Let’s continue with the second entry of our guide to laptop graphics cards. In this entry, we’ll talk abou tthe options AMD offers within this sector, keeping in mind that, unfortunately, the Sunnyvale company’s presence on the market is not as prominent as NVIDIA’s and that it’s not easy to find mid-range laptop graphics cards from AMD.
This means that looking for a laptop with an AMD graphics card will take more work than usual, or that we may not find one at all, a reality that doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon.
Despite all that we can find very interesting, brilliant solutions from the red giant in this sector (for example on the low end) that give life to very economical laptops. So if we’re thinking of getting a laptop for gaming on a very small budget, laptops with AMD APUs are an option we should really consider.
Without further ado, let’s explore the main laptop graphical solutions the California firm offers, following the same scheme as the previous guide and attaching its approximate table-talk equivalent. As always we urge you to post your opinions and questions in the comments section.
You can find the first part of the guide to NVIDIA graphics card at this link.
Low-end graphics cards.
At the low end we’ve grouped cards that allow us to play on generally low resolutions and at low or medium quality, depending on the game in question.
Just like in the NVIDIA guide, the latest models in this section run the majority of games fairly well at 720p and medium quality, and because of that they fit into the low to middle range.
For older or less-demanding games they can offer excellent performance, running at up to 1080p and high quality, but in general they can’t do the same for more advanced and more demanding games.
This category is a great option for casual players with tight budgets or for those who don’t mind sacrificing graphics quality for fluid gameplay.
Most common integrated graphics cards:
- Radeon HD 8350G: Basic integrated GPU with 128 stream processors. It has no dedicated graphics memory and thus uses the system’s memory, so it’s recommended that anyone using this card has a laptop with at least 6 GB of RAM. It’s performance is similar to that of a desktop Radeon 6450.
- Radeon HD 8550G: Another integrated GPU that offers a performance similar to that of the old HD 7570M. Has 256 stream processors and a 64-bit bus and its performance is very inferior to that of the R7 240, but it’s the closest equivalent. Just like the previous option, it lacks dedicated graphics memory.
Options with dedicated graphics memory:
- Radeon HD 8550M: Integrates 384 stream processors and a 64-bit bus with up to 2 GB of DDR3. Its performance is similar to the desktop R7 250 with DDR3. The HD 8570M is identical to this option except that it comes with a small boost in the GPU’s operating frequencies.
- Radeon HD 8570M: This one has been renamed the R7 M260 in different variantions, including the R7 M260X, maintaining its general specs and distinguishing itself by the GPU’s operating frequencies, which are slightly superior in the renamed models. It has 384 stream processors and a 128-bit bus, with up to 4 GB of DDR3 or 2 GB of GDDR5. Obviously the GDDR5 version is more interesting since it offers better bandwidth. Its performance is almost identical to an R7 250 with DDR3 or GDDR5, according to the version.
A note before we finish: AMD offers a wide quantity of solutions in this category that often are redundant or result in differences so small they’re inappreciable, so we’ve tried to simplify and compile the most representative and popular models.
Mid-range graphics cards
This section includes those solutions that offer a more-than-sufficient performance for gaming at 900p with medium, high, or even ultra quality, according to the demands of the game in question.
It’s important to point out once more that, with these graphics cards, older or less-demanding games can run at up to 1080p with medium or high quality, but this won’t be possible for games that are more demanding.
Within this category we include an option that, certainly, is medium-high range, though its name would lead us to believe its high range: the R9 M290X. This card can run nearly anything at 1080p and high quality or, in some cases, ultra, but, as we’ve said, it’s not quite accurate to say it’s a top-range product.
Solutions like the R9 M280X still haven’t arrived on the market and it doesn’t seem like they will, but for you all to get an idea in case I’m wrong, I’ll tell you that it will have 896 stream processors, a 128-bit bus, GDDR5, and will be almost equal to a Radeon HD 7790/R7 260X.
- Radeon R9 M270: has 640 stream processors and a 128-bit bus along with 4 GB GDDR5. Its general performance is very good since it’s almost equal to a Radeon HD 7770/R7 250X. The Radeon HD 8850M and HD 8870M are identical and differ only in their clock frequen
- Radeon R9 M290X: Yes, it has the name of a top of the line solution, but in reality, we should consider it a high midrange gamma GPU, since it features 1,280 stream processors and a 256 bits bus. It can carry up to 4 GB of GDDR5 memory and it offers a similar performance to the Radeon HD 7870/R9 270. It is a renaming of the previous Radeon HD 8970M.
High gamma graphic cards.
The only solution that AMD offers for the portable sector today, that we can consider high gamma is the new R9 M295X based on the Tonga chip. With this graphic card we can play without any problems on 1080p and even on 2K resolutions, obviously depending on the concrete demands of each game.
- R9 295X: Definetly one of the biggest surprises from AMD that has finally refreshed the range of high performance solutions in the portable line of the firm. It features 2,048 stream processors, 256 bits bus and even 4GB of GDDR5. Its performance level approximately equals that of a desktop Radeon HD 7970/R9 280X.