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AMD Radeon HD 8000M preview: Solar System

The AMD Radeon HD 8000M is based on the second generation of its Graphics Core Next architecture and will be produced with a 28nm manufacturing process. Codenamed Solar System, the four chips will cover everything from entry-level graphics cards to high-end ones.

The GPUs work with both GDDR3 and GDDR5 memory, which provides manufacturers with plenty of flexibility for different configurations and pricing. The Radeon HD 8000 GPUs are compatible with DirectX 11.1, the version that's part of Windows 8. They're based on an updated version of the Graphics Core Next architecture, even if it's not clear what specifically has been changed compared to the 700 series. AMD claims that both the performance-per-watt and the total performance have been improved, along with AMD's Enduro technology for optimising the GPU's performance. This is supposed to provide optimum energy-efficiency, which in turn should increase the battery life of laptops.

Endure will be more customisable by the user than before. It's the counterpart of Nvidia's Optimus technology, and works with both AMD's own APUs and Intel processors. The supported operating systems are Windows 7, Windows 8 Standard, Windows 8 Pro and Linux. AMD's ZeroCore technology is supposed to lower the power usage of inactive GPUs, along with Power Gating which also improves energy-efficiency.

AMD claims to have improved the quality of photos and video playback, and to have optimised post-processing options. All this should lead to improved graphical performance - something we'll put to the test as soon as we get a sample.

AMD expects the ultra-thin form factor notebooks (Ultrabook is an Intel name) to gain an increasing market share over the coming year. Another important product for AMD can be CiiNow, a cloud service that can steam video games. The company also expects an increasing demand for GPGPU software for addressing GPUS in order to accelerate tasks such as photo and video editing. The Radeon HD 8000M series is supposed to take advantage of this. You can read the rest of AMD Radeon HD 8000M preview on (opens in new tab).