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CES 2010: AMD

by: John -
More On: CES 2010
My first stop for CES was with AMD who’s always been generous with their hospitality with me at the show. While it’s been a while since I’ve reviewed anything from them, it was good to see what they have coming up on display.

Now, the only thing I can talk about from what I saw in terms of specific hardware is the recently announced Mobility Radeon 5000 series. AMD was the first to market with a desktop DirectX 11 card and they will be the first to market with a DirectX 11 mobile card.
The Mobility Radeon 5000 series consists of a complete family of discrete mobile GPUs that will fit various sections of the market. For the hardcore gamers who want gaming in the go, the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870 will be your GPU of choice. For the performance folks who don’t need the be all end all mobile gaming performance but still want some power, the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5700 series will do the job. Mainstream folks who want good HD performance with some power savings but don’t need the gaming aspect can pick up a laptop with an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5600 while the thin and light folks can expect an ATI Mobility Radeon 5400 series.

Now, from top to bottom, all the mobile GPUs support the same features for the most part. That means you’ll get DirectX 11 compatibility, hardware enabled Flash with Flash 10.1, Eyefinity multiple monitor support, ATI Stream for general computing, and HDMI 1.3a. The 5400 series will be limited to four monitors but anything higher can go up to six monitors should you want to use Eyefinity.

What was nice to see this year though, with the announcement of a new family of mobile GPUs, was the amount of laptops from different OEMs on display that will utilize one of the mobile GPUs. As John Swinimer of AMD puts it, it’s probably the largest amount of laptops being displayed in conjunction with the announcement of the new line.

I caught a quick demo of Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. running on three monitors from a laptop using an external discrete GPU solution. While it wasn’t utilizing the GPU on the laptop to do this, it was still nice to see a laptop showing off multiple monitor support with a recent game.

I have a few laptops that use ATI cards and they’ve all been pretty good to me. I’m interested to see how well the new line performs as the slides shown to me have it being a 20% performance increase across the board over the 4000 series. All told, having the first DirectX 11 laptop solution is a nice win for AMD and something that NVIDIA can’t even touch for a while let alone produce a desktop DX11 card now. AMD’s strategy on producing graphics solutions seems to be working well for them and this is another example of their hard work in getting the latest technologies out there to the consumer.