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Laptop users rejoice! You can now experience the graphics of DX 11 applications and games alongside unparalleled HD video transcoding power on your laptops, just a little over 3 months after the world’s first DX11 capable graphics card was released, the ATI Radeon HD 5970.
AMD has launched its ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5000 series graphics cards at CES 2010, offering a slew of GPU models, numbering 12 in all, ranging from DX 11 capable processors at the high-end to DX 10.1 at the low end. DX 11 requires a compatible operating system of Windows Vista or 7, and provides such cutting edge graphics processing as DirectCompute, hardware tessellation, and improved multi-threading support, to truly make use of today’s multi-core processors.
2009 was a great year for AMD, especially its ATI brand, which launched its ATI Radeon HD 5000 series that delivered unprecedented computing power, outperforming the older HD 4000 series by more than 40%. With Nvidia’s further delaying the launch of its Fermi processor to later this March, it looks like ATI can bask in top-spot glory for a little while longer. A year ago, if anyone would have said ATI would replace Nvidia as number one, they would probably have been scoffed at. But when ATI recently unveiled the most powerful GPU ever, the ATI Radeon HD 5970, Nvidia really seemed to have taken the backseat, at least until the Fermi’s out.
ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5000 series graphics cards can be divided into two rungs, those that feature 128-bit video memory interface, and those that feature 64-bit interfaces. The Mobility Rasdeon HD 5800/5700/5600 series feature 128-bit interfaces, and offer DX 11 graphics. The Mobility Radeon HD 5400 series, is the only 64-bit video memory interface GPU with DX 11 graphics out of ATI’s stable, while the HD 51X5 (5165 series and 5145 series) family features DX 10.1 graphics.
Conscious of laptop user’s biggest dilemma, battery life, most of the new ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5000 series graphics cards have TDP’s of 30W or lower, dropping to as low as 7W. The top-end Mobility Radeon HD 5870 GPU (700Mhz Core Clock Speed, 1 GB GDDR5 1Ghz Video Memory) however, pack a punch at about 50W, and it will be interesting to see which laptops will house this monster, and how they will ensure a usable battery-lifespan. The entire series (except the DX 10.1 HD 51X5 family) are based on an advanced 40nm manufacturing process (they seem to finally have got their yields on track), and this will also help the energy efficiency, as will the new Vari-Bright technology, which can reduce up to 50% of power consumption with new hardware support. Laptop users will also enjoy the power of ATI’s Eyefinity Technology, and be able to use up to 6 displays simultaneously. You can find a detailed list of specifications here.