$1700 AMD Polaris Next Generation Graphics Card Spotted In Shipping Database

Khalid Moammer
Posted Feb 9, 2016
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A $1700 AMD graphics board has just been spotted, potentially the next Radeon 400 series Polaris flagship. It’s been a couple of months since AMD introduced its upcoming Polaris GPU architecture to the world yet we’re seeing more Polaris GPUs pop up on the Zauba shipping database.
Polaris is the code name AMD has given it’s next generation family of 14nm FinFET based graphics chips. These chips are scheduled to launch by mid 2016 and will succeed AMD’s current Radeon 300 series and Fury series.

AMD Polaris 8
AMD, has only demoed the smallest member of the Polaris family and the demonstrated performance and power efficiency results were by far the most impressive we had seen from one generation to the next to date. AMD does acknowledge that there will be multiple GPUs based on the Polaris architecture to address the entry level, mid-range and high-end segments of the discrete graphics market.

So far AMD has unveiled two 14nm FinFET Polaris GPUs, given the names Polaris 11 and Polaris 10. One of which is a very small GPU, estimated to be around the same size as AMD’s Cape Verde which is 123mm² large. The goal for this chip was to deliver console-class gaming performance in thin and light notebooks. This is the GPU that AMD chose to demo at CES. The other member of the Polaris family is a large GPU, described as a successor to the Radeon R9 Fury X and this chip is believed to have been spotted on Zauba. However, it’s not the first one to make its way to the shipping database.

Potential Flagship AMD Polaris Graphics Card & Fury X Successor Shows Up

The graphics board has been spotted by the folks at 3DCenter. It carries the C99 code name and bears the “FOC” designation, which we believe stands for “Full Operational Capacity”. This isn’t the first Polaris GPU to be spotted on Zauba, several others had preceded it. Namely the C98 and C91/C92 chips. However this C99 GPU carries a very hefty per unit value of nearly $1700, almost triple the value attached to the C98 chip which many believed to be the successor to the R9 390 series.

AMD Polaris Zauba C993
It’s not yet clear what this graphics board actually is but based on the value we sure are looking at a very high-end graphics card and even possibly dual GPU board equipped with two Polaris 11 chips. We know AMD has two Polaris GPUs coming up this year, Polaris 11 and Polaris 10. The latter of which could power the C91/C92 boards with the former powering the C98/C99 boards, the C99 variant being a dual GPU solution.

The C98 graphics board made its first appearance on the Zauba shipping database in December. This particular part holds a per unit value that exceeds AMD’s Hawaii chips that were listed in the same database by 33%. So we’re potentially looking at a high-end graphics card here.
AMD Polaris C980

The C91/C92 chips have shipping dates that go as far back as January of 2015. However the (FOC) designation has only been added in August of 2015, a few months before Polaris was demoed to the press for the very first time. So we’re possibly looking at the baby Polaris GPU that AMD demoed at CES and a month prior in the private press event that AMD held in December.AMD Polaris C91 and C92
What makes all of this information very interesting is that it indicates that AMD has had Polaris chips up and running in the lab for a while and certainly well ahead of what the company has made publicly known. It’s obvious that the company chose to remain tight lipped all this time for competitive reasons. Nvidia’s decision to announce its Pascal based Drive PX2 and showcase it equipped with GTX980 MXM chips instead of actual Pascal GPUs was certainly an eye brow raiser.

This decision could very well play into the premise that the FinFET GPU transition has been kinder to one vendor versus the other. Historically it’s been the case that AMD and even ATi before it are the ones to fair better in their transitions to new process nodes as opposed to Nvidia. But there’s just too much cloak-&-dagger that takes place in the industry to know with certainty if this is truly the case right now.

Polaris 11 And Polaris 10 Are AMD’s Fastest And Most Power Efficient GPUs To Date

Speaking with Venturebeat.com Raja asserted that both Polaris 11 and Polaris 10 are “extremely power efficient”.  He continued to say that these GPUs and the Polaris architecture in general will deliver “our most revolutionary jump in performance so far”. Which are mighty exciting words for Radeon enthusiasts coming from the head of AMD’s Radeon Technologies Group.


Raja Koduri, head of Radeon Technologies Group at AMD
Image Credit: Dean Takahashi via venturebeat.com

Raja also spoke briefly about the makeup of the new graphics architecture. Featuring a new geometry processor, a redesigned command processor and completely new 4th generation Graphics Core Next compute units – the main component of all modern AMD GPUs – with “a very high increase in performance”. He also spoke about the new multimedia cores and the new display engine in Polaris. Which will enable gamers to record and stream 4K gameplay at 60 FPS with no performance cost.

Polaris graphics cards are set to launch next summer, before the back to school season, on both desktops and gaming notebooks.

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