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In a bid to improve production yields of highly-complex central processing units (CPUs) and graphics processing units (GPUs) their developers integrate more execution units than is needed to meet performance goals. For example, system-on-chips for new-generation consoles have redundant graphics processing compute units. Moreover, AMD’s latest code-named Hawaii graphics processors may feature more stream processors than officially advertised.

Advanced Micro Devices today sells two graphics cards based on Hawaii GPUs: the Radeon R9 290X (configured to feature 2816 stream processors [or 44 compute units [CUs]], 176 texture mapping units [TMUs] and 64 raster operating units [ROPs]) as well as Radeon R9 290 (2560 stream processors (40 CUs), 160 TMUs and 64 ROPs). AMD has not formally announced specification of a fully-unlocked Hawaii graphics chip; moreover, the company has never demonstrated a die-shot of the GPU.

Recently, DG’s Nerdy Story web-site published what is claimed to be a die-shot of AMD Hawaii and after a close observation came to a conclusion that the graphics processor can feature more execution units than are enabled even in case of the flagship Radeon R9 290X. In case the assumptions are correct, then a fully-fledged Hawaii sports 48 compute units, or as many as 3072 stream processors (SPs), 192 TMUs and 64 ROPs. It should be noted that authenticity of the Hawaii die-shot cannot be verified; moreover, certain assumptions and estimations may be incorrect.

Provided that AMD Hawaii does really have 3072 stream processors, 192 texture units and 64 raster operation units, then AMD had one reason to disable some of them in case of enthusiast-class products: to ensure steady supply of Radeon R9 290X even if there are issues on the manufacturing side. It is pretty hard to produce highly-complex chips with all execution units working perfectly and at desired clock-rate. As a result, GPU designers disable certain units to boost the number of chips that hit performance targets and can be shipped to customers.

For example, Nvidia Corp.’s GK110 GPU includes as many as 2880 SPs, 240 TMUs and 48 ROPs. However, only GeForce GTX 780 Ti and Quadro K6000 products use the chips in maximum configuration, whereas other solutions rely on cut-down versions of the GPU.

In theory, AMD eventually could release a new flagship graphics card with fully-fledged Hawaii GPU with 3072 stream processors (SPs), 192 TMUs and 64 ROPs. Such a product would provide ultimate performance in extremely high resolutions, such as 4K (3840*2160), and could be sold with high profit margins. However, at present we do not know whether the company has such plans.

AMD did not comment on the news-story.

Tags: AMD, Hawaii, Radeon, GCN, 28nm, Sea Islands


Comments currently: 18
Discussion started: 01/03/14 07:16:11 PM
Latest comment: 07/13/16 10:43:39 AM
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This is just normal design work. You'd expect them to have unused potential on a new GPU design. If they need to up the game, they'll be in a good position to do so.
3 1 [Posted by: beenthere  | Date: 01/03/14 07:16:11 PM]
- collapse thread

They need actually. With little exceptions, 780 Ti
kinda beat the 290X in all benches...
1 1 [Posted by: TAViX  | Date: 01/04/14 10:38:44 AM]

Amazing how AMD can pack all of that in a 440mm2 die
4 1 [Posted by: redeemer  | Date: 01/03/14 09:01:47 PM]
- collapse thread

you meant 440mm2 I hope...
3 0 [Posted by: caring1  | Date: 01/03/14 10:42:38 PM]
lol edited
4 0 [Posted by: redeemer  | Date: 01/03/14 10:46:08 PM]

Already neck and neck with GTX780Ti. Fully unlocked R9-290X easily beats 780Ti. If nVidia can unlock fully with GTX780Ti then AMD can do that as well
5 3 [Posted by: tks  | Date: 01/04/14 01:42:10 AM]

show the post
4 13 [Posted by: AnonymousGuy  | Date: 01/04/14 02:32:53 AM]
- collapse thread

6 months behind nVidia ?? Another SPAM here
4 4 [Posted by: tks  | Date: 01/04/14 04:42:08 AM]
First sentence correct. Second sentence trolling - 7 votes down and counting.
4 2 [Posted by: linuxlowdown  | Date: 01/04/14 04:56:05 AM]
Huh? AMD forced NV to cut the price of GTX780 from $649 to $499 and produce a $399 R9 290 with performance that trades blows with their $1000 Titan. Your idea of AMD being 6 months behind is only true on the hardware side but gamers also care about price/performance. Every time AMD releases new GPUs, a new price/performance level is established that forces NV to respond with new SKUs or price drops. Competition is what drives this industry and helps us gamers. You sound like a fanboy.
4 2 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 01/04/14 09:30:54 AM]
The key point is NV was able to charge premium pricing for 6 months because people were willing to pay it. Plus they were able to fully deploy the 700 series lineup to capture the entire pricing spectrum. That's called "winning" in the industry. Meanwhile AMD continues to post quarterly losses and has to settle for low profit margins to gain sales (ahem...consoles).

And I don't care about downvotes. I already know this site has a lot of AMD fanboys who don't have any business savy.
2 1 [Posted by: AnonymousGuy  | Date: 01/06/14 03:20:51 AM]
"The key point is NV was able to charge premium pricing for 6 months because people were willing to pay it."

Wrong. People were forced to pay the exorbitant prices for GTX Titan. Whether AMD's Quarterly results are profit or loss doesn't effect consumers in anyway, only effects nVidia fanboys like you.
0 2 [Posted by: tks  | Date: 01/07/14 12:13:13 PM]
That's called "winning" in the industry. Meanwhile AMD continues to post quarterly losses and has to settle for low profit margins to gain sales (ahem...consoles).

Winning in the tech industry is creating a superior product which the R series graphics clearly are in comparison to similarly priced Nvidia offerings.

AMD could have charged 1k for their flagship R series offering, they are not money gruppers like Nvidia is, so they did not. they actually care about price per performance sweet spots, and have throughly trounced intel/nvidia in that arena for many years.
0 0 [Posted by: veli05  | Date: 01/08/14 09:33:48 AM]

Considering current high energy conspumpition, activating additional units will blow up your PC
2 4 [Posted by: Tristan  | Date: 01/04/14 07:07:06 AM]
- collapse thread

Except the fully unlocked GK110 can use more power than the R9 Hawaii over 570w with skynet BIOS and over-volting!
0 1 [Posted by: redeemer  | Date: 01/04/14 01:16:21 PM]
And we all know what happened once Skynet was fully activated .... :p
1 0 [Posted by: caring1  | Date: 01/05/14 03:36:50 AM]


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