AMD Radeon HD 8970M

AMD Radeon HD 8970M

The AMD Radeon HD 8970M is a 28nm DirectX 11 graphics card based on the GCN (Graphics Core Next) architecture. Built primarily for large laptops, the advanced card is positioned near the top of the high-end category as of 2013. Its performance and feature set are similar to the HD 7970M, as the 8970M shares the same core and only features a higher maximum core clock.

The design of the Radeon 8900M series has its roots to the Pitcairn chip as found on the desktop Radeon HD 7870. The 8970M in particular is similar to its desktop Radeon HD 7870 counterpart with 1280 1D shader cores and 80 texture units, but has a core clock of only 900 MHz (boost) versus the 1000 MHz clock of the HD 7870. Compared to the HD 7970M, the 8970M shares the same base clock rate but with a 50 MHz higher Turbo clock for a 6% increase (1.01 TFLOPS vs. 1.07 TFLOPS) in raw SP calculations. As a result, general performance of the HD 8970M is somewhere between the 7850 and 7870 desktop Radeon cards.

When compared to mobile Nvidia GPUs, the HD 8970M performs significantly faster than the GeForce GTX 675M and slightly above the Nvidia GeForce GTX 680M. Therefore, almost all demanding games of 2013 will run fluently on very high details and 1080p resolution.

Features of the 8970M include the new UVD3 video decoder for decoding MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, VC-1, MPEG-2, Flash, Multi-View Codec (MVC) and MPEG-4 part 2 (DivX, xVid) HD videos directly from the AMD GPU.

The 8900M series also supports automatic graphics switching between the integrated GPU and discrete GPU. Called Enduro, the technology supersedes AMD's Dynamic Switchable Graphics and is similar to Nvidia's Optimus. Furthermore, the 8970M can directly support up to 6 connected monitors using Eyefinity Technology if Enduro is disabled.

Other features of the 8900M series include ZeroCore for reducing power consumption when the display is turned off. Power Gating, however, is not supported according to AMD. PowerTune allows automatic overclocking and underclocking of the graphics card as long as the GPU is within its TDP range. For example, the chip may be underclocked when running FurMark and OCCT, but will overclock in certain games like Lost Planet, Crysis or Resident Evil 5.

The integrated HD audio processor is able to transmit HD Audio (TrueHD or DTS Master Audio) over HDMI and DisplayPort (e.g., for Blu-Ray videos). Additionally, it now allows audio to output simultaneously and in parallel to multiple devices with the new Discrete Digital Multipoint Audio (DDMA) feature.

Power consumption of the 8970M is in the same ballpark as the GeForce GTX 680M. The subsequently large heat output suits the 8970M as an option only for large laptops or DTRs (desktop replacements) equipped with relatively powerful cooling solutions.

Radeon HD 8900M Series
Radeon HD 8970M Crossfire (compare) 2560 @ 850 - 900 (Boost) MHz2x 256 Bit @ 4800 MHz
Radeon HD 8970M 1280 @ 850 - 900 (Boost) MHz256 Bit @ 4800 MHz
Pipelines1280 - unified
Core Speed850 - 900 (Boost) MHz
Memory Speed4800 MHz
Memory Bus Width256 Bit
Memory TypeGDDR5
Max. Amount of Memory4096 MB
Shared Memoryno
DirectXDirectX 11.1, Shader 5.0
Transistor Count2800 Million
technology28 nm
Features2304 GLOPS SP, 144 DP Compute Power, 154 GB/s Memory Bandwidth, 80 TMUs, 32 ROPs, 20 Compute Units (OpenCL 1.2), 212 mm2 Die Size, PCIe 3.0 x16
Notebook Sizelarge
Date of Announcement15.05.2013
Link to Manufacturer Page


3DMark - Cloud Gate Standard Score 1280x720
min: 7787     avg: 12468.5     median: 12468 (21%)     max: 17150 Points
3DMark - Fire Strike Score 1920x1080
min: 3812     avg: 4245.5     median: 4245 (16%)     max: 4679 Points
3DMark - Ice Storm Standard Graphics 1280x720
min: 82309     avg: 110127     median: 110127 (15%)     max: 137945 Points
3DMark 11 - Performance 1280x720
min: 4922     avg: 5780.3     median: 5422 (17%)     max: 6997 points
3DMark Vantage
P Result 1280x1024 +
P GPU no PhysX 1280x1024 +
3DMark 06 Standard 1280x1024 +
Unigine Heaven 3.0 - DX 11, Normal Tessellation, High Shaders 1920x1080
min: 51     avg: 56.1     median: 56 (21%)     max: 61 fps
Unigine Heaven 2.1 - high, Tesselation (normal), DirectX11 1280x1024
min: 62     avg: 75.8     median: 75 (33%)     max: 89 fps
SPECviewperf 11
Siemens NX 1920x1080 +
Tcvis 1920x1080 +
SolidWorks 1920x1080 +
Pro/ENGINEER 1920x1080 +
Maya 1920x1080 +
Lightwave 1920x1080 +
Ensight 1920x1080 +
Catia 1920x1080 +
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.

low 1280x720
73.8  fps    + Compare
med. 1366x768
63.5  fps    + Compare
high 1920x1080
33  fps    + Compare
ultra 1920x1080
20.8  fps    + Compare
» With all tested laptops playable in detail settings med..
low 1280x720
80.5  fps    + Compare
med. 1366x768
74.5  fps    + Compare
high 1920x1080
51.6  fps    + Compare
ultra 1920x1080
46.1  fps    + Compare
» With all tested laptops playable in detail settings ultra.
low 1280x720
144  fps    + Compare
med. 1366x768
139  fps    + Compare
high 1920x1080
60  fps    + Compare
ultra 1920x1080
54  fps    + Compare
» With all tested laptops playable in detail settings ultra.
low 1280x720
190  fps    + Compare
med. 1366x768
158  fps    + Compare
high 1920x1080
124  fps    + Compare
ultra 1920x1080
54  fps    + Compare
» With all tested laptops playable in detail settings ultra.
low 1280x720
149.3  fps    + Compare
med. 1366x768
99.9  fps    + Compare
high 1920x1080
53.4  fps    + Compare
ultra 1920x1080
50.1  fps    + Compare
» With all tested laptops playable in detail settings ultra.
Mafia 3

Mafia 3

low 1280x720
42.2  fps    + Compare
med. 1366x768
28.9  fps    + Compare
high 1920x1080
16.1  fps    + Compare
» With all tested laptops playable in detail settings low.