AMD Confirms, Polaris Compatible With HBM2 & GDDR5 Memory Technologies

[UPDATED Jan 16 2016, 08:50 PM ET ]
We've reached out to AMD for comment and despite it being a Friday night they were kind enough to come back to us with the following statement :

"AMD helped lead the development of HBM, was the first to bring HBM to market in GPUs, and plans to implement HBM/HBM2 in future graphics solutions.

At this time we have only publicly demonstrated a GDDR5 configuration of the Polaris architecture.It’s important to understand that HBM isn’t (currently) suitable for all GPU segments due to the current HBM cost structure. In the mainstream GPU segment, GDDR5 remains an extremely cost-effective, efficient and viable memory technology."

Original article published on Jan 15, 2016 02:19 PM ET :

AMD has confirmed that its next generation Polaris graphics architecture is compatible with both HBM2 and GDDR5 memory technologies. Speaking to MaximumPC at CES 2016, technical marketing lead for AMD, Robert Hallock reiterated the company's commitment to the advanced High Bandwidth Memory technology dubbed HBM unveiled by the company last year.

AMD Polaris 8
HBM is a revolutionary stacked memory technology that the Sunnyvale California based company invented in collaboration with SK Hynix and introduced to the market last year with the Radeon R9 Fury graphics card series. Due to its very high bandwidth, very low power capability and small footprint; it enabled the creation of very high performance graphics products in a variety of form factors culminated in the R9 Fury X, R9 Fury and R9 Nano graphics cards.

In addition to tripling the amount of bandwidth per watt compared to GDDR5 it also delivered considerably more memory capacity in a fraction of the area. Both of which allowed the company to claim the power efficiency and small form factor leads with its popular 175W 6 inch R9 Nano graphics card.


AMD Confirms, Polaris GPUs To Employ HBM2 And GDDR5 Memory Technologies In Different Segments Of The Market

Robert asserted that the company's latest "Polaris" architecture is compatible with both the HBM and GDDR5 memory standards and that the company has the flexibility to use either technology with its next generation graphics cards. Each memory technology will be employed where it makes sense Robert explained.

Robert Hallock, Technical Marketing lead at AMD
"We have the flexibility to use HBM or GDDR5 as costs require. Certain market segments are cost sensitive, GDDR5 can be used there. Higher-end market segments where more cost can be afforded, HBM is viable as well."

This allows the company to take advantage of GDDR5 to address cost sensitive segments of the market with products that can make due without HBM. In contrast, with higher end graphics products where there's a need for high memory bandwidth, otherwise unattainable by GDDR5, and where costs can be afforded, the advantages of HBM can as easily be leveraged.

AMD showed two Polaris GPUs at CES 2016. A large high-performance enthusiast GPU and a mainstream part. The latter of which was demoed live against Nvidia's GTX 950 running Star Wars Battlefront at 60 FPS while using 60 watts less of power, putting it at approximately half the power consumption of the GTX 950. AMD confirmed that Polaris powered desktop and laptop graphics cards will be available in mid 2016 and before the back to school shopping season.

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