AMD hasn’t done much with its laptop GPUs this generation, but that’s changing. The company revealed the new Radeon RX 7900M, a mobile GPU that targets the performance of Nvidia’s RTX 4080.
Although AMD announced laptop GPUs at the beginning of the year, we haven’t seen them in very many laptops. It appears this is changing. The RX 7900M is first arriving in the Alienware m18 laptop with AMD’s Ryzen 9 7945HX processor. AMD hasn’t said yet whether we’ll see more laptops with GPUs, but it looks like we should only expect high-end, desktop replacement-class machines.
As for performance, AMD says the RX 7900M is built for 1440p gaming, and it’s 7% faster than the RTX 4080 on average. In actual numbers, AMD says it achieved an average of 104 frames per second (fps) across 30 games.
Crucially, that average includes ray tracing benchmarks. AMD generally shies away from ray tracing, mainly due to the fact that Nvidia dominates there. However, AMD is claiming gains of 2% to 6% in some games Far Cry 6, Resident Evil 4, Dead Space, And Predicted. AMD also suffers in some ray tracing games, with titles like forza horizon 5 Showing a 15% loss compared to Nvidia’s mobile RTX 4080.
However, there is something wrong with these benchmarks. AMD’s slides revealed that the RTX 4080 machine was an unnamed Aorus laptop with half the RAM and an Intel Core i7-13700H. It’s not exactly a fair fight based on specs alone. AMD seems to be testing it against the Aorus 17H, which is smaller than the Alienware m18 and doesn’t feature the extra 25-watt boost for Total Graphics Power (TGP) that the RTX 4080 is capable of. Based on all this, a difference of 7% may be very small in a real head-to-head fight.
That seems to be the case considering the amount of power the RX 7900M can draw. As always, laptop brands are free to adjust the TGP to meet their form factor and design goals, but AMD says the card can reach up to 180W of power. Presumably, the Alienware M18 is getting the full power that the card is capable of.
As for other specifications, the RX 7900M has 16GB of GDDR6 memory, 72 RDNA 3 compute units and ray tracing accelerators, 144 AI accelerators, and access to a boost clock speed of up to 2,090MHz. Those specifications put it ahead of the desktop RX 7800 XT in the amount of raw power on tap, but with a smaller power envelope, the mobile RX 7900M probably won’t top desktop cards.
As for the Alienware M18, it’s an AMD Advantage laptop, meaning it sports both an AMD CPU and GPU, and has access to AMD smart technologies like Smart Access Memory and SmartShift Max. Apart from the AMD components, the laptop comes with up to 64GB of DDR5-4800 memory and up to 8.5TB of NVMe storage. You can configure it with a 2,560 x 1,600 165Hz display or a 1,920 x 1,200 480Hz display, similar to the Alienware x17 R2. The laptop is available now starting at $2,800.