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AMD has made a huge deal about their Radeon video cards featuring support for Asynchronous Compute, with one of the standout games with Async Compute support being the recently released Hitman from IO Interactive.
During the Game Developers Conference earlier this month, Lead Render Programmer at IO Interactive Jonas Meyer held a discussion called Advanced Graphics Techniques Tutorial Day: Rendering 'Hitman' with DirectX 12. During the session, it was revealed that NVIDIA GeForce video cards had no benefits from Async Compute, with IO Interactive claiming to be working with NVIDIA to fix this.
But, even with their ACE (Asynchronous Compute Engine) on the GCN architecture, Radeon cards only see a 5-10% performance increase. Async Compute is used for SSAA (Screen Space Anti Aliasing), SSAO (Screen Space Ambient Occlusion) and the calculation of light tiles in Hitman. Ashes of the Singularity also makes use of Async Compute, too.
AMD laid out its GPU architecture roadmap through to 2019 at its huge Capsaicin event during the Game Developers Conference, but now we're hearing rumbles on its exciting new Vega GPU - due out in 2017.
Vega will reportedly rock a huge 4096 stream processors based on the Greenland GPU, with improvements in the way of the GCN 4.0 architecture, which are included in the IP v9.0 generation of graphics chips under development from AMD.
We should expect Vega 10 to be AMD's flagship product from the Greenland GPU era - rocking somewhere between 15-18 billion transistors, and the exciting new HBM2 technology which offers up to 1TB/sec of memory bandwidth. Vega looks like it'll be fighting against NVIDIA's compute-powerful GP100 (the Pascal-based successor to the GTX Titan X and GTX 980 Ti) - as Vega is the only HBM2-powered card on AMD's roadmap for 2017.
As we get closer to NVIDIA's GPU Technology Conference, it should come as no surprise that more leaks are arriving on AMD's next-gen Polaris architecture. This time, it's in the form of the Radeon R9 490 and R9 480 video cards.
According to the new leaks, AMD will slap 8GB of the new GDDR5 (and possibly GDDR5X) memory onto the R9 400 series cards, with a 256-bit memory bus. There'll also be 2304 fourth-generation GCN cores, which should be able to easily compete against the likes of NVIDIA's Pascal-based GeForce GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 cards (placeholder names, I really don't see NVIDIA calling them as the GTX 1000 series).
AMD's Polaris cards will be made on the 14nm FinFET process, but remember - these cards are the R9 490 and R9 480, not the R9 490X that should be a little beefier. The R9 490X could be different, where it will feature the faster GDDR5X, while the R9 490 might retain the GDDR5 standard.
AMD's Capsaicin event at GDC was quite the blast, if not for the reveal of their Radeon Pro Duo dual-GPU, VR-focused monster card, they also took time to show off just how potent Polaris 10 actually was. And someone was lucky enough to get a close-up of its behind. And it looks like any other GPU's derrière.
Looking closely, which is easy here, you can see that the connectors include three DisplayPort (presumably 1.3) one HDMI (likely 2.0) and a DVI-D port. And we get our first peek at the prototype PCB as well. Though it's only a prototype, and this could change. There it is. It is an engineering sample, so things could change in the future. The best part is the small form-factor it happens to be in. AMD is definitely committed to bringing more power to smaller form factors.
This is "Big Polaris", or Polaris 10, that's running the newest Hitman using DX12. It's stuffed in a Cooler Master Elite 110 case, meaning the board is minuscule to be able to fit into that case. The PCB is probably around the size of the R9 Nano and should consume less power than any Fiji based board to date.
The dream of higher-bandwidth it a slightly lower cost compared to HBM is coming closer to reality now that Micron has begun shipping samples of their GDDR5X chips to customers for inclusion in prototypes. This means that AMD and NVIDIA are now able to properly test the increase in bandwidth compared to normal GDDR5 and even HBM(2).
It looks like at the moment they're able to ship two different densities, 8Gb and 16Gb that can allow for VRAM of up to 16GB over a 256-bit wide memory bus. Each chip would be relegated to a single 32-bit channel. Don't fret, however, because even though it's a comparatively small memory bus, the internal changes to the structure still allow for far more bandwidth traveling over that bus. It's akin to increasing the speed limit, despite the lane being the same size. The result is that we could see up to 448Gbps of bandwidth, which is similar to first generation HBM, though without the restrictions on memory die size. Power-consumption, too, has been reduced slightly to offset any increase from higher clock speeds and more memory chips on the board.
As of right now it looks like both AMD and NVIDIA are interested in using GDDR5X in their next generation products. From the Capsaicin event, we learned that HBM2 will not be making an appearance until Vega even though the first generation HBM has been confirmed to be part of Polaris alongside traditional GDDR5 and GDDR5X memory. NVIDIA on the other hand will be making great use of Micron's faster tech by likely including 8GB of it in their upcoming GTX 1080, which should be revealed at GTC in April.
NVIDIA has just doubled down on its latest Quadro M6000 professional video card, with the new Quadro M6000 featuring a huge 24GB of GDDR5. The previous model had 12GB of VRAM.
As for what makes the Quadro M6000 tick, it is technically similar to the GTX Titan X, with a full GM200 core and 6 Graphics Processing Clusters. Each of the Graphics Processing Clusters features four SMM (Streaming Multiprocessing Units) with 12 cores in each SMM block. There's 3072 CUDA cores, 192 TMUs, 96 ROPs and 3MB of L2 cache, with six 64-bit memory controllers - with a 384-bit memory bus, and the GPU clocked at 988MHz.
The only difference between the older Quadro M6000 and the new model is that the new model features 24GB of GDDR5, up from the 12GB on the previous M6000. The card has a 225W TDP, with a single 8-pin PCIe power connector, DVI, HDMI and 3 x DisplayPort outputs.
The stars really aligned for AMD during the Game Developers Conference, with their Capsaicin event being a success. The company not only officially unveiled the Radeon Pro Duo (the dual-GPU based on the Fiji architecture) as well as a double down into VR and a tease of their GPU roadmap through to 2019.
On the roadmap itself, we can see Polaris promising a 2.5x performance-per-watt over the current 28nm-based GPUs, but Vega is sitting above it waiting for a early 2017 release - and that's what we're reporting about today; Vega. AMD should begin playing around with Vega sometime this year, since it is being positioned for an early 2017 release and promising the use of HBM2 - which clocks in at 1TB/sec of memory bandwidth (up from 512GB/sec on HBM1).
Vega has been spotted on the Zauba database, thanks to the predictible nomenclature used by AMD. For their Hawaii XT boards, it was the C67101. Tonga was C76501, while Fiji XT was C88001. Now we have the new C9XXXX series cards flowing through, but we don't think they are Polaris boards. The Baffin XT GPU that was on Zauba was the C98101, which is a Polaris card.
GDC 2016 - AMD was all systems go at its Capsaicin event during the Game Developers Conference, unveiling its new dual-GPU video card, the Radeon Pro Duo. The company also talked about its massive commitment to VR, DirectX 12, its next-gen Polaris architecture, and more.
AMD was super confident during this event, where it had a fair amount of hands to play in its battle with NVIDIA. The laser-focused commitment to VR has me excited, as I believe that being a VR-focused company this early on, will only benefit Radeon Technologies Group, and AMD. The company has made partnerships with both Oculus and HTC, for the Rift and Vive, respectively. The company has gone all-in with VR to the point of having its own APU inside of a headset, partnering with Sulon for the Sulon Q headset.
With HDR-enabled TVs and video cards thanks to its next-gen Polaris card, the company had working 14nm at the show. The Radeon Pro Duo was on stage being used during the demonstration, requiring 3 x 8-pin PCIe power connectors to power the dual-GPU video card, rocking 8GB of HBM (4GB per Fiji GPU).
AMD has released its new Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.3.1 hotfix drivers, which add Crossfire support to Need for Speed, and an updated CF profile for Hitman.
Not only that, but the 16.3.1 release also fixes issues with games running on Unreal Engine 4, as well as V-Sync no longer automatically being enabled when running DX12 applications. Frame rates are also no longer tied to the display's refresh rate with the 16.3.1 drivers.
Various other issues have also been resolved, including flicking issues for Crossfire users on The Division, and graphical corruption on characters death animations in Crossfire when running League of Legends.
You can grab the new AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.3.1 drivers here.
With only weeks left until NVIDIA's GPU Technology Conference, where we'll be formally introduced to the Pascal architecture and everything that makes it tick. We've already been teased by the purported GeForce GTX 1080, GTX 1080 Ti and Titan X successor, but now we have some early performance numbers on the purported Pascal GPUs.
The performance numbers are coming from WCCFTech, who have spotted an unidentified NVIDIA video card with 7680MB (7.6GB) of RAM - 512MB less than 8GB, which should find itself onto the GP100-based GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (that's what we're going to call it for now, but I don't think NVIDIA will call the Pascal range by the GTX 1080 moniker).
Now, the performance numbers on 3DMark 11 were hitting 9038 - but an Intel Core i3-2100 processor was used - it lost out to various other video cards, but there were more details in the 3DMark results worth looking at. Firstly, the unidentified NVIDIA video card had 8GB of GDDR5 clocked at 8GHz - now this is noteworthy, as there are no video cards on the market with 8GB of RAM with performance close to the GTX 980 Ti.