NVIDIA isn’t the only one working on a new GPU microarchitecture – we’re talking Pascal here. AMD are concocting a few new GPUs of their own.
In fact, AMD are so excited about their upcoming range of GPU families that they’re pinning a lot of their profit margins on them, hoping to make up some ground against NVIDIA.
To do so, they’ll be introducing the Arctic Islands GPU family in 2016, a new, incredibly efficient and really quite different microarchitecture than compared to GCN – so much so that it’s being called “post-GCN”.
GCN was introduced in 2011, so it’s definitely in need of some big changes. Good as it is, NVIDIA’s microarchitecture provides a lot more in the gaming sphere, and AMD’s Fury architecture only really competes thanks to a ludicrous number of stream processors.
The largest contributing factor to the evolution of AMD’s microarchitecture is the use of FinFET Process Technology, which will allow AMD to finally move from 28nmm fabrication to either TSMC’s 16nm or GlobalFoundries’ 14nm fabrication, allowing for significantly more processing punch to be packed onto around the same chunk of silicon.
That all takes place next year, when AMD unveils GCN 1.4 to the world, a microarchitecture that is supposedly twice as energy efficient, pack a heck of a lot more punch and will be designed with augmented and virtual reality applications in mind.
“We are tweaking the GCN to make it even more energy efficient. We are going to drive optimizations in workloads where we already excel with GCN, such as machine learning and a number of artificial intelligence applications. There is more innovation to come,” said chief technology officer at AMD, Mark Papermaster.
So what exactly can we expect from Greenland, Baffin and Ellesmere?
And given that the considerably smaller 14nm/16nm FinFET processes allow for up to 90% more transistor density than when compared to 28nm, Greenland GPUs will likely have similar transistor count to that of Pascal (17 billion transistors) – between 15 and 18 billion transistors.
It’s an almost certainty then that Greenland is AMD’s next flagship GPU, replacing Fiji. Perhaps AMD will stick with the updated naming scheme and we’ll see Greenland powering Fury 2s.
Unfortunately, not a lot is known about Baffin and Ellesmere, but sources have suggested to KitGuru that they are entirely new GPUs – meaning no more recycling.
We can’t wait to see Pascal and Greenland duke it out. How about you?