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AMD announced the Radeon HD 8970M to round off the Radeon HD 8000M series of discrete mobile graphics processors with the MSI GX70 laptop being the launch vehicle for the high-end part.

AMD's Radeon 8000-series are a rebranding of the firm's well received Radeon 7000-series sporting the same Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture and 28nm lithography. At present AMD has saved the Radeon 8000 branded GPUs for laptops and Richland accelerated processing units, and has topped the range off with the Radeon HD 8970M.

On paper AMD's Radeon HD 8970M reads more like a GPU compute accelerator rather than a gaming powerhouse, though the firm waxed lyrical to journalists about DirectX 11 games performance. AMD's top-of-the-line chip sports 1280 "stream" processors clocked at 850MHz that can be boosted to 900MHz.

All of this means AMD's Radeon HD 8970M has a theoretical peak single precision floating point compute performance of 2.3 TFLOPS, while double precision floating point performance sits at 144 GLOPS. The firm cited clock speeds for the memory being 1,200MHz, suggesting that the Radeon HD 8970M will only be coupled with GDDR5 memory rather than the lower bandwidth DDR3 that is an option for laptop makers on lesser Radeon HD 8000M chips. In the case of MSI's GX70 laptop, which will be the first laptop to use the Radeon HD 8970M GPU, the firm has opted for 2GB GDDR5.

MSI's GX70 laptop, a machine that was first shown off in March at Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. MSI's machine is far from a thin and light but then again neither AMD nor MSI intend the Radeon HD 8970M to end up in such machines.

While AMD promoted DirectX 11 gaming performance of its Radeon HD 8970M, the compute performance of the chip will make it an interesting choice for OpenCL developers that want serious single-precision floating point performance but don't want to shell out extra cash for a laptop sporting workstation-branded graphics such as Nvidia's Quadro chips.

AMD's Radeon HD 8970M is a niche product but it will suit those that want serious OpenCL performance from their laptops and gamers who want to game on multiple screens when they are not at LAN parties.