We have been sifting through many rumors and leaks on AMD's next graphics cards, something that needs to be cleared up. The latest rumor of the Vega 10 has me wondering if we're being thrown off track, and whether that's a good, or a bad thing.
Our friends over at VideoCardz have posted up what they are reporting as a new Device ID (687F:C1) alongside a benchmark of Ashes of the Singularity (which I hate using to judge performance, but that's just me). VideoCardz reports: "Judging from how AOTS benchmark recognizes dual-GPU graphics cards, the new card is most likely equipped with one processor. This device ID was not shown anywhere yet, so it's definitely something unreleased".
They added: "Whether that's a mobile prototype being tested in desktop platform, or full-fledged Vega 10 device, we don't know. If the rumors are true, this could be much awaited Radeon RX 490".
Why I don't think it's Vega 10
AMD has the entire future of its graphics business riding on the success of Vega, which will pave the way for Navi in 2018-2019. I don't see why AMD would have such a large leap in performance over the Polaris architecture and its fastest SKU - the Radeon RX 480, and name it the Radeon RX 490. It makes absolutely no sense, and if I were in charge of branding the Vega 10 - it would NOT be called the RX 490.
AMD would better position themselves leaving the RX 400 series alone, and naming the Vega series something completely different - like they did with the Fiji architecture. The Fiji-based graphics cards that were released (Radeon R9 Nano, R9 Fury, and R9 Fury X) were named differently to the Radeon R9 290X and R9 390X at the time.
Personally, I think we're going to see a new "Fury" branding, and that's what the Vega graphics cards will end up being. I don't think AMD will use Fury again, but I wouldn't mind seeing new Nano and Fury X cards to be honest. On the other hand, I want an exciting new name that would join Ryzen - the new branding AMD will be using on its Zen-based CPUs arriving in 2017.
What is the Radeon RX 490?
I think what we're seeing with the "Radeon RX 490" is a highly refined, re-tuned Polaris 10 - you know, the Radeon RX 480. It launched with various power-related issues, and a not-so-great reference PCB. AMD has most likely nailed this process by now, and would be able to easily squeeze 30% more performance out of the card at the current 150W TDP.
But, if you increased the TDP and added more power to the card - what could be achieved? Is this what we're looking at with the "Radeon RX 490"... a highly tuned RX 480, that will better compete against the GeForce GTX 1070, while the HBM2-based Vega 10 will offer GTX 1080 beating performance?
I just don't see Vega 10 being anywhere near ready right now for anyone in the world apart from AMD having a board in their hands. Whatever we're seeing right now, I don't think it's Vega 10 - or HBM2-based, and more likely a Polaris-based offering in either a dual-GPU graphics card (that might not see it as '2 x GPUs' and maybe just one - maybe AMD have something surprising up their sleeves with CrossFire?
More to read on AMD's upcoming CPUs/GPUs