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AMD's next-gen Polaris GPU architecture unveiled, arrives in mid-2016 (Page 1)

AMD's next-gen Polaris GPU architecture unveiled, arrives in mid-2016

AMD jumps off of the islands, and into space with its new Polaris GPU video card architecture. Here's some of what you can expect from AMD this year.

By Anthony Garreffa from Jan 4, 2016 @ 8:00 CST


Last month AMD flew out a select number of press and analysts to Sonoma, California to discuss quite a few things. The first of which was RTG Visual Technologies roadmap, where we found out that Radeon GPUs throughout 2016 and beyond will include support for DisplayPort 1.3 - which has support for 4K @ 120Hz, and even 3440x1440 @ 195Hz.


Our follow up piece on the RTG Technology Summit in Sonoma included AMD's work on the GPUOpen initiative, which aims to make developing games easier, especially when it comes to Linux.

But this was all setting the stage for the big reveal, AMD's new GPU architecture; Polaris. Before we tell you about AMD's next-gen GPU architecture, the company reminded us about two cards that started this journey; the ATI Radeon 7000 and the Radeon 9700.

15 Years is a Long Time in GPU Development

Can you believe it has been 15 years since ATI released the Radeon 7000? The Radeon 7000 was based on the RV100 chip, baked onto the 180nm node. Yeah, 180nm - and we're sitting pretty with 28nm right now, with Polaris shrinking that down to 14nm. The Radeon 7000 had a 64-bit memory interface, with the GPU taking up just 97mm2. The ATI Radeon 7000 featured 30 million transistors, 1 x pixel shader, no vertex shaders, 3 TMUs and 1 x ROP. The ATI Radeon 7000 had support for DirectX 7 at the time, too.


Next up was a video card I remember fondly, the ATI Radeon 9700. The Radeon 9700 was a video card that began knocking NVIDIA around with its GeForce 4 Ti cards at the time, especially when it came to the Radeon 9700 Pro. The Radeon 9700 was built on the 150nm process, had 128MB of DDR RAM on a 256-bit memory interface, with the 128GB of RAM clocked at 620MHz (325MHz DDR).

The Radeon 9700 offered something that was unique at the time - a super-fast card with excellent image quality. Anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering became features you could actually use, without completely suffering in the performance department, too. It featured support for DX9, had 110 million transistors (up from the 30 million on the Radeon 7000), 8 x pixel shaders, a single vertex shaders, 8 x TMUs and 8 x ROPs.

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