AMD 28nm Mobile GPUs On the Way

A few days ago, we mentioned that NVIDIA is well underway towards building its first batch of mobile graphics chips in the new and more power-efficient 28nm process, which will be based on the manufacturer’s existing Fermi architecture for the time being but take advantage of the 28nm improvements for higher clocks and (hopefully) better performance.

We neglected to mention, however, that AMD is also on the same track, according to the same source. The folks at Semi Accurate have apparently obtained the names of AMD’s mobile 28nm graphics chips as well and it looks like the race is on between AMD and NVIDIA to bring 28nm gaming laptop GPUs to the market. Just like they delivered the code names and details for for NVIDIA’s chips, the AMD version of the chart is now available.

28nm AMD Mobile GPUs
For the most part AMD’s new chips will likely be based on the existing architecture that’s available in today in the HD 6900(M) series (Cayman) including the current market leader, the HD 6990M. However, there’s also rumors going around that the new Southern Islands architecture might find its way into the top-tier mobile GPUs–something that would most likely put AMD ahead of its main rival for some time.

As you can see in the chart, AMD has six mobile chips in the pipeline based on three different graphics chips, and the code names apparently live on from the good-old ATI days. If that is anything to go by, it should mean that the XT versions are a fully activated or “premium” circuit if you will, while the Pro models will come with lower clock speeds and possibly with deactivated parts of the chips.

Chelsea is the entry model with a 128-bit memory bus and a power consumption of 25W or 35W, depending on whether it’s the Pro/XT version. It can be coupled with either DDR3 or the  much faster GDDR5. Entry model or not, the claimed 3DMark Vantage score of 9,000 to 11,000 points puts both of them in the current high-end segment

Heathrow will just like Chelsea come with a 128-bit memory bus that can be linked to GDDR3 or GDDR5 memory, but Heathrow XT will only make use of GDDR5. In this case the TDP value also makes the jump from 35W to 45W with a resulting 3DMark Vantage score of  “12,000+”. That would almost be enough to compete with the current GTX 580M or the HD 6990M, which is currently available with laptops such as the Alienware M17x and M18x.

And finally, the most interesting new chip Wimbledon makes the move up to a 256-bit memory bus and will be coupled with GDDR5 memory exclusively. The 60W and 80W TDP values mean that it will only find its way into larger desktop replacements. The performance in 3DMark Vantage is claimed to be 16,000 points in the top model, which will also be equipped with no less than 4GB of video RAM–something that clearly borders on overkill.

The time table looks a lot like NVIDIA’s, with the first mobile chips becoming available for production in December, while the Wimbledon Pro and XT will have to wait until the beginning of 2012. After that, it takes a while before the chips find their way into actual products, but all in all it looks like next year will be a good one for high-end laptop graphics.

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