With the reddit AMA now behind us, we can share with you some of the answers that we felt were the highlight of the question period. As expected, AMD was a bit light on details and specifics about Polaris but there were a number of important and new pieces of information.
The biggest news is that Polaris will be using the 14nm LPP FinFET process from GlobalFoundries, not a mix of 14nm LPP and 16nm FinFET+ from TSMC as previous leaked. This means Nvidia and AMD will no longer be sharing a process node for their CPUs. It also means that AMD’s GPU and CPU lineups will now be using the same process, simplifying things for APUs. Furthermore, the Taiwan earthquake that hit TSMC won’t impact Polaris yields and timeline as well. Polaris is also confirmed once again for a mid-2016 launch. Polaris will also bring Display Port 1.3 support as well.
Another confirmation is the move that AMD started in 2014 with a big annual driver release with major feature additions spaced out with point releases for specific fixes and optimizations. Those hoping that RTG would speed up driver updates to implement more features faster will be disappointed. For hardware, Fiji Gemini has already debuted for B2B customers and shipped to them but consumer launch is still waiting for HMD VR, a mistake in my mind.
Other tidbits include the fact that the LiquidVR SDK has support Affinity Multi-GPU which will allow a dedicated GPU for each eye in VR. VR is also expected to make use of TrueAudio, something that PC has shunned but consoles have picked up a bit on. There are also 25 million active daily users for AMD’s Gaming Evolved application.
Finally, AMD revealed that the optimal tessellation amount for GCN is 8-16x. Beyond that, there will be a heavy performance hit for no real gain in visual fidelity *cough* HairWorks/GameWorks. VSR or virtual super resolution is also performance free with GCN. There will be more Polaris details as we get closer to launch so stay tuned.