AMD Confirms, Polaris GPUs Will Be Released Before The Back To School Season For Desktops And Laptops

AMD's CEO confirmed late last week in a round table discussion during CES 2016 that Polaris Radeon graphics cards will be released before the back to school season, for both Desktop and laptops. The annual back to school season spans the period between mid July and early September every year. As such the company's commitment to have graphics products based on its latest Polaris architecture before then is notably more specific than the previous goal of around "mid 2016".

AMD Polaris 7
AMD Polaris Landing Before September - To Power Next Generation Gaming Notebooks And Desktops

The annual back to school season has particular importance for OEMs, because its when the likes of HP, Dell and Lenovo would normally introduce new devices in North America. As such having new graphics technology at hand before then to deploy into the latest designs is essential. During a press event back in December at which AMD divulged its Polaris to us and the rest of the media for the very first time, the company inferred in no certain terms that its aiming to introduce its small, mobile focused Polaris GPU first with an enthusiast variant to follow.

We're referring to the chip that AMD demoed against the GTX 950 running Star Wars Battlefront at 60FPS and nearly half the power. Speaking with CEO Lisa Su cited the significant perf/watt jump with Polaris as a critical factor for notebooks, but that there will also be a mainstream desktop graphics solution based on this very same chip., Translation from German :
The target is mid-2016, particularly in time for the major back-to-school season in the united states. Polaris should be available not just in the form of desktop solutions, but also notebook graphics chips.

Apart from this mobile-centric small Polaris GPU we were also made aware of an enthusiast version that I'd mentioned above which is also coming out. This "enthusiast" Polaris GPU has since been shown to journalists yesterday at CES. It has been described as the "successor" to the R9 Fury X and R9 390X graphics cards, so it's clearly a high-end part.  This is all part of AMD"s plan to release several SKUs based on each GPU to cover the entire market and regain market share Su affirmed. From entry level graphics products to mid-range and high-end parts. Which is how AMD and Nvidia have always chose to address the different market segments, so no real surprises here.

Competition Is Heating Up This Summer!

AMD has said that the Polaris graphics architecture will bring about a "historic" leap in performance per watt. Interestingly this is the inspiration behind the "Polaris" code name. Stars are the most efficient photon production engines in the universe, this is why AMD found it only fitting to call the most ambitious graphics architecture it has ever engineered "Polaris" after the brightest star that can be seen from earth.

AMD Polaris 3

Excerpt from AMD's Official Press Release :
AMD's Polaris architecture-based 14nm FinFET GPUs deliver a remarkable generational jump in power efficiency. Polaris-based GPUs are designed for fluid frame rates in graphics, gaming, VR and multimedia applications running on compelling small form-factor thin and light computer designs.

"Our new Polaris architecture showcases significant advances in performance, power efficiency and features," said Lisa Su, president and CEO, AMD. "2016 will be a very exciting year for Radeon fans driven by our Polaris architecture, Radeon Software Crimson Edition and a host of other innovations in the pipeline from our Radeon Technologies Group."


The emergence of new high dynamic range monitors, the introduction of several major virtual reality devices and DirectX 12 games will undoubtedly drive the rate of adoption for next generation graphics technology in 2016. However, despite having a broadly positive outlook on 2016, Su remains realistically cautious.

Lisa Su, AMD Preisdent & CEO :
"The overall expectation is that 2016 will be a better year from a financial standpoint compared to 2015,” she said. “I think we have chosen to bet on technology, and the assumption is that the overall revenue, market share, profits, all that will follow. But that remains to be proven.”

Right now it looks like that by mid-late summer gamers will have the choice of both enthusiast Polaris 14nm FinFET graphics parts for high resolution, high refresh rate monitor gaming and mainstream parts for thin and light gaming laptops, small form factor builds and casual gaming. But before more Polaris announcements as we get closer to June and E3 as well as major announcements from Nvidia about Pascal at GTC and GDC 2016 in a few months.

AMD's First Polaris GPU Samples Have Demonstrated Twice The Power Efficiency Of Nvidia's GTX 900 Series Maxwell Graphics Cards

AMD demoed an early Polaris graphics card engineering sample at CES in January to showcase just how drastic the power efficiency advancement that the company has made. Running Star Wars Battlefront the Polaris GPU delivered an identical framerate to Nvidia's GTX 950 at practically half the power.


Speaking with Raja Koduri, Chief Architect at AMD's Radeon Technologies Group, stressed this fact. He revealed that AMD designed two distinct Polaris GPUs called Polaris 11 and Polaris 10. And asserted that both are "extremely power efficient".  He also pointed out that Polaris isn't just about efficiency and that the architecture delivers the "most revolutionary jump in performance so far" for the company.

We've seen a near doubling of performance from one Radeon generation to the next in the past on more than one occasion. We've seen it with the introduction of the HD 5870 and again with the HD 7970 Ghz edition. If Polaris is to deliver even bigger of a jump than that, which is what Raja is telling us will happen, then gamers can expect a truly revolutionary product.

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