AMD Radeon ‘Topaz XT’ GPU Spotted in The Wild – Full DirectX 12 Mobility Card?
Note: This is a highly exploratory editorial and while all sources are given, nothing in this write up is presented as the gospel truth for you to believe.
Something pretty interesting came my way recently. The mobile codenames of AMD, 'Topaz XT' has been spotted in the newest iteration of GPU-Z. Curiously however, this GPU is slated to be the R7 M255/R7 M260/R7 M265; a space which is currently occupied by an Opal Pro/XT chips. It is also mentioned as a full fledged DirectX12 GPU, something which combined with the lack of any public data only adds to the mystery.
AMD 'Topaz XT' codename surfaces in the wild - an OEM rebrand or a feature level 12 capable mobile GPU?
Since this entire affair is pretty chaotic, let me start from the beginning. The first clue can be found in the changelog for the new GPUZ 0.8.0, which was posted online and supported a very enlightening detail. Seeing is believing, so the following is an extract (which can be found here):
"Preliminary support is added for AMD "Topaz" GPU."
This phrase 'preliminary support is added for xyz' is a very well known phrase to the aspiring hardware enthusiast. Because more often than not, it indicates a GPU that is just about to be released. The first thing I did when I started was fire off an email to AMD; and as soon as they reply (if they reply), I will update this article. Or if its significant enough to warrant it, a new write up. Searching TechPowerUps database brought me to the the mobile GPUs named R7 M260 and R7 M265. Both of these GPUs were codenamed 'Topaz XT'. PCI Devices, who list preliminary machine identification information, yielded the same nomenclature and codename. Apart from clock speed differences and a major difference in the noted launch date, both these GPUs have exactly the same specs. These are 384 Stream Processors with 24 TMUs and 8 ROPs.
Now heres the thing. The nomenclature R7 M260 was previously occupied by the Opal Pro/Mars chip, and it supported an almost identical configuration. Infact, when I say identical, I mean exactly the same. Even the die size is exactly 77mm^2. It doesn't help that the TPU database lists Topaz XT as having been released for quite some time, when there is next to no information about it. Some further digging around led to the surprising conclusion that the chip as been around for some time.
It comes in three variants: Topaz Pro (R7 M255) Topaz XT (R7 M260) and Topaz XT (R7 M265). The nomenclature previously occupied by Sun and Opal Pro/XT variants. Did AMD just change the name?
Some more digging led to a very very interesting freebsd data dump. This one not only mentions the Topaz XT GPU variants but also mentions the Amethyst XT which is the supposed codename of the R9 M295X. Wait, stop, wasn't that the Tonga GPU you ask? Well, yes it is, infact the R9 M295X is an optional upgrade in the Apple iMac. It helps to remember that the data dump is quite outdated.
Alternatively, the Amethyst XT codename could be an alternative code name for the same R9 M295X chip (Tonga). A chip that is approximately equal in power to a GTX 580.
My next stop was HWbot.org, where no surprise, the R9 M260 (Topaz) entry was pretty much empty. It is worth mentioning that this could be a mere coincidence. Mobile GPUs rarely get any attention, but usually they have at least one entry on HWbot.org, which isn't the case here. And it is at this point, that I wrote this pseudo-ed. To summarize it all, the Topaz XT seems to be a new gpu that is very old. It seems to be a widely available gpu that is nowhere to be found. But perhaps most exasperatingly, it appears to be a brand new chip that already exists under a different name (Opal/Mars) unless the TPU entry is inaccurate. In all probability I am getting worked up over nothing, maybe an OEM rebrand, but the question(s) still remain. If this is just a rebrand and nothing more than, firstly, why does GPUZ require an update to detect it, and secondly, what is the point of just changing its name from Opal PRO/XT/Mars to Topaz?
You might recall that the Kaveri Mobility leaks a very long time back depicted two different variants of R7 M260 and 265. It would make sense if we are looking at dual-variant SKUs since this is the part of AMD's lineup which has very very sparse documentation.
— Usman Pirzada (@usmanpirzada) October 25, 2014
Stay in the loop
GET A DAILY DIGEST OF LATEST TECHNOLOGY NEWS
Straight to your inbox
Subscribe to our newsletter