AMD appears to be jumping the gun a bit here but has decided to announce the Radeon 8000M-series of mobile GPUs prior to CES. Before you get all riled up about the next generation of graphics technology, you should know that the new parts we are showing here are still built on the same 28nm Graphics Core Now (GCN) architecture that you'll find in the Radeon HD 7000 series of desktop graphics cards and even some already-existing Radeon mobility parts like the HD 7970M. We were told there are "some changes" but details were minimal.
Radeon HD 8500M and 8600M GPUs will both feature 384 stream processors with the variance related to the maximum clock speed. The 8600M will hit 775 MHz core clock while the 8500M will cap out at 650 MHz. Memory speeds are identical. Keep in mind that the desktop Radeon HD 7750 card has 512 stream processors and it runs at up to 900 MHz so you that can put the performance of these mainstream GPUs in perspective.
The 8700M uses the same 384 stream processor GPU though it gets a bit higher clock speed at 850 MHz. The 8800M is the only GPU announced today to increase the core count to 640 stream processors and a clock speed of 700 MHz for a total compute capability of 992 GFLOPs. Though the specifications are nearly equivalent to the build of the desktop Radeon HD 7770 part it is worth mentioning that the theoretical peak performance of that GPU is 1.28 TFLOPs; nearly 30% higher than the 8800M.
AMD was coy but hinted that this mainstream product announcement will be added to later in Q1 with higher end enthusiast-level SKUs. No 8900s yet guys, check back later.
When asked about the changes in this mobility GPU release compared to the 7000M series already available today, we only know that this is built on the same 28nm process but that the "architecture is slightly different and more efficient" than the 7000 chips. These are NEW chips and are NOT rebrands of currently available products. We don't have die sizes, transistor counts or TDPs until further notice.
AMD did provide a couple of quick graphs comparing the performance of the Radeon HD 8870M against the GeForce 650M G5 and The 8770M against its own previously releaesd 7670M part. Take all of this with a grain of salt until we can do our own testing, as per usual.
For now, I would say our readers should be very timid about the idea of a new series of GPUs from AMD without more information on the actual changes in performance will be compared to Souther Islands. Based on what we are hearing the changes are very minor.