AMD Radeon HD 6970M Review w/ Eurocom

Article Index

Summary & Conclusion

Performance Summary: The AMD Radeon HD 6970M performed extremely well in our tests. It was able to upstage the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470M in nearly every benchmark, often by a significant margin. However, some will note that the GeForce GTX 470M isn't the fastest mobile card NVIDIA has to offer. Indeed they also have a GeForce GTX 480M and a 485M which is even faster. While we didn't have a GTX 480M or GTX 485M on hand for comparison, judging by their specifications in relation to the GTX 470M, the 480M is likely to be similar in performance to the Radeon HD 6970M while the GTX 485M should be a bit faster. This puts the Radeon between the GTX 470M and GTX 485M in terms of performance.

 

The Radeon HD 6970M is very quick in a single-card configuration. It is easily capable of smoothly rendering any currently available game without image quality compromises. In a dual-card CrossFireX configuration, the Radeon HD 6970M is able to just about match its desktop cousin, the Cayman-based Raden HD 6970. When paired up in CrossFire, the Radeon HD 6970M will have a lot of longevity as a gaming setup and should be able to keep up with the latest games for quite some time.

Combined with the Eurocom Panther 2.0's impressive specifications, the dual-card CrossFireX setup is the fastest mobile platform we've benchmarked to date. For those seeking serious graphics mobile performance, the AMD Radeon HD 6970M is an excellent choice. Unfortunately the relatively high thermal and power requirements for the card (as well as its competitors) will limit it to larger laptops capable of providing the necessary cooling and power, such as the Eurocom Panther 2.0. However, this is the price we pay for bleeding edge performance and that's unlikely to change anytime soon.

Update, February 3, 2011 – This article has sparked some discussion between HotHardware and a few of the companies involved, whether directly or indirectly. NVIDIA has taken issue with the comparisons made in the article and voiced concerns regarding Eurocom’s current price structure as it relates to their GPU configurations and to competing notebook offerings. So, we’re posting this update to make some clarifications.

As for the performance comparisons--which pit AMD’s current top-of-the-line mobile GPU against NVIDIA’s third-best performing GPU--it is exceedingly rare to have the opportunity to test a single notebook platform with multiple GPUs. In the vast majority of circumstances, different notebooks are used to test different GPUs, and it’s rare that the different notebooks have the same specifications. It’s also uncommon to have the notebooks in-house at the same time, outfitted with the same software and drivers, etc. Presented with the opportunity to test a single notebook with multiple GPUs, plain and simple, we jumped at the chance. We clearly state that NVIDIA has two higher-end mobile GPUs currently available (the GTX 480 and GTX 485) and know HotHardware readers are smart enough to understand that a GTX 480 or GTX 485 will likely perform better than the GTX 470.

NVIDIA also voiced some concerns regarding Eurocom’s current pricing. If you price out similarly configured Eurocom Panther 2.0 machines with Radeon HD 6970s, GTX 470s, or GTX 485s, the Radeon-equipped machine will be the least expensive (at least currently) option. Where NVIDIA takes issue, though, is that Eurocom’s GeForce-equipped configurations are significantly more expensive than some competing offerings built around a similar chassis, to the tune of hundreds of dollars. For example, the Eurocom Panther 2.0 with GTX 470 SLI comes in around $4,811, whereas a Sager machine built around a similar chassis with the same CPU, memory and drive configuration comes in at $3,849. Similar price differences were noted between machines from Origin, AVA Direct, and some others. Unfortunately, no price comparisons can be made between Eurocom’s Radeon HD 6970 CrossFire-equipped configurations because it is currently the only company to offer the setup. Origin PC, however, offers the option for a single 1GB Radeon HD 6970, and the price difference between it and the identical machine with a GTX 470 is only $22 in the GeForce’s favor. Just for reference, moving to a GTX 480 at Origin PC’s site adds $275 to the price, over and above the price of the GTX 470. And the GTX 485 adds $235. (Yes, the 485 is currently less expensive than the 480 at Origin)

We got on the line with representatives from Eurocom to discuss their current pricing structure and were told that the additional engineering and qualification done on their machines, the additional features, and the additional costs involved with supporting more configurations results in higher prices. While others sell notebooks based on Clevo’s X7200 chassis, the additional engineering done by Eurocom and their partners currently makes Eurocom’s product unique in the market. The Panther 2 offers a more capable cooling solution, support for up to 4 drives (others support 3), embedded HDMI input, and component level changes that reportedly enhance stability and longevity. Eurocom has also done work to customize various BIOS and firmwares and offers support for XP, Linux, and Win7 whereas some others do not support as many OSes.

  • Excellent Performance
  • Eyefinity Support
  • 2048MB GDDR5 video memory
  • Beats the GeForce GTX 470M

 

  • High thermal and power requirements limit it to use in large laptops
  • Expensive

 


Image gallery

Related content

Comments

Show comments blog comments powered by Disqus