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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.
As we get closer to NVIDIA's GPU Technology Conference in early April, we're finding out more details on the next-gen Pascal architecture, and what cards will purportedly arrive under the new 16nm process. Now remember, these are just leaked specs on the purported cards - the specs could change, and so could the naming system NVIDIA uses on the next-gen cards.
According to the latest rumors, NVIDIA will launch the new cards under what we'll call them for now (I seriously don't think they'll be called this): GeForce GTX 1080, GTX 1080 Ti and the new Titan X successor. Starting with the GTX 1080, which will feature the GP104 core, we'll see 4096 CUDA cores (a 100% increase over the 2048 CUDA cores on the GM204-based GTX 980).
We are to expect a near doubling in texture units, ROPs, memory bandwidth and 6GB of GDDR5 (up from 4GB on the GTX 980). The GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is even more powerful, with 5120 CUDA cores, 320 texture units, and 160ROPS - with another 28% in TFlops performance. The GTX 1080 Ti will also reportedly rock 8GB of GDDR5 (I think we'll see GDDR5X) and a 512-bit memory bus.
MSI has announced its new GeForce GTX 950 models won't require any additional PCIe power connectors, as they'll be powered by the PCIe port itself, consuming a maximum of 75W.
There are two new models from MSI: the MSI GeForce GTX 950 2GD5T OCV3 and the MSI GeForce GTX 950 2GD5T OCV2. Both feature the GM206 GPU, which rocks 768 stream processors, 48 texture units, 32 ROPS and a 128-bit memory interface with 2GB of GDDR5 RAM. Both of the cards have their GPUs clocked at 1076MHz, but have boost clocks of 1253MHz.
The difference between the cards is their cooling, and how long they are. The 2GD5T OCV3 model sports a dual fan design and a longer PCB that MSI wants to see installed into a traditional desktop PC, while the shorter 2GD5T OCV2 models uses a single fan, and is destined for mini-ITX machines.
AMD was once a very prolific force in the mobile, handheld GPU world. And it seems that Raja Koduri, the head honcho in charge of the new Radeon Technologies Group, isn't necessarily ruling out the idea of returning to that field either.
AMD is already well positioned to create custom chips with their deal that they've brokered with Sony and Microsoft, not to mention Nintendo. And Raja himself is open to the idea of licesning their IP to be used in mobile products. They don't, however, want to actively build their own mobile devices based on their technology, but if someone else approached them with the idea to integrate either an APU outright or Polaris into their own design, it wouldn't at all be out of the question.
The idea is a natural one, given the potential power savings that the new Polaris architecture could introduce on all fronts. Already Polaris 11 (the smallest chip thus far) can play Star Wars Battlefront at 1080P with a steady 60FPS while only consuming around 35 watts for the GPU itself. So, then, it isn't a stretch to have their new architecture appear in lower-power APU's for, say, tablets, micro-consoles or even phones.