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?
|Desktop vs Mobile Radeon Graphics|
|Row 0 - Cell 0||Desktop Radeon HD 7970||Radeon HD 7970M||Desktop Radeon HD 7870|
|Transistors||4.3 billion||2.8 billion||2.8 billion|
|Engine Clock||925 MHz||850 MHz||1000 MHz|
|Compute Performance||3.79 TFLOPS||2.18 TFLOPS||2.56 TFLOPS|
|Memory Bandwidth||264 GB/s||154 GB/s||154 GB/s|
|TDP||250 W||75 W||175 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.
|Desktop vs Mobile GeForce Graphics|
|Row 0 - Cell 0||Desktop GeForce GTX 670||GeForce GTX 675M||Desktop GeForce GTX 560 Ti|
|Architecture||Kepler (GK104)||Fermi (GF114)||Fermi (GF114)|
|Transistors||3.54 billion||1.95 billion||1.95 billion|
|Engine Clock||915 MHz||620 MHz||822 MHz|
|Compute Performance||2.46 TFLOPS||952 GFLOPS||1.26 TFLOPS|
|Memory Bandwidth||192 GB/s||96 GB/s||128 GB/s|
|TDP||170 W||100 W||170 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.
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.
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.
Makes good sense 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.
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.