AMD Polaris Chips using GDDR5 Will Target Low-Power, Mobility Parts?
AMD recently unveiled its new Polaris GPU architecture that packs the fourth-gen GCN cores, a new memory controller, new multimedia cores, and a new geometry processor. Built using a 14nm FinFET fabrication process, the upcoming architecture promises huge power efficiencies, less variation intransiustor performance, improved speeds, and better leakage characteristics.
AMD hasn’t disclosed an in-depth information on Polaris yet, but the company claims it’ll be just as fast as a comparable Nvidia part, while using a lot less power. To validate what it said, the US-based chip maker demoed a small-scale Polaris GPU at the Sonoma event, and put that card up against a GeForce GTX 950. Power consumption was shown in real-time using FRAPS while testing Star Wars Battlefront at 1920×1080 resolution with the frame rate capped at 60 FPS.
The PC with the Polaris GPU consumed just 86 watts, whereas the exact same system outfitted with the GTX 950 consumed 140 watts – showing a significant Perf/W improvement compared to previous generation.
AMD confirmed that the GPU it used during the test was a GDDR5 model. The company stressed at its event that it won’t leverage its involvement with High Bandwidth Memory. Instead of jumping for HBM across the entire desktop and mobile product line, AMD said it will continue relying on GDDR5 for some of its GPUs. This particularly includes those GPUs that target lower power consumption or mid-range performance.
The decision was made considering the power and cost issues associated with HBM for a mobile part today, AMD said, adding they believe in HBM and will continue to use it and future iterations of it. That means Polaris, at least the initial ones, will be aimed at enabling performance-levels in thin, light-weight laptops as well as small form factor PCs.
Polaris chips support both HDMI 2.0a and DisplayPort 1.3, and are capable of encoding and decoding H.265 video up to 4K resolution. As for availability, AMD expects the new GPUs to appear in products by mid-2016.