Gamers and graphics geeks got some super news from AMD this week. In what appears to have been spurred by an accidental leak in an announcement for a new range of desktop PCs and all-in-ones from HP earlier this week, AMD teased further details about a next-gen Radeon graphics processor at the company’s Financial Analysts Day on Wednesday. While representatives from AMD have thus far said only that they cannot comment on the leaked images of the GPUs, some brief perusing of the internet found some very interesting details about these “rumored” processors.
To start with, we do have one tidbit of confirmed info. AMD CEO Lisa Su has explicitly stated that the company’s forthcoming graphics processor will be the first in the industry to use high-bandwidth memory (HBM), the supercharged successor to the GDDR5 RAM used in the current graphics card. According to AMD CTO Mark Papermaster, this is a technology that the company has spent the last seven years working towards. HBM stacks memory chips atop each other on or near the graphics processor and uses through-silicon via to pass wires through the middle of it all. This technology allows for performance rates three times that of the current GDDR5 as well as a 50% boost in power savings. Little else has been officially confirmed by the AMD camp, but Su did say that “With memory now on-die rather than on-card, it enables a lot of really interesting form factors”. She wouldn’t go into any more detail than that, but promised that some of these factors would be revealed in the near future.
Digging further into the rumor mill, I discovered some leaked photos of the again “rumored” new flagship from AMD which has been dubbed the Radeon R9 390X. If these pictures turn out to be the real deal, then for starters, this thing is unbelievably tiny. Further rumors suggest that it could have up to 4,096 stream processors, a 1050MHz boosted core clock, up to 8GB of HBM memory and maybe even a variant sporting integrated water-cooling like the dual-GPU Radeon R9 195x2. However, this rumored future processor would be powered by a new GCN “Fiji” core. Again, I cannot stress enough that these rumors are to be taken with a grain of salt; AMD has confirmed almost nothing. But considering the current shift into gaming mediums that include 4K displays, VR technology and DirectX12, I wouldn’t be surprised to discover over the next few months that the rumors turned out to be spot on after all. At the very least, I’m betting we can all look forward to a new era of HBM chips that should alone vastly improve graphics cards as we know them.
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