Alienware, AMD

(Image credit: Alienware, AMD)

AMD is launching the first laptop GPU based on a chiplet design. The Radeon RX 7900M will debut exclusively in the Alienware m18, which will be available in conjunction with AMD’s Ryzen 7000 series laptops as an AMD Advantage design.

The Radeon 7900M has 72 AMD RDNA 3 compute units and 16GB of GDDR6 VRAM, second-generation ray tracing accelerators, and two dedicated AI accelerators per CU. It also supports AV1 encode and decode. AV1 encode support is enabled in OBS for streamers. The media engine uses machine learning from Xilinx to create high quality text in lower resolution or low-bitrate streams.

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Header Cell – Column 0 AMD Radeon RX 7900M
Compute Units 72 (Unified AMD RDNA 3)
RT Accelerators 72 (Second gen)
AI Accelerators 144
Game Clock 1,825 MHz
Boost Clock Up to 2,090 MHz
GDDR6 Memory 16GB
Memory Interface 256 Bit
Memory Speed 18 Gbps
AMD Infinity Cache 64MB (second gen)
AV1 Support Hardware Encode/Decode
Total Graphics Power Up to 180W

AMD is positioning the RX 7900M as a laptop GPU for fast gaming at 1440p, and is suggesting it’s an alternative to the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 Laptop GPU. Based on its selection of games, AMD claims the 7900M is 7% faster than the RTX 4080, and AMD claims its GPU gets even faster when you factor in AMD Hypr-RX and FSR 3.

AMD Radeon RX7900m benchmarks.

(Image credit: AMD)

The GPU will use a lot of power, though, with AMD claiming it goes up to 180W of TGP. In its materials, Alienware suggests the graphics card can range from 160W to 200W with SmartShift Max. I’ve seen Nvidia’s RTX 4090 Laptop GPUs use 175W, providing more performance for less power.

The AMD Advantage Alienware m18 launches today, starting at $2,799 with be a Ryzen 9 7945HX, Radeon 7900M, 32GB of RAM, 1TB of storage, and the 480 Hz, 1920 x 1200 display. (That 1920 x 1200 display despite AMD’s claims of its GPU being a 1440p powerhouse.) Other configuration options will include going up to 64GB of RAM, bumping up to anywhere between 2TB and 8.5TB of storage, and either a standard Alienware or CherryMX keyboard.

Existing configurations, including both Intel and AMD CPUs and Nvidia GPUs, will also remain on the market. The laptop will be available on Dell’s website, followed by certain Best Buy stores and Best Buy’s website later on.

This Alienware m18 is in the same chassis as the one we reviewed earlier this year — it’s not an entirely new system, just a new configuration. That means you still get a heavy, 18-inch laptop, and get many of the same options for displays in varying configurations (165 Hz, 2560 x 1600 or 480 Hz, 1920 x 1200), memory (up to 64GB), and storage (including up to 8.5TB with three SSDs). 

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Header Cell – Column 0 Alienware m18
CPU Up to AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX
GPU Up to AMD Radeon RX 7900M (16GB GDDR6), Up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 (16GB GDDR6)
RAM Up to 64GB DDR5
Storage Up to 8.5TB (2x 4TB + 512GB) PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
Display 18-inch, 16:10, 2560 x 1600, 165 Hz or 1920 x 1200, 480 Hz, AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync
Battery 97 WHr
Power Adapter 330W
Networking MediaTek Wi-Fi MT7922 (Radeon RX 7900M only), Qualcomm Wi-Fi 6E WCN6856-DBS (other models), Bluetooth 5.2

As with other AMD Advantage laptops, the combination of the company’s CPUs and GPUs allow for the use of AMD Smart Technologies. Those include AMD SmartShift Max, which moves power between the CPU and GPU to based on your workload; SmartAccess Graphics to automatically switch to the discrete GPU for gaming; Smart Access Memory, granting access to to Ryzen processors to the Radeon’s graphics memory; and AMD SmartAccess Video, which separates the encoding and decoding workloads between the CPU and GPU.

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Andrew E. Freedman is a senior editor at Tom’s Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming. He also keeps up with the latest news. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Tom’s Guide, Laptop Mag, Kotaku, PCMag and Complex, among others. Follow him on Twitter: @FreedmanAE

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