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GIGABYTE to Sell AORUS Branded Motherboards and Graphics Cards from 2017

GIGABYTE is planning to expand its subsidiary AORUS into motherboards and graphics cards. The company currently sells gaming notebooks and gaming peripherals, including keyboards and mice, under the AORUS brand. This could be GIGABYTE's third attempt at establishing a premium motherboard/VGA brand that rivals ASUS Republic of Gamers and MSI Gaming Series; besides its G1.Gaming and Xtreme Gaming extensions under its main brand. AORUS is a brand unto itself, with products lacking any prominent GIGABYTE markings.

The first AORUS branded motherboards will be socket LGA1151, based on Intel's upcoming 200-series chipset, with out of the box support for 7th generation Core "Kaby Lake" processors. The motherboards will hit the shelves in January 2017. The first AORUS-branded graphics cards will launch when AMD and NVIDIA launch their next high-end GPUs (think NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti and AMD "Vega"). Last we heard, the GTX 1080 Ti is headed for a January 2017 launch.

AMD Vega 10, Vega 20, and Vega 11 GPUs Detailed

AMD CTO, speaking at an investors event organized by Deutsche Bank, recently announced that the company's next-generation "Vega" GPUs, its first high-end parts in close to two years, will be launched in the first half of 2017. AMD is said to have made significant performance/Watt refinements with Vega, over its current "Polaris" architecture. VideoCardz posted probable specs of three parts based on the architecture.

AMD will begin the "Vega" architecture lineup with the Vega 10, an upper-performance segment part designed to disrupt NVIDIA's high-end lineup, with a performance positioning somewhere between the GP104 and GP102. This chip is expected to be endowed with 4,096 stream processors, with up to 24 TFLOP/s 16-bit (half-precision) floating point performance. It will feature 8-16 GB of HBM2 memory with up to 512 GB/s memory bandwidth. AMD is looking at typical board power (TBP) ratings around 225W.

Vega Not Before 2017: AMD to Investors

In a leaked presentation meant for its investors, AMD states that it expects to launch the "Vega" GPU architecture no sooner than 2017. The company plans to get it out within the first half of 2017. What makes this decision significant is that the company isn't planning on making bigger GPUs on its existing "Polaris" architecture, and its biggest product is the $249 Radeon RX 480. This leaves the company's discrete GPU lineup virtually untended at key price-points above, against NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 1070, GTX 1080, and TITAN X Pascal, at least for the next five months.

In the mean time, AMD could launch additional mobile SKUs based on the Polaris 10 and Polaris 11 chips. The reasons behind this slow-crawl could be many - AMD could be turning its chip-design resources to the various semi-custom SoCs it's working on, for Microsoft and Sony, with their next-generation game consoles; AMD Vega development could also be running in-sync with market availability of HBM2 memory. 2017 promises to be a hectic year for AMD, with launch of not just Vega, but also its "ZEN" CPU architecture, the "Summit Ridge" processor, and APUs based on the CPU micro-architecture.

AMD Polaris 10 "Ellesmere" Die Shot Confirms Max Shader Count

An AMD Polaris 10 "Ellesmere" based graphics card (RX 470 or RX 480) was taken apart down to its die, for science. Close up die-shots of the silicon reveal that 36 GCN compute units is all that the silicon has, and that the RX 480 indeed maxes out this stream processor count, with 2,304 stream processors at its disposal.

The die is fabbed by GlobalFoundries, on its swanky new 14 nm FinFET process. Redditors good at pattern-recognition could make out 36 "structures" spread across four quadrants, deducing them to be the GCN compute units. Each of these CUs feature 64 stream processors. Roadmaps reveal that the next high-end GPUs by AMD could be based on its newer "Vega" architecture.

AMD Radeon RX 470 and RX 460 Specifications Confirmed

AMD confirmed specifications of its second and third "Polaris" architecture graphics cards in a leaked presentation, the Radeon RX 470, and the Radeon RX 460. The RX 470 will be AMD's attempt at a graphics card that plays everything at 1080p resolution, under $150. The Radeon RX 460, on the other hand, is based on the new 14 nm Polaris11 "Baffin" silicon, and could be ideal for MOBA games with light GPU requirements.

The Radeon RX 470 is carved out from the Polaris10 "Ellesmere" silicon that the RX 480 is based on, it features 2,048 stream processors across 32 GCN compute units, 128 TMUs, 32 ROPs, and a 256-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface, holding 4 GB of memory. The card draws power from a single 6-pin PCIe power connector. The Radeon RX 460, on the other hand, features 896 stream processors across 14 compute units, 2 GB of GDDR5 memory across a 128-bit wide memory interface, and relies on the PCI-Express slot entirely for power. The reference RX 460 board looks quite similar to the Radeon R9 Nano, but features a simpler spiral heatsink under the fan. Despite rumors to the contrary, it looks like Vega is on-course for a 2017 launch after all.

AMD "Vega 10" GPU Crosses a Development Milestone

AMD Radeon Technologies Group (RTG) chief Raja Koduri was in Shanghai last week to meet with one of the design teams of the "Polaris10" and the upcoming "Vega10." He tweeted that development of "Vega10" had just crossed a milestone, although it's a long way to go before you can see it. The 5th generation Graphics CoreNext architecture, and successor to the upcoming "Polaris" architecture, "Vega" promises a higher performance/Watt than "Polaris," which in turn boasts of a large energy efficiency leap over its predecessor.

One of the most notable derivatives of "Vega" is the "Vega10," poised to be a performance-segment GPU, which will make it to the market alongside "Vega11," a larger enthusiast-segment chip. The Vega10 is rumored to feature 4,096 stream processors spread across 64 compute units, and is expected to be a competitor to NVIDIA's GP104 silicon. The larger Vega11 could compete with larger chips based on the "Pascal" architecture, such as the GP102.

AMD Pulls Radeon "Vega" Launch to October

In the wake of NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 graphics cards, which if live up to their launch marketing, could render AMD's high-end lineup woefully outperformed, AMD reportedly decided to pull the launch of its next big silicon, Vega10, from its scheduled early-2017 launch, to October 2016. Vega10 is a successor to "Grenada," and will be built on the 5th generation Graphics CoreNext architecture (codenamed "Vega").

Vega10 will be a multi-chip module, and feature HBM2 memory. The 14 nm architecture will feature higher performance/Watt than even the upcoming "Polaris" architecture. "Vega10" isn't a successor to "Fiji," though. That honor is reserved for "Vega11." It is speculated that Vega10 will feature 4096 stream processors, and will power graphics cards that compete with the GTX 1080 and GTX 1070. Vega11, on the other hand, is expected to feature 6144 stream processors, and could take on the bigger GP100-based SKUs. Both Vega10 and Vega11 will feature 4096-bit HBM2 memory interfaces, but could differ in standard memory sizes (think 8 GB vs. 16 GB).

AMD Polaris 10 "Ellesmere" as Fast as GTX 980 Ti: Rumor

At a presser in Taiwan for its Radeon Pro Duo launch, AMD talked extensively about its upcoming "Polaris" and "Vega" family of GPUs. The company appears to be betting heavily on two SKUs it plans to launch this June, Polaris 10 and Polaris 11. Polaris 10 is an internal designation to Radeon R9 490(X), based on the 14 nm "Ellesmere" silicon. It may be the biggest chip AMD builds on the "Polaris" architecture, but it won't exactly be a "big chip," in that it doesn't succeed "Fiji." That honor is reserved for "Vega," which debuts in early-2017.

The "Ellesmere" silicon is more of AMD's competitor to NVIDIA's GP104. It is rumored that the R9 490(X), based on this silicon, will offer consumers performance rivaling the GeForce GTX 980 Ti (ergo faster than the Radeon R9 Fury X), at a USD $300-ish price point. "Ellesmere" will be a lean-machine, physically featuring up to 2,560 4th generation GCN stream processors (2,304 enabled on Polaris 10), a possible 256-bit GDDR5X memory interface, and a deep sub-200W typical board power rating.

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 "Greenland" Vega10 Silicon Features 4096 Stream Processors?

The LinkedIn profile of an R&D manager at AMD discloses key details of the company's upcoming "Greenland" graphics processor, which is also codenamed Vega10. Slated for an early-2017 launch, according to AMD's GPU architecture roadmap, "Greenland" will be built on AMD's "Vega" GPU architecture, which succeeds even the "Polaris" architecture, which is slated for later this year.

The LinkedIn profile of Yu Zheng, an R&D manager at AMD (now redacted), screencaptured by 3DCenter.org, reveals the "shader processor" (stream processor) count of Vega10 to be 4,096. This may look identical to the SP count of "Fiji," but one must take into account "Greenland" being two generations of Graphics CoreNext tech ahead of "Fiji," and that the roadmap slide hints at HBM2 memory, which could be faster. One must take into account AMD's claims of a 2.5X leap in performance-per-Watt over the current architecture with Polaris, so Vega could only be even faster.

AMD Unveils GPU Architecture Roadmap, "Polaris" to Skip HBM2 Memory?

Alongside its big Radeon Pro Duo flagship graphics card launch, AMD unveiled its GPU architecture roadmap that looks as far into the future as early-2018. By then, AMD will have launched as many as three new GPU architectures. It begins with the launch of its 4th generation Graphics CoreNext architecture, codenamed "Polaris," in mid-2016. Built on the 14 nm FinFET process, "Polaris" is expected to offer a whopping 2.5x increase in performance-per-Watt for AMD, compared to its current GCN 1.2 architecture on 28 nm.

Hot on Polaris' heels, in early-2017, AMD plans to launch the "Vega" GPU architecture. While this appears to offer a 50% increase in performance-per-Watt over Polaris, its highlight is HBM2 memory. Does this mean that AMD plans to skip HBM2 on Polaris, and stick to GDDR5X? Could AMD be opting for a similar approach to NVIDIA, by launching its performance-segment GPU first as an enthusiast product, giving it a free run on the markets till early-2017, and then launching a Vega-based big-chip with HBM2 memory, taking over as the enthusiast-segment product? Some time in early-2018, AMD will launch the "Navi" architecture, which appears to offer a 2.5x performance-per-Watt lead over Polaris, taking advantage of an even newer memory standard.
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