Advanced Micro Devices may unleash its new-generation graphics solutions based on the GCN 2.0 architecture in the third quarter, according to newly leaked pieces of information. Two rumoured chips expected to be unleashed are code-named Curacao and Hainan. The new graphics processing units will address enthusiast and high-end markets. But there are a number of catches.
AMD is projected to release code-named Curacao and Hainan graphics processing units that will belong to GCN 2.0 family of products in Q3 2013, reports Chiphell web-site. The new architecture will have a number of enhancements, but the source only mentions that it will come with improved front-end (4 asynchronous computing engines [ACEs], 3 geometry engines) as well as increased amount of stream processors. Both Curacao and Hainan belong to Sea Islands family of GPUs, hence they do not feature advance heterogeneous compute capabilities.
The two chips are expected to be made using 28nm process technology, which is logical, keeping in mind that AMD’s manufacturing partner Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. will only start risk production using 20nm fabrication process in Q4 2013.
The Curacao XT graphics processor is expected to feature 2304 stream processors (36 compute units), 144 texture units, 48 render back ends and 384-bit memory controller. The Hainan is projected to have 1792 stream processors (28 compute units), 112 texture units, 32 render back ends and 256-bit memory controller. Both chips will share the same front-end (just-like current-gen Radeon HD 7900 and 7800 do) with 4 asynchronous computing engines [ACEs], 3 geometry engines, command processor, global data share and so on.
The web-site mentions various products based on the new chips, including Radeon HD 8970, Radeon HD 8950, Radeon HD 8870 and Radeon HD 8850 along with clock-speeds and configurations. However, considering that the products are months away, everything can change.
The information about improved family of GPUs makes a lot of sense since AMD clearly needs to offer a new lineup of products this fall. Moreover, historically AMD released new products in Q3 to ensure availability by holiday season. However, AMD is also known for adoption of all-new process technologies among the first, which means that a release of new products month ahead of new tech launch does not fit into such tactics. On the other hand, AMD might have wanted to reduce its risks with the new family of GPUs, which is why it decided to stick to 28nm. Finally, expected performance improvement of Curacao XT versus currently-available Tahiti XT does not seem to be significant enough for a brand-new generation.
AMD did not comment on the news-story.