 MHz1000 MHz
Stream Processors204812801280
Texture Units1288080
ROP Units323232
Compute Performance3.79 TFLOPS2.18 TFLOPS2.56 TFLOPS
DRAM TypeGDDR5-5500GDDR5-4800GDDR5-4800
DRAM Interface384-bit256-bit256-bit
Memory Bandwidth264 GB/s154 GB/s154 GB/s
TDP250 W75 W175 W

The Radeon HD HD 7970M obviously doesn't boast the Tahiti core with which its model name is most commonly associated. Rather, it's a more power-optimized version of the same Pitcairn GPU found in the desktop Radeon HD 7870. It’s not all bad that AMD chose a smaller die for its flagship mobile GPU, we just wish it had picked a more appropriate name. At least they’re both current-generation parts based on a 28 nm node.

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Desktop vs Mobile GeForce Graphics
Row 0 - Cell 0 Desktop GeForce GTX 670GeForce GTX 675MDesktop GeForce GTX 560 Ti
ArchitectureKepler (GK104)Fermi (GF114)Fermi (GF114)
Transistors3.54 billion1.95 billion1.95 billion
Engine Clock915 MHz620 MHz822 MHz
Cuda Cores1344384384
Texture Units1126464
ROP Units323232
Compute Performance2.46 TFLOPS952 GFLOPS1.26 TFLOPS
DRAM TypeGDDR5-6008GDDR5-3000GDDR5-4008
DRAM Interface256-bit256-bit256-bit
Memory Bandwidth192 GB/s96 GB/s128 GB/s
TDP170 W100 W170 W

By comparison, Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 675M isn’t even part of the same generation. Its GeForce GTX 560 Ti (based on the Fermi architecture at 40 nm) was a top value in its day, but even that card was replaced long ago by a more-powerful 448-core version. We’d like to come down harder on AMD for its naming tomfoolery, but Nvidia is the guiltier party in this specific case.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • Did the test show any sign of 7970M utilization issue? It is a well known problem reported by many members from Notebookreview forum.
  • Crashman
    QKVenGenDid the test show any sign of 7970M utilization issue? It is a well known problem reported by many members from Notebookreview forum.Care to elaborate?
  • sherlockwing
    CrashmanCare to elaborate?
    If I recall it is a Enduro related bug causing 7970M to be under utilized in games like BF3, it was quite a big deal in June/July on NotebookReview's Forum, not sure if it is fixed by new drivers.
  • Crashman
    BF3 results look fine to me :)
  • EzioAs
    I find it hard to believe that the 7970M performs a bit too well in Battlefield 3. Even the 7870 and 660ti gets lower fps with the same settings at 1080p.

  • No games on 7970m doesant play fine. Most of them are affected by enduro underutilizaiotn which basicly causes the card to notutilize fully when lowering settings in games. For example , in bf 3 multiplayer( as there is no problem in singleplayer) when you enter a lrger map with 64p on it, youl get around 35 fps maxed but with dips down to 25 fps which is not enought for a fast paced shotter. So when setting are lowered you expect to get better fps right?? thats not the case with 7970m- the fps remains the same but utilization of the card drops down. This also happens in many other games that are sometimes even unplayable. You just cant achieve stable 60 fps no matter what settings- the lower the settings go, the lower the card utilization is. There is a logging thread, and many other threads regarding this issue on notebookreview. Amd adressed that there is a driver coming soon, but for users that have this card form half a year now its taking pretty long..
  • I concur what Mahalsk said. A 7970M in a EM-series Clevo laptop IS NOT A GOOD DEAL for the price they are asking, since the card doesn't work properly. This is the case with all EM-series laptops and all 7970Ms out there. Even the 6900M series of AMD cards are beating 7970M at the moment with the Enduro issue unsolved.

    Check this thread (and the "Sager and Clevo forums") for more details:


    , and AVOID 7970M for now. Its been months and no fix from either AMD or Clevo. You do not get what you pay for when bying this configuration.
  • Reynod
    Crash I like the new metrics.

    Makes good sense to me.

  • montage
    CrashmanBF3 results look fine to me
    You didn't test BF3 multiplayer wwith 64 players? The single player works fine, but the multiplayer suffers from enduro issues. Here are some screenshots taken by me:


    18 fps is not fine in my opinion. Also got 8 fps at times in Civ 5. I have a P170EM Clevo with 3610Qm and 7970M. Anandtech also posted an article concerning Enduro, and they weren't aware of Enduro issues either, but when the people from Notebook review informed them about it, they were able to reproduce the issues. They also edited their article to include a mention about the issue.

    The issue is real, and affect all AMD 7000M seriers card that are in laptops which have no MUX-cable. This cable allows a user to use only the dedicated GPU instead of the iGPU. When there is no MUX, the image is always forced through the iGPU, and the Enduro technology that is supposed to make this happen is broken. With Alienware's laptops that have MUX, you can force Enduro off and the issue goes away. If you enable Enduro in AW, the issue comes back.

    What you get is sudden FPS drops, stuttering, low GPU utilization. It does not affect every game, but I'd still say its present in most games, e.g. witcher 1 & 2, crysis 2, BF3 multiplayer (more evident on certain maps), GTA 4, etc. etc. (the list goes on).

    When you try to reduce the graphics level to get better fps, you only get lower GPU utilization and the same fps. Now this is a serious issue to people playing online shooting games and other competitive games.

    Notebook review forums have numerous threads about the issue, and we have been following how the situation develops for months now. So far, AMD has been very silent regarding fixes to these Enduro related issues.
  • Link to the Anandtech article:


    Check the comments and the last 'update' part of the article. This card has been out for almost half a year now with broken switching software.