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Upcoming AMD "Polaris" and "Vega" GPU Compute Unit Counts Surface

AMD's upcoming GPUs based on the "Polaris" and "Vega" architectures appear to be taking advantage of performance/Watt gains to keep stream processor counts low, and chips small, according to a VideoCardz analysis of curious-looking CompuBench entries. Assuming that a Graphics CoreNext (GCN) compute unit (CU) of the "Polaris" architecture, like the three versions of GCN before it, consists of 64 stream processors, AMD's Polaris 11 silicon, codenamed "Baffin," could feature over 1,024 stream processors, across 16 CUs; Polaris 10, codenamed "Ellesmere," could feature over 2,304 stream processors spread across over 36 CUs; and Vega 10 featuring 4,096 stream processors, spread across 64 CUs.

The "Baffin" silicon succeeds current generation "Curacao" silicon, driving mid-range graphics cards. It is expected to feature a 128-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface, holding 4 GB of memory. The "Ellesmere" silicon succeeds current-generation "Tonga" silicon, driving performance-segment SKUs. It could feature up to 8 GB of GDDR5(X) memory. These two chips could see the light of the day by mid-2016. The third chip out of AMD's stable, Vega 10, could succeed "Fiji," overcoming its biggest marketing shortcoming - 4 GB memory. Taking advantage of HBM2 interface, it could feature 16 GB of memory. It could launch some time in early-2017. AMD is claiming a massive 2.5X performance-per-Watt increase for "Polaris" over the current GCN 1.2 architecture, which drives the "Tonga" and "Fiji" chips, and so these stream processor counts could look deceptively insufficient.

AMD Radeon Graphics Roadmap for 2015 Leaked

It looks like AMD's desktop discrete GPU lineup for 2015 will see a mix of rebrands, re-codename, and one big new chip, all making up the new Radeon R7 300 and R9 300 series. Cards based in this lineup should begin rolling out this month. Leaks from OEMs such as this one, suggest that the first of these should begin rolling out as early as June 16.

The spread is pretty cut and dry. "Hawaii," the chip driving the R9 290 series, will not only get a new codename as "Grenada," but also a seamless rebrand to the R9 390 series, with Grenada Pro making up the R9 390, and Grenada XT making up the R9 390X. One possibility could be AMD taking advantage of low 4 Gbit GDDR5 chip prices to cram 8 GB of standard memory amount, across Grenada's 512-bit wide memory interface. The R9 390X will compete with the GeForce GTX 970, while the R9 390 will offer an option in the vast price and performance gorge between the GTX 960 and GTX 970.

AMD Radeon R9 370 Reference Design Board Pictured

Alienware leaked the first images of AMD's upcoming Radeon R9 370 graphics card and R9 390M GPU. The card's design looks a lot like the liquid-cooled Fiji-XT "Radeon Fury" board that's being pictured around these days. If the picture Alienware is from AMD, then it's safe to assume that both the R9 370, and the R9 390M will be based on the 28 nm Curaçao silicon. The only major change here, will be the standard memory amount, which has been bumped to 4 GB from 2 GB, thanks to the 4 Gbit GDDR5 chips that are becoming commonplace. AMD is expected to launch these cards a little later this month. The Curaçao silicon features 1,280 GCN stream processors, 80 TMUs, 32 ROPs, and a 256-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface.

Radeon R9 380X Based on "Grenada," a Refined "Hawaii"

AMD's upcoming Radeon R9 380X and R9 380 graphics cards, with which it wants to immediately address the GTX 980 and GTX 970, will be based on a "new" silicon codenamed "Grenada." Built on the 28 nm silicon fab process, Grenada will be a refined variant of "Hawaii," much in the same way as "Curacao" was of "Pitcairn," in the previous generation.

The Grenada silicon will have the same specs as Hawaii - 2,816 GCN stream processors, 176 TMUs, 64 ROPs, and a 512-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface, holding 4 GB memory. Refinements in the silicon over Hawaii could allow AMD to increase clock speeds, to outperform the GTX 980 and GTX 970. We don't expect the chip to be any more energy efficient at its final clocks, than Hawaii. AMD's design focus appears to be performance. AMD could save itself the embarrassment of a loud reference design cooler, by throwing the chip up for quiet custom-design cooling solutions from AIB (add-in board) partners from day-one.

AMD to Launch New GPUs and APUs Only After March: CEO

In its an investor conference-call following its Q4-2014 and FY-2014 results, AMD stated that it will release new GPU and APU products starting Q2-2015, or only after March. "Going into the second quarter and the second half of the year with our new product launches, I think we feel very good about where we are positioned there," said Lisa Su, chief executive officer.

Q2-2015 will start off with the company's "Carrizo" line of all-in-one and notebook APUs. These chips will integrate the company's new "Excavator" CPU cores, with an integrated graphics core based on Graphics CoreNext 1.2 architecture (the same one AMD built its "Tonga" GPU on). Around the same time, AMD will launch new Opteron "Seattle" enterprise CPUs, which integrate up to eight ARM Cortex A-57 64-bit cores, targeting the ultra-dense server market. In Q2-2015, AMD will launch its latest Radeon Rx 300 series graphics processors. Its performance-segment part, the R9 380, will feature 4,096 GCN 1.2 cores, double that of its predecessor, and 4 GB of stacked HBM (high-bandwidth memory). Its mid-range chip, codenamed "Trinidad" will succeed "Curacao," and offer performance competitive to the $200-ish price-point.

AMD "Tonga" GPU Arrives This August

In a bid to counter NVIDIA's bestselling GeForce GTX 760, AMD is preparing a new 28 nm GPU, codenamed "Tonga," as detailed in our older article on the chip. At the time of its writing, we had two theories on what "Tonga" could be, one held that it could be a counter to the GM107, and the other, that's is a step above "Curacao," in a bid to counter the GTX 760. We're now learning that AMD could launch the first graphics cards based on this chip, some time in August. The chip will replace the ailing "Tahiti Pro" silicon, from which is carved out the Radeon R9 280. While the R9 280 offers performance competitive to the GTX 760, it loses out big time on power consumption and heat. The cheaper R9 270X, on the other hand, offers lower performance, and similar power levels. "Tonga" could offer nearly as much performance, while featuring a new combination of components, that help AMD lower not just power draw, but also overall costs.

The 28 nm "Tonga" silicon is expected to feature 2,048 GCN2 stream processors, 128 TMUs, 32 ROPs, and a 256-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface. You'll notice that its memory interface is narrower than that of the R9 280, but performance is made up for with a higher stream processor count, and probably higher clock speeds, too. The card could come in memory capacities of 2 GB, with some manufacturers innovating 4 GB variants. There's no word on what the company could end up naming the first cards running this chip.

Sapphire Announces Radeon R9 270X Black Diamond Edition

Sapphire gave the Radeon R9 270X some Tri-X treatment, and a high factory-overclock, with its Black Diamond Edition graphics card, which is exclusive to the Greater China region. The card features the same triple-fan Tri-X cooling solution with back-plate as some R9 280X graphics cards, featuring a meaty aluminium fin heatsink that's ventilated by a trio of fans. It offers a factory core overclock of 1100 MHz, and a memory overclock of 6.00 GHz (GDDR5-effective); compared to AMD reference speeds of 1000 MHz core, 1050 MHz boost, and 5.60 GHz memory. Other features include temperature-activated color LED logo badge, and dual-BIOS with UEFI modules. Based on the 28 nm "Curacao" silicon, the Radeon R9 270X features 1,280 stream processors, 80 TMUs, 32 ROPs, and a 256-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface, holding 2 GB of memory.

Arctic Announces Four New Universal Graphics Card Coolers

Arctic Cooling announced four new graphics card coolers, the Accelero Hybrid II-120, the Accelero Xtreme IV, the Accelero Xtreme IV 280, and the Accelero Twin Turbo III, pictured below in that order. The Accelero Hybrid II-120, as its name might suggest, is a combination of an air and liquid cooling solution. It combines a large heatsink that cools memory and VRM; and a closed-loop GPU cooler, with a 120 mm radiator assembly. The cooler supports all modern graphics cards, including those based on NVIDIA's GK110 (eg: GTX 780 Ti), GK104 (eg: GTX 760), GK106 (eg: GTX 660); and AMD's "Hawaii" (eg: R9 290X), "Tahiti" (eg: R9 280X), and "Pitcairn/Curacao" (eg: R9 270X). Arctic is pricing this cooler at $130.

Moving on, there's the Accelero Xtreme IV. It features a similar backside heatsink to the Accelero Hybrid II-120, which cools the memory and VRM; while the GPU is cooled by a large aluminium fin-stack heatsink. The heatsink confines to two expansion slots, but is taller than a standard full-height add-on card. The heatsink is 288 mm long, 104 mm tall, and 54 mm thick. It features two aluminium fin stacks arranged along the length of the heatsink, to which heat drawn from the GPU is conveyed by five 6 mm-thick copper heat pipes. The heatsink is ventilated by three 92 mm fans that each have 4-pin PWM control. The Accelero Xtreme IV supports all the GPUs that the Accelero Hybrid II-120 does. It's priced at $100.

AMD Announces the Radeon R7 265 Graphics Card

AMD launched the Radeon R7 265, a mainstream graphics card designed to fill the price gap between the $139 Radeon R7 260X, and the $179 Radeon R9 270. Based on the 28 nm "Curacao" silicon, the card features a core configuration not too different from that of the previous generation Radeon HD 7850. On offer are 1024 stream processors, 64 TMUs, 32 ROPs, and a 256-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface, holding 2 GB of memory. The card supports DirectX 11.2, OpenGL 4.3, and Mantle. With it, AMD hopes to take on $150-ish NVIDIA GeForce products such as the GTX 650 Ti Boost, and probably the upcoming GTX 750. It starts at US $149.99.

AMD Readies Radeon R7 265

In a bid to ward off the GeForce GTX 750 threat, AMD is working on a new Radeon R7 series GPU, the R7 265. The SKU, interestingly, isn't based on the "Bonaire" silicon as the R7 260X, and is instead based on a cut down "Curacao" silicon, the same chip on which the R9 270 and R9 270X are based. While the R9 270 series chips share a common core configuration with 1,280 stream processors each, the R7 265 will feature one that's similar to that of the Radeon HD 7850 from the previous generation, which means 1,024 stream processors, 64 TMUs, 32 ROPs, and a 256-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface. Its core clock speed is expected to be around 900 MHz, and memory at 4.80 GHz (GDDR5-effective), which works out to a memory bandwidth of 153.6 GB/s. AMD could target the US $149 to $159 price range with the Radeon R7 265.

Gigabyte Also Rolls Out Radeon R9 270X OC with 4 GB Memory

Gigabyte joined the growing list of AMD Radeon add-in board partners to launch Radeon R9 270X graphics cards with double the standard memory amount. The GV-R927XOC-4GD, available in a standard edition and one with a Battlefield 4 Origin key, features 4 GB of GDDR5 memory across a 256-bit wide memory interface, clocked at 5.60 GHz, at which the GPU has 179 GB/s of memory bandwidth at its disposal. The card features a long, non-reference design PCB, and the company's new generation WindForce 3X cooler, which together give the card a high-end look when installed. 4 GB of memory makes the R9 270X meet the recommended system requirements of Battlefield 4.

The factory-overclocked card offers 1050 MHz base GPU clock, and 1100 MHz PowerTune Boost frequency. The card draws power from a pair of 6-pin PCIe power connectors, display outputs include a pair of dual-link DVI, and one each of HDMI 1.4a and DisplayPort 1.2. Based on the 28 nm "Curacao" silicon, the Radeon R9 270X features 1,280 GCN2 stream processors, 80 TMUs, and 32 ROPs. It features a 256-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface. Its API support includes DirectX 11.2, OpenGL 4.3, and Mantle. Gigabyte didn't reveal pricing of the two.

Sapphire Rolls Out Radeon R9 270 Boost OC Edition

In a bid to make it a watertight option in the crucial sub-$200 market segment, Sapphire decked up its Radeon R9 270 graphics card in a new factory-overclocked variant, the Boost OC Edition. The card looks identical to the R9 270 Dual-X which the company launched in mid-November, but comes with factory-overclocked speeds of 920 MHz core, 945 MHz PowerTune Boost, and 5.60 GHz (GDDR5-effective) memory; against AMD reference speeds of 900/925/5600 MHz.

The card features a custom-design black PCB by Sapphire, a compact Dual-X cooler that uses a pair of fans to cool a full-fledged aluminium fin-stack heatsink to which heat is conveyed by copper heat pipes; and draws power from a single 6-pin PCIe power connector. Based on the 28 nm "Curacao" silicon, the R9 270 features 1,280 stream processors, 80 TMUs, 32 ROPs, and a 256-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface, holding 2 GB of memory. Expect this card to retail for around $180.

XFX Rolls Out its Radeon R9 270 DD Graphics Card

XFX announced its Radeon R9 270 (non-X) Double Dissipation graphics card, which features a compacted version of the company's signature cooling solution. The card appears to use a PCB design that's not much different from that of its R9 270X graphics card. The card sticks to AMD reference clock speeds of 900 MHz core, 925 MHz PowerTune boost, and 5.60 GHz (GDDR5-effective) memory. Based on the 28 nm "Curacao" silicon, the R9 270 packs 1,280 stream processors, 80 TMUs, 32 ROPs, and a 256-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface, holding 2 GB of memory on this card. XFX is pricing it at $179.99.

MSI Announces its Radeon R9 270 Gaming Graphics Card

MSI announced the Radeon R9 270 Gaming graphics card, which features a full-fledged TwinFrozr IV cooling solution, and factory-overclocked speeds of 900 to 975 MHz core clock range, and 5.60 GHz memory. The PCB appears to draw power from a pair of 6-pin PCIe connectors. Based on the 28 nm "Curacao" silicon, the Radeon R9 270 features 1,280 stream processors 80 TMUs, 32 ROPs, and a 256-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface, holding 2 GB of memory.

Sapphire Announces Radeon R9 270 Dual-X Graphics Card

Sapphire announces its first Radeon R9 270 (non-X) graphics card, with the company's lightweight Dual-X cooling solution, which combines a compact heat-pipe fed aluminium fin stack, with a pair of 70 mm spinners. The card sticks to AMD reference clock speeds of up to 925 MHz core, 5.60 GHz memory, and draws power from a single 6-pin PCIe power connector. An OC variant is also in the pipeline, with a 10 percent OC. Based on the 28 nm "Curacao" silicon, the R9 270 features 1,280 stream processors, 80 TMUs, 32 ROPs, and a 256-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface, holding 2 GB of memory. At its sub-$150 price, it's designed to go up against the GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost.

AMD Announces the Radeon R9 270 Graphics Card

AMD announced a new SKU to heat up the sub-$200 market segment, the Radeon R9 270. A slightly tuned down sibling of the Radeon R9 270X, the R9 270 is based on the 28 nm "Curacao" silicon, and features a similar core-configuration to it. The chip features the same 1,280 stream processor-count as the R9 270X, with 80 TMUs, 32 ROPs, and a 256-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface, holding 2 GB of memory, but features lower clock speeds, at 900 to 925 MHz core (PowerTune with Boost), and 5.60 GHz memory (GDDR5-effective), which churns out 179 GB/s of memory bandwidth. Its TDP is rated at 170W, and the card draws power from a pair of 6-pin PCIe power connectors. The GPU supports the latest APIs, including DirectX 11.2, OpenGL 4.3, and Mantle. The card starts at $179.99.

Radeon R9 270X a Faster Radeon HD 7870 "Tahiti LE"

AMD's performance-segment Radeon R9 270X could prove to be a winning sub-$200 product for the company. Sources affiliated with a leading online retailer revealed that the SKU could greatly resemble the limited edition Radeon HD 7870 "Tahiti LE," possibly with higher clock speeds and stream processor count. "Tahiti LE" is a major variation of "Tahiti," which features not just lower numbers of stream processors and TMUs, but also a narrower 256-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface. The die is mated with a more compact BGA package that has lower pin count, thanks to the narrower memory interface, and probably fewer power/ancillary connections. Sources reveal the R9 270X to be "a crippled HD 7950," which could indicate a stream processor count of 1792, higher than the 1536 of Radeon HD 7870 "Tahiti LE." The TMU count could be proportionately higher due to the way they're structured on the GPU; at 112, compared to 96 on "Tahiti LE." The clock speeds are still under the wraps. AMD set an SEP price of the Radeon R9 270X at $199.

Radeon R9 and Radeon R7 Graphics Cards Pictured Some More

Here's a quick recap of AMD's updated product stack, spread between the R9 and R7 series. This article can help you understand the new nomenclature. AMD's lineup begins with the Radeon R7 250 and Radeon R7 260X. The two are based on the 28 nm "Curacao" silicon, which is a variation of the "Pitcairn" silicon the previous-generation Radeon HD 7870 was based on. The R7 250 is expected to be priced around US $89, with 1 GB of RAM, and performance rated at over 2,000 points by 3DMark Firestrike benchmark. The R7 260X, features double the memory at 2 GB, higher clock speeds, possibly more number crunching resources, Firestrike score of over 3,700 points, and a pricing that's around $139. This card should turn up the heat against the likes of GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost.

Moving on, there's the $199 Radeon R9 270X. Based on a chip not much unlike "Tahiti LE," it features 2 GB of memory, and 3DMark Firestrike score of over 5,500 points. Then there's the Radeon R9 280X. This card, priced attractively at $299, is practically a rebrand of the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition with. It features 3 GB of RAM, and over 6,800 points on 3DMark Firestrike. Then there are the R9 290 and R9 290X. AMD flew dozens of scribes thousands of miles over to Hawaii, and left them without an official announcement on the specifications of the two. From what AMD told us, the two feature 4 GB of memory, over 5,000 TFLOP/s compute power, and over 300 GB/s memory bandwidth. The cards we mentioned are pictured in that order below.

More pictures follow.

Radeon R7 260X Pictured, Too

In addition to the Radeon R9 290X pictured earlier today, AMD will also be unveiling the Radeon R7 260X upper mid-range graphics card. Pictures of the card were leaked to the web. At the moment, we have no clue as to what chip the card is based on, but we're hearing two codenames, "Curacao" and "Bonaire XTX." "Curacao," in our best guess, is a variant of "Pitcairn." "Bonaire XTX" could be a higher-performing variant of the "Bonaire" silicon AMD launched the Radeon HD 7790 with. Given the way components are arranged behind the GPU, we're inclined to believe the card pictured below is based on "Curacao." Gotta give AMD marks for trying out something different with the cooler shroud design.

Radeon HD 9000 Series Arrives This October: Report

When AMD re-branded most of its Radeon HD 7000 series SKUs to HD 8000 series, for OEMs, we saw this coming from a parsec away. AMD's next discrete GPU family for the retail channel will be placed along the Radeon HD 9000 series, and it debuts no later than this October, according to a Guru3D report. Interestingly, the report states that the first parts in the family will be based on existing 28 nanometer silicon fab processes, and will be codenamed "Curacao" and "Hainan."

We've had our run-ins with "Curacao," from time to time. It's been rumored to be an upgrade of existing "Tahiti" silicon, with 2,304 stream processors based on Graphics CoreNext 2.0 architecture, 144 TMUs, 48 ROPs, and a 384-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface. The Guru3D report adds to that with the mention of an improved front-end, which adds four asynchronous computing engines (ACEs), and three independent geometry engines.
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