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Something I mused on about in September 2015 was that AMD and NVIDIA would use both HBM (and HBM2) as well as GDDR5, or GDDR5X on their next-gen cards throughout 2016. Well, AMD has confirmed this news.
Robert Hallock, the Technical Marketing Lead at AMD, explains: "We have the flexibility to use HBM or GDDR5 as costs require. Certain market segments are cost sensitive, GDDR5 can be used there. Higher-end market segments where more cost can be afforded, HBM is viable as well".
This will work out perfectly for AMD, as I think we'll see cards under $350 or so using GDDR5/GDDR5X while the HBM2-powered cards will arrive as enthusiast video cards, priced at $400 and above.
There were some fears when AMD split its GPU division into Radeon Technologies Group, but ATI 2.0 is really hitting the ground running with Polaris, and its continued commitment into VR. I think we'll see 'Big Polaris' powering VR, something we exclusively reported on last week.
During CES 2016 last week, RTG boss and cricket fan (yeah!) Raja Koduri spoke with VentureBeat about wanting to put the GPU division of AMD back into center focus. He said that 2016 is going to be a huge year for the company, as it hits its stride with the excited FinFET process, which will provide more performance per watt, HBM2 (which will provide 1TB/sec memory bandwidth) and the new Polaris architecture.
But when it came to the future of GPUs, Koduri said that VR will drive a large portion of this and that he won't be happy until we get 3D graphics that support 16K screens, and at 240Hz - yeah, 16K @ 240FPS. Just as Neo said in The Matrix: "whoa". Koduri says that this is when we'll reach the point of "true immersion that you won't be able to tell apart from the real-world". Koduri makes me excited about the future of not just RTG, but GPUs and VR, especially with quotes like that.
HBM2 is nearly here, with JEDEC releasing the official specification behind the fastest VRAM we've ever had on a video card, and this is incredibly exciting.
The official specification on HBM2 sees cards ramping up to 32GB, with up to 1TB/sec of memory bandwidth. This is a huge leap in the available VRAM over HBM1, which was limited to only 4GB on the Fiji-powered cards from AMD, including the super-small R9 Nano, Radeon R9 Fury and the R9 Fury X.
The power consumption of HBM2 will be lower than HBM1, with 8% saved over HBM1, on top of the 48% saved over GDDR5. The most important part of HBM is the amount of DRAM stacked, with HBM2 driving it up to 4/8 Hi Stacks (4/8GB) over the 4 Hi Stack of HBM1 (1GB total).
HBM2 will be found on AMD's next-gen Polaris architecture, as well as NVIDIA's upcoming Pascal architecture, which we should see NVIDIA showing off at their GPU Technology Conference in early April.
NVIDIA has released a hotfix driver for GeForce 400 series cards and above. As ever, it supports 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7, 8, and 10.
Numbered 361.60, the driver fixes "install & clocking related issues" as well as crashing in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. If only for the clocking issues, you should probably grab this one.
Hit the source link below to download the driver.
We've spotted some decent discounts on some higher-end video cards from AMD's R9 series fleet, including the ultra-small but potent Radeon R9 Nano and the beefy 8GB VRAM toting Radeon R9 390X.
Newegg is currently holding a sale on a few powerful, future-proof GPU's that are perfect solutions for ultra gaming and beyond. The sale includes a PowerColor Radeon R9 Nano for just $456 with a $20 mail-in-rebate promo code BTEMEFD32, and a Sapphire TRI-X Radeon R9 390X for just $369 after a $15 mail-in-rebate.
Both cards reap the benefits from AMD's R9 series, including support for the DirectX 12 API, FreeSync support for ultra-fast low-latency monitor refresh rates, and EyeFinity technology for multiple monitor setups. Either Radeon R9 card is a great solution for 1080p, 1440p and 4K gaming.
SAPPHIRE has just unveiled the best Radeon R9 Fury yet, with its new Nitro Radeon R9 Fury, something it says is "faster and quieter than any competing product".
The Fiji Pro-powered Nitro Radeon R9 Fury has 3584 stream processors, with the GPU overclocked to 1050MHz. The included 4GB of HBM has the usual 4096-bit memory but resulting in 512GB/sec memory bandwidth, ensuring smooth performance in the latest titles.
SAPPHIRE's new Nitro Radeon R9 Fury features the company's impressive Tri-X cooler, something the company calls "the most efficient cooling solution ever built by the company". The GPU and core components are cooled by a solid copper plate and a slew of copper heat pipes, including the industry-leading 10mm one.
CES 2016 - During our CES 2016 travels, we spotted a big GPU - the big version of Polaris. Not the 1080p 60FPS version that the company showed off in Sonoma at its RTG Technology Summit, but the enthusiast version of Polaris.
We don't know anything about it just yet, but this could be either the Radeon 400 series GPU, or the successor to the Fury X. I'm leaning on the side of the Fury X successor, but it could very well be the Radeon R9 490X - the Polaris-powered successor to the Radeon R9 390X.
We weren't allowed to take pictures of it, and the person showing it to us had a huge grin on their face the entire time. Maybe because of my good looks, but probably because they knew how much I wanted to steal it.
We only just reported about the GP104, the Pascal-based successor to the GTX 980 which should be rocking the much-faster GDDR5X - but not HBM2.
Now, let's talk about the GP100 - aka, Big Pascal. GP100 will arrive in a huge 55 x 55mm BGA package, 10mm more than GM200 - as it will need more physical room for the HBM2 modules. This is the one I'm excited for, as it should result in the successor of the GeForce GTX 980 Ti and the GeForce GTX Titan X.
It looks like NVIDIA is already playing around with its next-gen Pascal GPUs, with a new listing spotted on a shipping manifest from Zauba.
NVIDIA's upcoming GP104 will be the mid-range part, just like the GM204 which resulted in the GeForce GTX 980. The new GP104 GPU arrives in a 37.5 x 37.5mm BPA package, which is smaller than the GM204 which arrived in 40 x 40mm. It has more pins than the GM204, with 2152 vs 1745, which will be thanks to the 16nm FinFET process.
The report from 3DCenter says that the GP104-based card will use GDDR5X, where I was the first to ponder that the mid-range (GP104 and under) will be powered by GDDR5X while the higher-end offerings will be powered by HBM2. This will make the GP104 and cards under that much cheaper, versus the more expensive HBM2 technology on the enthusiast products.
The price of the R9 Nano from AMD just dropped by $150 to $499, which makes it a much better value and accessible to more people than it has been before.
In our review we really enjoyed the form-factor and performance given the power target of the Nano compared to it's big brother. In most cases it was 90% or above of the performance of the Fury X while sucking far less power and only being slightly louder. But what we didn't like was the high-price when it wasn't exactly performing at the same levels as the other $649 card in AMD's stable. It just didn't make sense, even if it was a fully enabled Fiji XT. Now that's been fixed.
This allows the Nano to potentiall be a more viable option in the eyes of gamers for their ITX rigs. It can do 4K when paired with the right CPU (and with the right graphical settings), and is now the only card of it's kind at this price point in this form factor. NVIDIA doesn't have anything to compete with it. The 970 ITX flavors are cheaper, but also not nearly as fast in any metric. So now there's no excuse not to at least consider team red when looking at your next minuscule system.