Powerful Polaris “C99” Flagship GPU, Based On AMD’s GCN 4.0 Architecture, Passes RRA Certification

Usman Pirzada
Posted Apr 21, 2016
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A month ago I reported on an unusually powerful AMD GPU  that I spotted in Zauba shipping manifests.  The nomenclature analysis on the particular GPU revealed that this is quite clearly, the flagship part of AMD’s “C9X” generation of GPUs. Almost a month after the Polaris product was spotted, it has received RRA Certification – marking another milestone in its path to consumer shelves. The particular RRA certificate can be found here.

Powerful AMD GCN 4.0 flagship ‘C99’ passes RRA certification

AMD uses a predictable nomenclature while naming its test boards. All of these boards start with the letter C (which probably stands for consumer) followed by five numbers. The first digit after C almost certainly denotes the generation of the graphic card. The second digit apparently represents the relative rank of the chip in the same lineup. The numbers that follow are much harder to guess at externally and can depict any specification whatsoever. Since the numbering follows a very obvious trend however, its not that hard to figure out how AMD builds the lineup. Before we go any further, take a look below.

Hawaii boards for were named C6XXXX, Tonga boards C7XXXX and Fiji boards C8XXXX. In fact, if we are being specific about it than the exact code names were:

  • Hawaii XT had the C67101 code name.
  • Tonga had the C76501 code name.
  • Fiji XT had the C88001 code name.

By the same logic, Polaris (and other GCN 4.0) boards should have the C9XXXX nomenclature, and this is something we have already seen before. The Baffin XT GPU listed on Zauba had the C98101 code name, which is clearly a Polaris die. Apart from that we spotted a total of two more variants on Zauba which are probably also Polaris GPUs. Keep in mind that the INR value given to these dies is just the insurance value (and does not depict the expected MSRP of the same).

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RRA is South Korea’s National Radio Research Agency and any silicon based electronic must receive their stamp of approval before it’s allowed to be a consumer product. The certification also marks the final stages of the design of a particular GPU (no changes can be made after this certification is received) and means that all the final touches on the flagship Polaris GPU have been made. The certification number is “MSIP-REM-ATI-102-C99301” and it’s the last six numbers that are of particular interest to us. The certificate covers 4 sub-variants of the product as well (C99302, C99303, C99304, C99305) but we can tell from the nomenclature that the changes are not significant enough to constitute material information.

AMD Vega 10, Polaris 10, Polaris 11 Feature*Not to scale.

The certificate date is of earlier this month (8th April 2016) and shows that AMD is well on track in the production of its next generation graphics cards. We have previously seen other Polaris boards such as the Polaris 11 “C91” variant get RRA’s stamp of approval; which constitutes the small Polaris board as clear from the nomenclature. Here is the thing however, up till now we have spotted around four distinct variations of AMD’s 4th generation GCN products:

  • C91103 Board (Polaris 11)

  • C94402 Board (Polaris 11)

  • C98101 Board (Polaris 10)

  • C99398 Board (Unknown Flagship, Full Powered Polaris 10 or Vega 10?)

To start of with, we have the C91XXX boards which clearly form the lowest tier of Polaris GPUs out there. This is probably the Nano sized Polaris 11 board we have seen earlier. Then come boards part of the C94XXX lineup which are probably the full-fledged version of Polaris 11. It could also be a cut down version of Polaris 10 also; in either case, this is the mid-end variant of the Polaris lineup that we will be seeing soon. This constitutes the “real” entry level GPU from AMD’s 14nm FinFET lineup.

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Further up ahead, we have the C98XXX board, which is without a doubt, the Polaris 10 GPU. Shipping data from Zauba has actually identified this particular GPU as Baffin XT. Which means we are looking at the cut down variant of Polaris 10. The full-fledged variant (previously known as Ellesmere) is what forms the final flagship of AMD’s 14nm FinFET GPUs. This is the very same board listed as C99XXX in RRA’s certificate. We have already heard rumblings about the specifications and arrival dates of the Polaris lineup but if there is one thing we can say for sure, it is this: the flagship GCN 4.0 GPU is going to be a beast of a graphics card.

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