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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.

Tags: AMD, GCN, ATI, Radeon, Curacao, Hainan, Sea Islands, 28nm, Oland, Bonaire

Discussion

Comments currently: 17
Discussion started: 05/30/13 12:39:56 PM
Latest comment: 06/19/13 01:17:02 PM
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0 4 [Posted by: turtle  | Date: 05/30/13 12:39:56 PM]
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totally correct. i highly doubt this is a GCN2, old GCN is good enough for one more round of refinement, being a well thought and robust architecture. besides, as far as i can remember, until LAST WEEK GCN2 was Volcanic Islands set for 2014 on 20nm process, and Sea Islands was rebranding with additional "punch"
0 2 [Posted by: snakefist  | Date: 05/31/13 02:06:42 AM]
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2. 
I've noticed in reviews that HD7970 and GTX680 tend to throw punches at each other (w/GHz being that extra lil'punch), so I refer to them as equivalents. But it shows that each CUDA cores is significantly faster than each Stream Processor if nVidia needs 1536 to match AMD's 2048; at around the same base clock of 1GHz (averaging HD7970 with GHz edition and GTX680).

For Curacao XT to have the same punch throwing with GTX780's 2304-CUDA at 863Mhz, the clock has to be up at 1150MHz. If AMD manages to push above then, then it ill be faster than GTX780, especially with the same 384-bit interface at 6GHz. If they price is lower than GTX780 and with a faster base clock, that would be funny.

Regarding power concerns: nVidia improved Fermi 2.0 such that GTX580 had an extra cluster enabled and higher frequency for both Vram and GPU over GTX480 while saving 6W of power on the whole card. If AMD tried the same thing, it is possible that Curacao XT would be 250W just like Tahiti XT. I hope for it, especially given GTX780 is also thrown in the same 250W bucket.

For those of you that remember the price war of GTX280 and HD4870, GTX280 debuted at $650 while HD4870 debuted at $330 or so, but reviews showed they performed within 15% of each other; one was priced too high (or the other too low) for the performance. Both companies made adjustments, but nVidia dropped their price more than AMD raised their price.

Therefore, Curacao XT doesn't have to match GTX780 in the hope to make nVidia drop prices. They could push a lower frequency of around 1GHz, making it 15% slower, and sell it for cheap and make GTX780 drop in price; but it is anyone's guess.

I think with this economy, both companies will not risk their premiums since it's the wealthy that act immune; especially since AMD could have priced HD7990 lower instead took the same realm as GTX690.
2 1 [Posted by: lehpron  | Date: 05/30/13 01:25:34 PM]
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For those who don't know... each lower node size below ~32nm brings diminishing performance value. Thus there is no need to rush to a lower node size as the gains will be minimal.
4 2 [Posted by: beenthere  | Date: 05/30/13 01:56:50 PM]
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I don't think the node size determines diminished performance but the quality of particular parts facing some odd issues at such a scale. Even high precision computer simulated physics often slightly deviates from real world physics.
1 1 [Posted by: mmstick  | Date: 05/30/13 08:15:41 PM]
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4. 
AMD should stick with matured 28nm rather that risky 20nm and than make next lineup on Globalfoundries 14 nm XM process(as its coming in late 2013 or Q1 2014) and skip 20nm this will give huge bump in performance per dollar.
7 1 [Posted by: mudi1  | Date: 05/30/13 05:34:07 PM]
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Not that simple mudi. The cost of even 20nm wafers is incredibly expensive. Given AMD doesn't have an overwhelming competitive advantage in performance just at the moment, it must also present its products as a value/ performance proposition. Therefore, it must find the sweetspot for the cost of tech. And it's not 14nm, as much as we would like to see it.
1 2 [Posted by: linuxlowdown  | Date: 05/31/13 02:47:20 AM]
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Sure friend u r absolutely right. But actually I m not talking about GPU space I m talking about SoC(future version of AMD jaguar,ARMv8 micro-server designs).
for micro-servers, Datacenters where margins are enough high that we can adopt new process node. In servers the biggest factor is operating cost i.e. cost of refrigeration +TDP or in simple words performance per watt is more important than performance per dollar and by adopting 14nm-XM-
1. AMD can offer better performance per watt required to compete against upcoming 22nm FinFET silvermont based server atoms.
2. 14nm-XM is based on a modular technology architecture in which a 14nm FinFET combined with 20nm-LPM process back-end-of-line interconnect flow. so cost is lower than pure 14nm FinFET process.
3. AMD can make much denser server which is highly meaningful.
So if AMD adopt The 14nm-XM it can give a good competition to intel in intel’s own house i.e. performance per watt.

8 1 [Posted by: mudi1  | Date: 05/31/13 06:36:04 AM]
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0 17 [Posted by: JeanieOwen11  | Date: 05/31/13 04:39:53 AM]
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6. 
AMD please bring faster the 9xxx generation already. We need a price war!
5 0 [Posted by: TAViX  | Date: 06/02/13 12:50:12 AM]
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lehpron - Curacao XT doesn't have to match GTX780 in the hope to make nVidia drop prices. They could push a lower frequency of around 1GHz, making it 15% slower, and sell it for cheap and make GTX780 drop in price; but it is anyone's guess.
As it stands right now the 7970 GHz trails a GTX780 by 17%. If Curacao XL unearths 15% and hold to a similar (or better TDP of like 225W) and does it all on a Tahiti size chip. Even more funny if a 8970 came out in a few months and held to the Tahiti MSRP of $550. If AMD accomplish that, the GTX780 would be even more of a "foolhardy offering" than what Nvidia went spouting-off about "expecting more from our competitor’s Tahiti architecture" then came along months later to release the GTX680.
0 0 [Posted by: Casecutter  | Date: 06/19/13 01:17:02 PM]
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