There was ample disappointment when we figured out AMD was resorting to the old “trick” of renaming old GPUs instead of transitioning from the 40nm process to 28nm, along with the new Southern Islands architecture or Graphics Core Next (GCN).
Nvidia is doing the same thing, and it probably has something to do with an inability for their mutual manufacturer TSMC to produce enough 28nm parts. As a result, the current entry-level and mid-range HD 7000M-series mobile GPUs are more or less identical to their 6000M-series counterparts, with some minor adjustments. For example, the Radeon HD 7690M in the Envy 17, dv6t Quad and dv7t Quad is a HD 6770M with a 100MHz higher memory clock.
Some clarifications have nevertheless emerged after CES and according to AnandTech there may be some additional improvements in the “new” 40nm parts after all, although certainly nothing groundbreaking. The HD 7690M (or HD 6770M) remains a solid option in the mid-range segment, with enough gaming performance to run Battlefield 3 at good frame rates, and by extension all less demanding titles (i.e. most of them).
Another new piece of interesting information is that AMD intends to keep all of the HD 7000M-series cards up to the HD 7600M series at 40nm, while the new graphics core will be reserved for the high end–the 7700M, 7800M and 7900M cards. The old 40nm core will apparently also remain in AMD’s upcoming Trinity APUs that will eventually replace Llano. This does not mean that the performance improvements will be insignificant, however. According to recent claims from AMD, the performance increase for the GPU part in Trinity is as much as 50%, and 25% for x86 performance.