AMD Radeon HD 6970M Review w/ Eurocom

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In the middle of December, at the beginning of the annual holiday shopping spree, AMD released their latest and greatest graphics cards, the Radeon HD 6970 and 6950. In our review, we noted that the new GPU, code-named "Cayman" is a notable step forward from the previous generation. It incorporates dual graphics engines whereas the previous generation only had one, among other changes, that give the new chip a nice leg up in performance.

Less than a month later AMD had another product to release, the AMD Radeon HD 6970M. Code-named Blackcomb, the Radeon HD 6970M is the mobile counterpart to Cayman. This chip is currently AMD's fastest GPU for mobile applications and it's meant for use in high performance gaming and workstation laptops.

AMD Radeon HD 6790M on a MXM 3.0B module

In terms of its feature set, Blackcomb is similar to its desktop cousin and we have already covered the architectural details in our review of the desktop model. However, as is the case with all mobile graphics cards, the mobile and desktop models aren't the same chip, despite sharing a model number. Where the desktop Radeon HD 6970 is capable of 2.7 TeraFLOPs, the mobile version can only crank out 1.3TFLOPs, a bit less than half. While that may seem unimpressive, consider that this is the case for virtually all mobile processors and is necessary as a result of the need for power efficiency in mobile applications, something Blackcomb does very well, requiring only about 75-100 watts.

The Radeon HD 6970M is a significant improvement over AMD's previous top dog, the Radeon HD 5870M. Whereas the 5870M had 800 shaders, 1024MB of memory and 128-bit memory bus, the new 6970M has 960 shaders, 2048MB of memory and a 256-bit memory bus. This results in nearly twice the memory bandwidth and more overall processing power.

Here are the highlights:
  • Up to 1.31 TeraFLOPs of compute power
  • GDDR5 memory Interface
  • 256-bit architecture
  • 960 Stream Processor Units
  • 48 Texture Units 
  • Extremely power efficient
  • PCI Express 2.1 x 16 bus interface
  • OpenGL 4.1 support
  • UVD 3
  • 128 Z/Stencil Render Output (ROP) Units 
  • 32 Color ROP Units
  • AMD HD3D Technology
  • AMD EyeSpeed Technology
  • AMD’s 2nd generation Eyefinity Multi-display Technology
  • AMD Switchable Graphics Technology
  • AMD CrossFireX Technology
The Radeon 6970M wasn't the only new mobile product released, AMD simultaneously released the entire Radeon HD 6000M series actually. The series includes fifteen mobile graphics chips which are spread over the entire price and performance spectrum. The new offerings should be quite competitive with NVIDIA's current line-up.

AMD Radeon HD 6000M Series Graphics

Code Name

Brand Name


AMD Radeon HD 6900M Series Graphics


AMD Radeon HD 6970M


AMD Radeon HD 6950M


AMD Radeon HD 6800M Series Graphics

Granville-PRO (GDDR5)

AMD Radeon HD 6870M

Granville-PRO (DDR3)

AMD Radeon HD 6850M

Granville-LP (GDDR5)

AMD Radeon HD 6850M

Granville-LP (DDR3)

AMD Radeon HD 6830M


AMD Radeon HD 6700M Series Graphics

Whistler-XT (GDDR5)

AMD Radeon HD 6770M

Whistler-PRO (GDDR5)

AMD Radeon HD 6750M

Whistler-XT (DDR3)

AMD Radeon HD 6730M


AMD Radeon HD 6600M Series Graphics

Whistler-PRO (DDR3)

AMD Radeon HD 6650M

Whistler-LP (DDR3)

AMD Radeon HD 6630M


AMD Radeon HD 6500M Series Graphics

Capilano-XT (DDR3/GDDR5)

AMD Radeon HD 6570M

Capilano-PRO (DDR3)

AMD Radeon HD 6550M

Capilano-LP (DDR3)

AMD Radeon HD 6530M


AMD Radeon HD 6400M Series Graphics

Seymour-XT (GDDR5)

AMD Radeon HD 6490M

This release marks a significant overhaul of the AMD mobile graphics lineup and we could go on about the various improvements of each chip over the previous generation model it replaces, but what we really want to know is how they perform, especially against competition from NVIDIA. To that end we took a pair of Radeon HD 6970M graphics cards and put them up against a pair of NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 470Ms for some head-to-head benchmarks.

The Eurocom Panther 2.0 Desktop Replacement (DTR)

Since we'll be working with mobile cards, we'll need a suitable mobile platform to run the tests on. Our benchmark platform is the Eurocom Panther 2.0. This is a very large and very powerful desktop replacement (DTR) based on the Clevo X7200 whitebook. Before we get down to the raw numbers, let's first take a quick look around the Eurocom Panther 2.0 and see what it has under its hood.

Image gallery

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