AMD Mainstream Polaris 11 Specifications Leaked

As always, most of the focus on Polaris has been on the top end chip. This has meant that much of the talk ahs been focused on the Polaris 10, the R9 390X/Fury replacement. Today though, we’ve been treated to a leak of the mainstream Polaris chip, Polaris 11. Based off of a CompuBench leak, we’re now getting a clearer picture of what Polaris 11 will look like as the Pitcairn replacement.

The specific Polaris 11 chip spotted features a total of 16CUs, for 1024 GCN 4.0 Stream Processors. This puts it right where the 7850/R7 370 is right now. Given the efficiency gains seen by the move to GCN 4.0 though, performance should fall near the 7870XT or R9 280. The move to 14nm FinFET also means the chip will be much smaller than Pitcairn currently is. Of course, this information is only for the 67FF SKU so there may be a smaller or more likely, a larger Polaris 11 in the works.

Other specifications have also been leaked, with a 1000Mhz core clock speed. Memory speed came in at 7000Mhz, with 4GB of VRAM over a 128bit bus. This gives 112GB/s of bandwidth which is a tad higher than the R7 370 before you consider that addition of delta colour compression technology. GCN 4.0 will also bring a number of other improvements tot he rest of the GPU, most importantly FreeSync support, something Pitcairn lacks.

While we can’t guarantee the same SKU was used, Polaris 11 was the GPU AMD pitted against the GTX 950 back at CES. During the benchmark of Star Wars Battlefront, the AMD system only drew 84W compared to the Nvidia system pulling 140W. For the many gamers who buy budget and mainstream cards, Polaris 11 is shaping out very well.

AMD Radeon Pro Duo Launch Date Revealed?

AMD’s answer to the Titan lineup, the Radeon Pro Duo was first revealed last month at AMD’s Capsaicin event. Navigating a line fine line between the Radeon and FirePro lineups, the new graphics cards combines two of AMD’s top end Fiji GPUs. According to VideoCardz, we may see the first Radeon Pro Duos out in the wild sooner than expected. The chip will launch in just a couple of weeks on April 29th.

The Radeon Pro Duo features a pair of 28 nm Fiji GPUs, with two sets of 4,096 stream processors, 256 TMUs, 64 ROPs, and 4 GB of 4096-bit HBM memory. This means a total of 8192 stream processors, 512 TMUs , 128 ROPs and 8GB of HBM1. While the price is a hefty $1499, you do get a very nice custom Cooler Master water cooler with it. Peak performance is a high 16TFLOPS which is still 4.4TFLOPS more than Nvidia’s Tesla P100.

From AMD’s internal benchmarks of 3DMark, the Radeon Pro Duo should smash any other card on the market by a significant margin. Games, however, tend to be more fickle and the Radeon Pro Duo does rely on CrossFire for much of its performance. Given the many issues plaguing SLI and CrossFire this year, it will be interesting to see real world performance once the card becomes available.

AMD Releases Radeon Crimson 16.4.1 Drivers

Just 5 days into the new month and AMD has already released a new set of Crimson drivers for their Radeon GPUs. The latest version out is 16.4.1, a beta version hotfix for 16.3.2 which was released just a week ago. Coming so quick after 16.3.2 and still a beta, the number of changes aren’t that many but are welcome none the less. Interestingly, there looks like there will be no 16.4 driver, with AMD choosing to jump straight to 16.4.1.

First off, support for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive is likely improved compared to 16.3.2. Furthermore, Quantum Break has received a number of optimisations, boosting performance by up to 35% in some cases. Hitman has also received some fixes to its DX11 High-Quality Shadows and frame cap issues experienced in several DX12 games have been resolved.

Even with these fixes in place, there is an ever-growing list of known issues that remain unresolved. Half of these issues have to do with Crossfire and nearly all of the other one related to bugs within AMD’s own Radeon Settings of Gaming Evolved Software. While quick and prompt driver releases are welcome, AMD needs to get to work fixing more issues rather than just another point release. Given the current track record, we may yet see 16.4.2 and 16.4.3 later this month.

AMD May Launch Radeon Polaris in June – Sneak Peak at Capsaicin

Prepare your wallets for summer 2016 because both AMD and Nvidia are going to release their new GPUs then. Yesterday, we got the first hint about Nvidia’s GTX 1080 which is reportedly launching May 27th. For AMD, the details for Polaris have always been a bit vague, with only mid-2016 being the only hint. Today, a new rumour has popped up with the suggestion that AMD will launch Polaris in June 2016. Furthermore, AMD will be providing a sneak peak of Polaris at Capsaicin next week.

A June launch puts Polaris right into the area of Computex and E3, perfect events to showcase the new GPUs. Launching at the same time as Nvidia also avoids certain issues as AMD has gotten into trouble both launching before and after Nvidia so maybe launching at the same time will be the key. Set to be on the 14nmLPP process, AMD has a good chance to snag some marketshare away from Nvidia.

Next week, we may get a few more details from AMD about what Polaris will look like in the sneak peak. One can only hope the sneak peak will be more than just a picture or another demo but something more substantive. On March 14th, AMD’s Capsaicin webcast from GDC will likely reveal FuryX2 as well as showcase some of their VR developments. With AMD having hit their worst marketshare yet recently, they have started their come back and can only up. Hopefully, Polaris will deliver what is needed.

AMD Polaris Project F GPU Revealed

With Polaris only months away, more details about what Polaris 10 and 11 will look like are coming out. According to an ex-AMD employee profile on LinkedIn, a dGPU codenamed Project F is set to be built on GlobalFounrdies and Samsung 14nm LPP process. What’s more, the Project F GPU will be 232mm2, making the chips similar in size to the 232mmof Pitcairn and Curacao from the 28nm generation of GCN.

At 232mm2, Project F is a relatively small chip for a new process. This should give AMD a low-risk option to evaluate the 2nd generation 14nm process from GlobalFounrdies and Samsung focused on performance. With the use of the new process, the number of transistors will grow massively due to the increased transistor density over 28nm. This should let Project F to pack in at least 4-5 million transistors, putting it at least into the R9 380 and 380X (359mm2) performance range before considering any architectural improvements.

Finally, by using 14nm, Project F is most likely the GPU that AMD showed off back at CES that severely trounced the GTX 950 in performance per watt. With the larger die size, it stands to reason that the demo unit was likely underclocked a bit or not allowed to turbo, letting it be much more efficient. Even at full power, AMD likely has a card that will be much more efficient than Maxwell while offering significantly improved performance over the last generation at a similar cost.

AMD Rumored to Lower R9 Fury Pricing

When AMD launched their Fiji based lineup last year, many were pleased with the performance. The use of HBM helped the Fiji cards helped them achieve better power efficiency while still maintaining the advantages of GCN. The biggest concern at the time was that Nvidia had just cut prices on their GTX 980 and 980Ti, making the Fury and Fury X somewhat disadvantaged. With the launch and holiday season behind us, it looks like AMD is finally deciding to cut prices on the vanilla Fury.

According to the rumours, this price drop is set to happen imminently and meant to better position the Fury against the GTX 980. That card currently retails about 10-20% cheaper than the Fury though the Fury does manage about 10-15% better performance overall. If the price drop comes, the Fury may offer more value relative to the GTX980.

A price drop now does make sense as Polaris is going to arrive in a few months. Cutting the prices to get rid of some inventory will help AMD and their partners be better prepared once Polaris arrives. AMD also recently cut prices on the R9 Nano as well so a cut for the Fury isn’t out of the question. Who knows, maybe the Fury X may its prices slashed as well.

AMD Polaris 10 and 11 Will Deliver Revolutionary Performance Increase

For 2016, AMD has confirmed they will be releasing at least 2 Polaris based GPUs. According to AMD’s CES presentation, these have been preliminarily dubbed Polaris 10 and 11. Based off the new Polaris architecture, the 10 is similarly sized to Cape Verde while the 11 is of similar size to Fiji and likely AMD’s 2016 flagship. With the CES demo chip likely being Polaris 10, we’re now getting word from RTG head Raja Koduri about what AMD is expecting with Polaris.

In an interview with VentureBeat, Koduri had this to say:

We have two versions of these FinFET GPUs. Both are extremely power efficient. This is Polaris 10 and that’s Polaris 11. In terms of what we’ve done at the high level, it’s our most revolutionary jump in performance so far. We’ve redesigned many blocks in our cores. We’ve redesigned the main processor, a new geometry processor, a completely new fourth-generation Graphics Core Next with a very high increase in performance. We have new multimedia cores, a new display engine.

This is very early silicon, by the way. We have much more performance optimization to do in the coming months. But even in this early silicon, we’re seeing numbers versus the best class on the competition running at a heavy workload, like Star Wars—The competing system consumes 140 watts. This is 86 watts. We believe we’re several months ahead of this transition, especially for the notebook and the mainstream market. […]

In summary, it’s fourth generation Graphics Core Next. HDMI 2.0. It supports all the new 4K displays and TVs coming out with just plug and play. It supports display core 4.3, the latest specification. It’s very exciting 4K support. We can do HAVC encode and decode at 4K on this chip. It’ll be great for game streaming at high resolution, which gamers absolutely love. It takes no cycles away from games. You can record gameplay and still have an awesome frame rate. It’ll be available in mid-2016.

As we noted in our initial Polaris coverage, AMD has heavily reworked GCN to suit the new reality. When Polaris does launch, it will likely usher in a new era for GPUs. This years is looking to be really exciting and here’s hoping it lives up to the hype.

AMD Polaris Will use HBM2 and GDDR5

Ever since HBM1 was revealed and launched with Fury X, many have been looking forwards to what HBM2 would bring along in 2016. While HBM1 brought large power savings and a major boost in memory bandwidth, it was largely limited to a relatively low 4GB capacity. HBM2, however, is set to provide a boost in capacity and bandwidth by increasing the number of stackable dies. We’re now getting reports that AMD’s upcoming Polaris chips will utilize HBM2.

As a major revamp of the GCN architecture, a Polaris flagship GPU would be the natural product to debut HBM2. A flagship GPU much more powerful than current generation chips due to the new architecture and process node would likely require more memory bandwidth to feed it and a high memory capacity as it would be meant for VR and 4K gaming. Being the largest chip in the lineup, the flagship would also benefit from the major power savings, helping offset its core power consumption. The confirmation of HBM2 also suggests that we will be getting high-end Polaris chips this year.

At the same time, AMD is also confirming that they will continue to use GDDR5 and likely GDDR5X as well. At CES, AMD showed off a low powered Polaris chip using GDDR5 that was able to provide the same performance as Nvidia’s GTX 950 but with a significantly lower power consumption. With such a leap in efficiency, the HBM2 chips will likely be light years ahead of current cards in terms of efficiency if GDDR5 already shows such massive gains.

AMD Polaris GPU Architecture Offically Unveiled

First leaked yesterday, we’re now able to bring you the full AMD presentation on their upcoming Polaris GPU architecture. Set to ship mid-2016, Polaris will be using a 14/16nm FinFET process and bring massive power consumption and efficiency improvements. According to RTG SVP Raja Koduri, AMD says the massive potential that would come out of moving to FinFETs and a lower process node at the same time and decided to design a new architecture just for that.

Not surprisingly, the biggest focus is on the efficiency side of things. AMD is claiming a historic leap in performance per watt that any Radeon GPU has ever seen. The key to this is the new compute units for Polaris, or GCN 4.0. While we can expect much remains similar to past GCN revisions, the new release will be adding more parts to make the chip more efficient. A more efficient hardware scheduler, primitive discard accelerator and improved memory compression are expected to help as well. While HBM(2) will help reduce power consumption, GDDR5X models will be launched first.

To show off their improved efficiency, AMD showed off working Polaris silicon with presumably GDDR5X. Facing off against a GTX 950 in an identical system, the Polaris part managed to pull 1.65x less power from the wall as a whole. Using only 86W total compared to the 140W on the Nvidia card. This was while both cards were running Star Wars Battlefront at 1080p 60fps. Even if some of the gains are coming from the FinFETs and die shrink, that is still pretty impressive as AMD has been lagging behind on this front. The demo GPU was made using Globalfoundries 14nm FinFET process fo what it’s worth but expect some 16nm parts from TSMC as well.

Just as AMD has done with previous GCN releases, Polaris will also see other parts of the modular system upgraded. These include the Command Processor, Geometry Processor, Multimedia Cores, Display Engine, L2 Cache and Memory Controller. For the Multimedia Cores, the biggest additions are support for 4K HEVC (h.265) encoding and decoding at 60 FPS which should be welcome as well as AMD continues to push HDR. On the connectivity side, DisplayPort 1.3, and, at long last, HDMI 2.0a are supported.

For AMD, 2016 will be a critical year as both their GPU and CPU get a major architectural overhaul at the same time they get a major process upgrade. If executed well, this may finally pull AMD out of it’s slow decline and bring the firmly back into the black. Whether that happens remains to be seen.

AMD Polaris Next-Gen GPU Details Leaked

Despite the Polaris launch still some time away, AMD is set to start releasing details for their upcoming graphics architecture. According to the leak, AMD will be revealing some key details to their post-GCN plans tomorrow. The biggest takeaway so far from Polaris is that AMD is moving onto their GCN 4.0 or 4th generation Graphics Core Next. This will be the first AMD GPUs to be manufactured using FinFETs and on a 14/16nm process.

AMD has stuck with the basic building blocks of GCN since it’s initial debut with Tahiti in early 2012. That was GCN 1.0 and further revisions came via GCN 1.1 in 2013 and 2015 with GCN 1.2. While AMD tends to use GCN 2.0 and GCN 3.0 when referring to the 2013 and 2015 releases, those updates haven’t been that drastic, and not quite deserving a full point bump. This time around, it looks like AMD is releasing something that is more deserving for jumping a full 1.0.

The key part of the update is undoubtedly the new GCN 4.0 units. While the leak details are a bit scant, AMD is planning on the introduction of the FinFETs to dramatically improve performance and efficiency. Other updated units include the Command Processor, Geometry Processor, Multimedia Cores, Display Engine, L2 Cache and Memory Controller. These updates should tie into helping AMD improve on their front end, increased compatibility with DX12/Vulcan, increased video decoding/encoding support, a greater colour space and better memory performance.

With AMD willing to start sharing some Polaris details with us, one can hope that these new chips will start launching soon. As the event happens, we will be sure to bring you more up to date and accurate information.

Images Courtesy of Videocardz

AMD’s Next-Gen GPU Architecture Code-Named Polaris

AMD is on the roll with their latest GPU announcements this half of the year. After spinning off their graphics department into the Radeon Technologies Group, AMD announced their new GPUOpen initiative and a new Crimson Edition for their Catalyst drivers. On the hardware side of things, we’re now getting more information on their upcoming Greenland GPUs. Set to debut with their first post-GCN design; the new architecture is codenamed Polaris.

Named after the North Star, Polaris will be the “guiding lights [that] power every pixel on every device efficiently. Stars are the most efficient photon generators of our universe. Their efficiency is the inspiration for every pixel we generate.” Notably, the statement hits home on two key targets AMD is aiming for, namely better pixels in the form of HDR and improved efficiency in order to reduce power consumption.

While the Pixel initiative will undoubtedly be interesting, the biggest part will likely be the efficiency. AMD has stuck with GCN quite a long time and right now, Nvidia’s Maxwell trumps GCN 1.2 in the efficiency category. With the whole new Polaris architecture to build upon, it will be interesting to see what approach AMD has taken to gain better efficiency. Combined with the new 14/16nm process nodes and HBM2, 2016 should be a pretty good year for AMD.

AMD Chose to Delay R9 Fury X2

Originally set to debut before the holiday season, it’s no surprise now that AMD is delaying their R9 Gemini Fury X2 to 2016. AMD is officially confirming that the delays in shipping and launching the Fury X2 are not due to supply issues but rather due to their perceived market being unready.

According to AMD, the Fury X2 is meant to be targeted towards VR (Virtual Reality) users like those using Oculus Rift or Steam VR. Those project however, have faced delays that pushed them into 2016. Because of this, AMD has decided to hold back Fury X2 so they can launch their dual-GPU at the same time as VR headsets are released. AMD probably wants some of the synergy the VR headsets will bring since it requires a higher level of graphics power to properly utilize VR. AMD has confirmed that various press and engineering samples are already in circulation.

The product schedule for Fiji Gemini had initially been aligned with consumer HMD availability, which had been scheduled for Q415 back in June. Due to some delays in overall VR ecosystem readiness, HMDs are now expected to be available to consumers by early Q216. To ensure the optimal VR experience, we’re adjusting the Fiji Gemini launch schedule to better align with the market. Working samples of Fiji Gemini have shipped to a variety of B2B customers in Q415, and initial customer reaction has been very positive.

While AMD undoubtedly did their own calculations, it seems that holding back Gemini may hurt AMD int he long run. The firm has been bleeding market share for the past while and a new launch with Fury X2 could have given them vital sales. A late Gemini  launch also runs smack into Pascal and Greenland, both set to feature copious amounts ofHBM2, while Gemini remains limited to the 4GB of HBM1. With this in mind, it really seems that AMD should have launched Gemini earlier if they could and when VR did launch, there would be nothing stopping users from picking up Fury X2 then as well.

AMD to Launch Next-Gen Greenland on 14nm in Summer 2016

AMD has largely been building off of GCN since its initial debut in 2011, with incremental improvements  made via GCn 1.1 and 1.2. Combined with the limitations of having to use the 28nm process, the GPU space hasn’t seen any great gains of late. However, that is set to change soon with the arrival of AMD’s new Greenland and Nvidia’s Pascal architectures. We’re now getting some information that Greenland will launch in Summer 2016 and what’s more, jump straight to 14nm.

Greenland was rumoured to use the 14nm process from Samsung/Globalfoundries, eschewing the 16nm from TSMC, their usual supplier. If this is the case, AMD and Nvidia’s cards will not only have different architectures but finally different process nodes. Greenland manufacturing is to begin in June with the launch to be held sometime in late summer, in time for the back to school and holiday sales.

AMD had previously confirmed that the 14nm process would be used for GPUs but this is a major change in strategy. Globalfoundries and Samsung are also expected to use the 14nm process to make AMD’s next-gen Zen CPU as well. From an integration standpoint, it does make it easier for AMD to produce APUs since both the CPU and GPU will target the same node. Combined with HBM2, next years GPU and CPU launches should be pretty eventful.

AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition Goes WHQL With 15.12

When AMD launched their new Radeon Software Crimson Edition 3 weeks ago, it was actually using a beta version of the Radeon drivers. Today, AMD has updated Crimson to use official v15.30 WHQL drivers with Crimson v15.12. Along with official WHQL status, the new release also includes a numbers of fixes and improvements over the beta driver bundled with the original Crimson launch.

Chief among the fixes is the one where some AMD cards were stuck at 30% fan speed. This caused some cards to overheat under load and become physically damaged. The WHQL drivers include the hotfix that AMD quickly released to address the issue. You can find the full changelog here.

On the other hand, some other issues still remain. For overclockers, the most galling is one where clock speeds and voltages don’t get applied properly after a reboot. This appears to be an incompatibility between AMD Overdrive and third-party tools like Afterburner.

While the launch of Radeon Software Crimson Edition was pretty good overall and ushered in a new era for AMD, things look like they were a bit rushed. For such an important release, it may have been more worthwhile for AMD to have waited to get WHQL certification before launching.

XFX Plans Water-cooled AMD Radeon R9 Fury

AMD has been jumping right onto the water-cooling bandwagon lately with their reference cards. Both the R9 295X2 and the R9 Fury X featured superb liquid-cooling in order to keep their hot chips cool. Even Nvidia cards have seen some liquid cooled options like the MSI Sea Hawk 980Ti. Now XFX is joining in with their own liquid-cooled solution for the R9 Fury.

Based off the same Fiji die as the Fury X, the Fury features a cut-down version with only 3,584 stream processors. Despite this, the Fury performs quite close to its older sibling. Another differentiator is that the Fury X is non-customizable by the AIB partners, meaning the stock liquid cooling cannot be changed. With the Fury though, AIB partners are free to do what they want and it looks like XFX has gone this route.

XFX has pretty much taken a Fury X card but swapped out the chip for the Fury and overclocked it. Essentially, this is what you would get when you buy a Fury X but with the Fury inside instead. This is quite interesting as the other Furys have all been air-cooled so far. This card will have to navigate the narrow gap between the Fury and Fury X in order to be viable. It will be interesting to see where XFX will price this card.

Thank you Videozardz for providing us with this information

AMD Estimates it Will Make Over 50% of its Revenue From Non-PC Sales Next Year

AMD is moving into 2015 with an interesting twist, with the company predicting that half of their profit margin will be secured from outside of the PC market by late 2015. This move was announced at the Credit Suisse 18th Annual Technology Conference.

Devinder Kumar, AMD’s Chief Financial Officer said “Our next target point is by the time we get to the end of 2015 to have at least 50 percent of our business coming from the non-PC, non-traditional sector, and then we will see what happens after that.” The company is already close to 40% non-PC share, which is a 10% increase from last year as it is. Q3 earnings saw AMD receiving $1.43 billion, where $781 million of that came from their computing and graphics business. $648 million, or around 45% was secured from its enterprise, embedded and semi-custom SoC business. This includes its Opteron server processors, and chips that are used in various consoles (previous, and current generation) that feature x86-based AMD APUs.

The company has, and is still struggling financially, but it has been steadily expanding into other markets which are finally starting to provide AMD with some stability, and much future growth. The PC market has been AMD’s money-maker for decades, but it looks like this will shrink 6% or so year-on-year until around 2018 according to IDC. We should see AMD continuing to expand into 2015, with some interesting new drivers dropping next week according to rumours, and some next-gen GPUs in 2015.

Source: TechSpot.

AMD’s Upcoming Radeon R9 390X Could Feature 4096-bit Memory Bus!

We only just posted two articles about a couple of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 900 series cards, so maybe AMD noticed and thought it would be a good time to tease their upcoming Radeon R9 390X. We only reported on the Fiji XT a couple of days ago, but now we’re hearing much more detailed specs on what this behemoth will end up arriving as.

According to leaked information, the R9 390X would have a 4096-bit memory bus, and while that might sound impressive – consider this, the current GeForce GTX 980 has a 256-bit memory bus, and memory bandwidth of around 224GB/sec. The R9 390X on the other hand, according to these rumors, would be plugging away inside of your PC with 640GB/sec of memory bandwith.

This is all thanks to the use of High-Bandwidth Memory chips (HBM) that have a 1024-bit IO interface – four of those stacked together (2Gb DRAM dies) equals a huge 4096-bit memory bus. My head is still spinning at this, so let’s just hope these rumors turn out to be true.

Source: KitGuru, TweakTown.

AMD Fiji XT is Being Tested Internally, Here Comes the Next-Gen Radeon

Here we go, guys and girls – the first ‘official’ teases to AMD’s next-generation GPU codenamed Fiji XT. KitGuru and VideoCardz.com are reporting that Team Red are testing the new GPU internally, with the Zauba.com data base (which monitors imports and exports in and out of India) that AMD’s office in India has received a “printed circuit board assembly (video graphic card) C880 Fiji XT P/N.102-C88001-00”.

This is the first Fiji XT sample that has been sent to India, so we should be cautious about this – we’re not going to hear anything official for a few months yet. And with NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 900 series kicking all sorts of ass, AMD is going to want – nigh, need – to get this card right. The fight is going to be with AMD’s Radeon R9 390X, and NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 980 – that is, however, if NVIDIA doesn’t jump over the GTX 980 and release a next-gen GPU sooner.

Source: KitGuru.