ATI, graphics business unit of Advanced Micro Devices, reportedly plans to formally launch its first second-generation DirectX 11 graphics processing units (GPUs) sometimes in the second half of October, 2010. The new lineup is projected to bring new performance heights to the high-end product segment, but it is not clear whether there will be sufficient amount of the new ATI Radeon HD 6000-series graphics processors this calendar year.
AMD's graphics unit reportedly set the launch window for the next-generation graphics processors for premium segment to 15 - 29 of October, 2010, according to Heise.de web-site that cites "reliable corporate sources". This is the second or the third confirmation about ATI's intention to release the code-named Southern Islands chips for performance-demanding applications in Q4 2010.
The main intrigue about the initiation of Southern Islands family roll out is whether ATI will be in position to fulfill demand towards high-end GPUs. Many consumer electronics companies tend to release new products aimed at gaming markets close to Holiday season in order to sell more during sales frenzy. For those companies a launch in October indicates high confidence in products. But for chip companies like AMD a launch in October may indicate the fact that the company is confident about performance of its novelty, but cannot deliver enough chips to market.
Considering issues that ATI's arch-rival Nvidia continues to have with its products lineup, ATI may not need a new flagship offering just now. But by October the Santa Clara, California-based company may resolve its issues with supplies and ATI will have to ensure stable supplies of the next-generation product line so that to continue selling premium-class products and do not engage itself into a price-war.
Not a lot is known about the Southern Islands family of products. The SI family will offer higher performance compared to currently available ATI Radeon HD 5000 “Evergreen” line, but will hardly be considerably more advanced in terms of feature-set. It is rumoured that designers of the new GPUs concentrated mostly on improving efficiency, but not on building something completely new from scratch, which is why certain building blocks of the new Sothern Islands family will be inherited from the current Evergreen line.
ATI/AMD did not comment on the news-story.