AMD Radeon HD 6970M

The AMD Mobility Radeon HD 6970M (or sometimes called ATI Mobility Radeon HD 6970) is a high-end graphics card normally reserved for big and heavy laptops. It is based on the desktop HD 6850 graphics card and therefore features UVD3 video processing and Eyefinity+. The codename of this GPU is Blackcomb XT and it should have comparable power consumption results as the GeForce GTX 480M.

The 960 Stream processors are still based on the "old" 5D architecture similar to the 5000 series. Therefore, the number of shaders is not comparable to the 1D cores of current Nvidia GPUs. The Tessellation performance should be improved (like the desktop 6800 series) with the new cards. The Stream processors can be used with DirectX 11, OpenGL 4.1, DirectCompute 11 and OpenCL. With the latter two, the 6970M can also be used for general computations such as transcoding videos.

The 3D performance of this card lies between the GeForce GTX 470M and 485M, both of which are high-end notebook GPUs. In our tests, the 6970M is on average 33% faster than a GeForce GTX 480M, but the newer GTX 485M is still about 12% faster than the AMD card. Compared to the previous generation ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870, the Radeon 6970M is about 50% faster, but has greater power demands.

For gamers, this means that the Radeon HD 6970M is able to fluently display all most modern games in high detail settings. Only Crysis and Metro 2033 stutter in the highest detail settings at 1920x1080 resolution (see below).

The new UVD3 video decoder supports the decoding of MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, VC-1, MPEG-2, Flash and now also Multi-View Codec (MVC) and MPEG-4 part 2 (DivX, xVid) HD videos on the graphics card.

Furthermore, the HD 6900M series integrates an HD audio controller to transmit HD Audio (TrueHD or DTS Master Audio) over HDMI and/or DisplayPort (e.g. for Blu-Ray videos).

The AMD HD3D Technology offers support for Blu-Ray 3D and 3D displays (integrated and external). However, the solution is not as mature as Nvidia's 3D Vision.

Thanks to Eyefinity, the graphics chip is able to theoretically drive up to 6 monitors simultaneously. However, this only works if the laptop features enough video outputs.

The power consumption of the 6790M should be similar to the Nvidia GeForce GTX 480M / 485M and is therefore at about 100 Watts when considering the MXM board and the 2 GB GDDR5 memory. Eurocom, for example, states that the TDP ranges from about 75-100 Watts. As a result, the card is only suited for large laptops with good cooling solutions.

Radeon HD 6900M Series
Radeon HD 6990M Crossfire (compare) 2240 @ 715 MHz256 Bit @ 900 MHz
Radeon HD 6970M Crossfire (compare) 1920 @ 680 MHz256 Bit @ 900 MHz
Radeon HD 6990M (compare) 1120 @ 715 MHz256 Bit @ 900 MHz
Radeon HD 6970M 960 @ 680 MHz256 Bit @ 900 MHz
Radeon HD 6950M (compare) 960 @ 580 MHz256 Bit @ 900 MHz
CodenameBlackcomb XT
ArchitectureTerascale 2
Pipelines960 - unified
Core Speed680 MHz
Memory Speed900 MHz
Memory Bus Width256 Bit
Memory TypeGDDR5
Max. Amount of Memory2048 MB
Shared Memoryno
DirectXDirectX 11, Shader 5.0
Transistor Count1700 Million
technology40 nm
Notebook Sizelarge
Date of Announcement06.01.2011
Link to Manufacturer Page


3DMark 11 - Performance 1280x720
min: 2983     avg: 3066     median: 3054 (11%)     max: 3143 points
3DMark 11 - Performance GPU 1280x720
min: 2774     avg: 2821.3     median: 2818.5 (6%)     max: 2874 points
3DMark Vantage
P Result 1280x1024 +
P GPU no PhysX 1280x1024 +
3DMark 03 - Standard 1024x768
min: 53658     avg: 56455.7     median: 56921 (31%)     max: 58788 Points
3DMark 05 - Standard 1024x768
min: 18890     avg: 21991.3     median: 22213 (48%)     max: 24871 Points
3DMark 06 +
Unigine Heaven 2.1 - high, Tesselation (normal), DirectX11 1280x1024
min: 33     avg: 33.3     median: 33.2 (15%)     max: 33.7 fps
SPECviewperf 11
Siemens NX 1920x1080 +
Tcvis 1920x1080 +
SolidWorks 1920x1080 +
Pro/ENGINEER 1920x1080 +
Maya 1920x1080 +
Lightwave 1920x1080 +
Ensight 1920x1080 +
Catia 1920x1080 +
Windows 7 Experience Index - Gaming graphics
7.6 points (96%)
Windows 7 Experience Index - Graphics
7.6 points (96%)
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit +
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit +
- Range of benchmark values for this graphics card
- Average benchmark values for this graphics card
* Smaller numbers mean a higher performance

Game Benchmarks

The following benchmarks stem from our benchmarks of review laptops. The performance depends on the used graphics memory, clock rate, processor, system settings, drivers, and operating systems. So the results don't have to be representative for all laptops with this GPU. For detailled information on the benchmark results, click on the fps number.

Max Payne 3
low 1024x768
61.9  fps    + Compare
med. 1366x768
64.7  fps    + Compare
high 1366x768
35.1  fps    + Compare
ultra 1920x1080
26.7  fps    + Compare
» With all tested laptops playable in detail settings high.
Dirt Showdown
low 1024x768
76.6  fps    + Compare
med. 1366x768
64.2  fps    + Compare
high 1366x768
59.5  fps    + Compare
ultra 1920x1080
30.3  fps    + Compare
» With all tested laptops playable in detail settings high.
Diablo III
low 1024x768
193.4  fps    + Compare
med. 1366x768
132.1  fps    + Compare
high 1366x768
89.4  fps    + Compare
ultra 1920x1080
64.6  fps    + Compare
» With all tested laptops playable in detail settings ultra.
Risen 2: Dark Waters
low 1024x768
95.1  fps    + Compare
med. 1366x768
72.2  fps    + Compare
high 1366x768
52.9  fps    + Compare
ultra 1920x1080
24.3  fps    + Compare
» With all tested laptops playable in detail settings high.
Mass Effect 3
low 1280x720
60  fps    + Compare
high 1366x768
59.3  fps    + Compare
ultra 1920x1080
54.1  fps    + Compare
» With all tested laptops playable in detail settings ultra.
Alan Wake

Alan Wake

low 1024x768
87  fps    + Compare
med. 1366x768
55  fps    + Compare
ultra 1920x1080
27.2  fps    + Compare
» With all tested laptops playable in detail settings med..
Star Wars: The Old Republic

Star Wars: The Old Republic

low 1024x768
70  fps    + Compare
high 1366x768
53  fps    + Compare
ultra 1920x1080
43.5  fps    + Compare
» With all tested laptops playable in detail settings ultra.
Anno 2070

Anno 2070

low 1024x768
207.8 fps  fps    + Compare
med. 1366x768
97.1 fps  fps    + Compare
high 1366x768
58.6 fps  fps    + Compare
ultra 1920x1080
29.7 fps  fps    + Compare