Exclusive: AMD Aggressively Pursuing Performance/Watt for FinFET Generation of dGPUs in 2016, Will Increase Focus on Power Saving – Vega10 Codename Spotted

Usman Pirzada
Posted 11 months ago

A source close to AMD recently offered some details to WCCFTech regarding the company’s future plans; plans which include the upcoming generation of GPUs as well as next gen consoles. The next generation of AMD graphic cards will be based on FinFETs (either 14nm or 16nm) and will offer roughly twice the performance over the 28nm generation. The information we received not only confirms previously revealed codenames but also sheds light on a brand new one: Vega10. It also states that AMD will be focusing on power saving alot during the next generation.

AMD 3rd Generation GCN Arctic Islands 2016A slide describing GCN goals from the Financial Analyst Day press deck. @AMD Public Domain

AMD to increase focus on power saving with the FinFET generation of GPUs as well as the software side of Radeon

Lets go over the codenames we know so far. We know that the next generation flagship will be called Greenland with the high and mid end offerings being Ellesmere and Baffin. We also know that these GPUs recently taped out, as revealed by an exec’s linkedin profile. We are now adding another codename to the mix – namely “Vega10”. Ellesmere and Baffin have been mentioned close togather in AMD’s internal documents and Vega10 has been mentioned similarly alongside Greenland. This leads us to believe that Vega10 might be a derivative or a superlative of the Greenland die. It could also be a power efficient version of the same (rather like the R9 Nano). One thing is for sure, ‘Ellesmere/Baffin’ and ‘Vega10/Greenland’ will target different market segments.

Another thing our source mentioned was that AMD will be increasing its focus on ISVs and Software in 2016 and 2017. This means new initiatives and polishing existing software. Part of this can already be seen by the new Radeon Crimson drivers and it looks like there is more in the pipeline. A good guess (caution: speculation) on what might be coming includes VR, since that is pretty much the new killer app (or rather killer-field) for gaming nowadays. You might remember that AMD has been increasing focus on virtual reality with its LiquidVR dev kit.


Lastly, it looks like AMD will be giving special attention to power saving in the next generation – an initiative it started with Tonga, continued with the R9 Nano and will probably perfect with the FinFET generation of GPUs. This could mean that we can expect more power efficient variants – in the mainstream as well as enthusiast market segments. Infact, AMD is counting on this very fact and is pretty confident on design wins for Ellesmere and Baffin –  which should target the performance market. The source further mentions that the company is very pleased about the transition to DirectX 12 and Vulkan – claiming it to be a game changer and very good for Radeons and FirePros in the long run. The new low level APIs should truly help leverage the power of AMD’s GCN and improve Radeon and FirePro positioning as (relatively) future proof GPUs.

While this information doesn’t mention anything explicit (except the Vega10 codename) it does give us a very good idea of what to expect from AMD. Not only is the company increasing its focus on power efficiency, it will also be working on the software side of things. Radeon Crimson drivers were a much welcomed change and I am sure whatever the company has in the pipeline will be met with great gusto. The transition from 28nm to 14nm/16nm FinFET will naturally result in double the performance/watt and AMD will be looking to leverage this to further its own unique position in the dGPU market.

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