Navi 31 inside a laptop? AMD aren’t taking any prisoners in their pursuit of obtaining mobility market share.

I really don’t like laptops and notebooks, especially considering their portable nature really hinders actual system performance versus desktop components, they demand a massive price premium despite the fact that both AMD and NVIDIA repackage lower end chips and components to be sold as higher-end SKUs strictly on mobile devices.

The whole concept have never really appealed to me and it still doesn’t, especially knowing that all laptop devices are BGA garbage with zero upgradeability.

The name of the game for mobile devices is efficiency, preserving battery life and eking as as much performance as possible with as little wattage consumed as possible, naturally AMD has never really had a foothold in this particular market which has been utterly dominated by Intel Core processors and NVIDIA GeForce graphics.

AMD had the perfect opportunity to strike the mobility iron while it was still hot with the Radeon RX 6000 series, where NVIDIA had repurposed their GA104 core, the same featured on their RTX 3070 graphics card as the creme-dela creme of the RTX 3000 series mobility series as the RTX 3080 Mobile.

This is common nature now, AMD themselves could have very well offered a somewhat cut down RX 6800 for mobility usage but instead opted to utilize their smaller Navi 22 core (RX 6700 XT) as the Radeon RX 6800M, but then again not many people opt to buy high-end performance mobile devices.

AMD have already came out of the gate with a pathetic whimper for mobile graphics solutions with their new RDNA 3 series, releasing the Radeon RX 7600M and 7600M XT which are hardly present inside OEM machines and offer lackluster performance all-round, but rather than introducing a potential Radeon RX 7700M or 7800M AMD have instead gone straight for NVIDIA’s throat in tackling their more prominent RTX 4080 Mobile with AMD announcing the Radeon RX 7900M.

Shockingly enough the 7900M rightfully deserves the name, given how it features their largest chip, Navi 31 albeit in a more or less limited fashion with just 72 Compute Units equaling 4608 Stream Processors.

So the 7900M is an even more limited and cutdown SKU than the Chinese / OEM exclusive Radeon RX 7900 GRE which comes with 5120 cores (80 Compute Units), AMD are still looking to assert themselves in the high performance mobile sector with the Radeon RX 7900M coming equipped with 16GB of 16Gbps GDDR6 memory across a 256-bit memory bus.

With a Total Graphics Power rating of up to 180 watts it’s still not quite as efficient as NVIDIA’s offerings which peak at 150-175W but it certainly packs more of a wallop.

The first laptop to feature the Radeon RX 7900M will be Dell and their Alienware M18 R1, a model that already features the Radeon RX 7600M XT. What distinguishes this laptop is the incorporation of the AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX3D processor, AMD’s flagship 16-core Zen4 mobile chip enhanced with 3D V-Cache technology.

This powerful fusion of CPU and GPU is poised to thrust AMD back into the upper echelons of enthusiast gaming benchmarks.

AMD’s official marketing material showcases the Radeon RX 7900M outpacing NVIDIA’s RTX 4080 Laptop GPU by an average of 7%, across a variety of games at 1440p resolution, though in typical fashion the achilles heel of RDNA 3 remains to be its inferior performance when it comes to Ray Tracing which exclusively remains scarce in adoption let alone actual graphical enhancement, it remains to be an extremely niche gimmick several generations later after its inclusion with NVIDIA’s RTX 2000 series.

In terms of actual rasterization performance the Radeon RX 7900M paints a different picture entirely, beating out the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Mobile, which utilizes a lower end AD104 core paired with just 12GB of GDDR6 memory by the tune of 11.4% on average when excluding all RT performance figures.

And this is in fact an accurate comparison, given how the Radeon RX 7900M inside of the Alienware M18 is configured to a TGP value of 160W, however this can be pushed to a maximum of 200W thanks to AMD’s SmartShift technology, but realistically speaking 200 watts on a mobile device is outrageous, dare I even say a potential fire hazard.

The system equipped with the RX 7900M is set to hit the market at a price of $2,800, a very high cost, but not entirely surprising when you take into account that GeForce RTX “4080” fitted laptops more often than not necessitate a higher price.

However you can also find various RTX 4080 equipped laptops that are around $2,800, though majority of which cost well over $3,000 and there’s even one as low as $2,550 so your results will vary.

At first glance the best competing laptop in regards to specs, hardware and price would be the ASUS ROG Strix G18, but even still I’d rather pay $110 extra for the 7945HX3D which trounces the Intel Core i9-13980HX in terms of efficiency and outright gaming performance, combine this with the vastly superior Radeon RX 7900M and you’ve got yourself a vastly more capable machine that’s bound to offer a much greater gaming experience and longevity.

However, as is often the case with AMD Radeon mobility products, there is a lingering question about whether this graphics card will actually find its way into other devices. AMD manages to only form partnerships with only a limited number of OEM vendors and even then exclusive to specific regions. While there have been few announcements concerning new laptops housing the RX 7600M XT, it has however garnered more adoption than the Radeon RX 6700M ever managed.

But I’m certain that the Radeon RX 7900M, while very powerful and capable, will undoubtedly become even more niche, but nowhere as niche as laptops fitted with the AD103 based “RTX 4090 Mobile”, to get better gaming performance than the 7900M you can look forward to paying around $3,900+ for the privilege.

I look forward to Chinese merchants taking these graphics chips apart and repurposing them as a discrete GPU solution.