AMD Radeon RX 500 Series Family To Feature High-Performance Vega 10 and Mainstream Vega 11 Based Graphics Cards

Hassan Mujtaba

Our sources have shared with us some new details about the upcoming Radeon RX 500 series family. The card lineup will feature several variants that will cover the entire top-to-bottom market segment and will be based on the new NCU (Next Compute Unit) graphics architecture.

AMD Radeon RX 500 Series To Have A Mix of Vega 10, Vega 11 and Polaris Graphics Cards

Before I proceed, I need to acknowledge that while this information is from a credible source, AMD still has several months before they launch any Radeon graphics cards for desktop builders. So AMD might have their plans changed inbetween.

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AMD's Radeon RX 500 series naming scheme shouldn't be something new for our daily readers as it had been confirmed last month. What's notable is that AMD is already sending information to various AIBs on 500 series cards that would feature the Vega graphics core. The AMD Radeon RX 500 series lineup would replace the Radeon RX 400 series cards and offer better performance, efficiency and will directly compete against NVIDIA's Pascal lineup.

AMD Vega Lineup

Graphics CardRadeon R9 Fury XRadeon RX 480Radeon RX Vega Frontier EditionRadeon Vega ProRadeon RX Vega (Gaming)Radeon RX Vega Pro Duo
GPUFiji XTPolaris 10Vega 10Vega 10Vega 102x Vega 10
Process Node28nm14nm FinFETFinFETFinFETFinFETFinFET
Stream Processors40962304409635844096 (?)Up to 8192
Performance8.6 TFLOPS
8.6 (FP16) TFLOPS
5.8 (FP16) TFLOPS
~25 (FP16) TFLOPS
22 (FP16) TFLOPS
>25 (FP16) TFLOPS
Memory Bus4096-bit256-bit2048-bit2048-bit2048-bit4096-bit
Launch20152016June 2017June 2017July 2017TBA

AMD Radeon RX 500 - Enthusiast Tier Cards To Feature Vega 10 Graphics Core

Enthusiasts are looking forward to the high-performance variants in the upcoming Radeon 500 series lineup. The new enthusiast and flagship products would be based on the behemoth Vega 10 GPU which was showcased at CES 2017. The new graphics core will feature a brand new architecture hierarchy along with the HBM2 standard which means faster GPU and memory speeds.

The first graphics card shown by AMD to utilize the Vega 10 GPU is the Instinct MI25 which is a 12.5 TFLOPs (FP32) and 25 TFLOPs (FP16) product aimed to accelerate AI research. AMD has also shown a Radeon Vega graphics card that utilizes the new GPU but they don't have a name for the product yet. We can tell that this graphics card will be part of the Radeon RX 500 family and will have at least two variants. The Vega 10 based graphics cards will arrive in May as per our previous report.

AMD Vega 10 - What We Know So Far

AMD’s high-end Vega 10 GPU will be available to consumers in the first half of 2017. The chip spans a die size of over 500mm2 from early calculations and features two HBM2 stacks, incorporating up to 16 GB of HBM2. The consumer variant which was demonstrated using DOOM and Star Wars: Battlefront featured 8 GB of HBM2 VRAM. The specific device ID for the consumer variant is 687F:C1.

The graphics chip will be utilizing the latest 14nm GFX9 core architecture which is based on the NCU (Next Compute Engine) design. The graphics card will feature 64 Compute Units or 4096 stream processors. AMD plans on increasing the throughput of the chip through increased clock speeds. This will allow AMD to pump numbers better than the Fiji GPU which is based on 28nm GCN 3.0 architecture and comes with the same number of cores, e.g. 4096 SPs.

AMD Vega 10 - Memory Architecture

The first generation HBM graphics cards such as the Radeon R9 Fury X was limited to just 4 GB of VRAM and had a bandwidth of 512 GB/s. It had 4 layers per stack (256 MB per layer). In the case of 4 layers, we will be looking at higher densities per layer. The pin speed also increases with HBM2. The new memory standard can clock up to 2 Gb/s compared to 1 Gb/s on HBM1.

We know as a fact that Vega GPU comes with two HBM2 stacks that are 4-Hi configured and have 4GB capacity. This indicates that the card will feature up to 8 GB VRAM until higher density memory or a greater number of stacks are available on the HBM2 products. This also gives us a total bandwidth of 409.6 GB/s which is lower than AMD’s first generation HBM product, the Fury X, which operated with a bandwidth of 512 GB/s. SK Hynix has confirmed that 1.6 GB/s HBM2 memory will be launching in Q1 2017.

AMD Radeon RX 500 - Mainstream Tier Cards To Feature Vega 11 Graphics Core

The mainstream and performance tier cards will be filled by a second Vega chip. This chip is known as Vega 11 and is the smaller of the two. I am personally more excited about this as it will be aimed at a wider audience due to its cost and design. The Vega 11 graphics core will be replacing the Polaris 10 graphics core as AMD's mainstream chip so we can expect pricing to be under $300 US. The Radeon RX 480 is currently AMD's top-dog in the mainstream segment that starts at $199 US for the 4 GB variant.

Based on the performance tier of this graphics card, we can expect it to go the traditional memory route. AMD may end up using GDDR5X memory if they don't find the prices of HBM2 too feasible or we can see a single stack design. As with Vega 10 which features 8 GB HBM2 on two stacks, Vega 11 might come with a single HBM2 stack that offers 4 GB VRAM at speeds close to 256 GB/s, along a 1024-bit interface. AMD will have multiple options open to them and a single die stack would mean higher yields and less chances of error during production.

AMD Radeon RX 500 - Entry / Budget Tier Cards To Feature Polaris Graphics Core

Finally, we have a report on Polaris too. Some time ago, we covered an interesting story on Polaris that AMD might be working on more efficient variants of their current 400 series GPUs. There was no launch of any such products but they might arrive in the Radeon RX 500 series family. While our source was very confident with the Vega 11 and Vega 10 RX 500 series cards, he also mentioned that the entry tier products can feature Polaris GPUs.

AMD's Polaris cards have been AMD's most competitive products to date. They brought the efficiency for the red team close to their counterparts. AMD can take leverage of the enhanced 14nm FinFET process from GloFo to offer entry and budget tier builders a range of cards under the $200 US segment. We also hinted at the possibility of rebrands of cards such as the Radeon RX 460. The Radeon RX 460 features the Polaris 11 core and may be rebranded as the Radeon RX 560 this year.

AMD GCN GPU Architectures

WccftechHD 7000 SeriesRadeon 200 SeriesRadeon Fury SeriesRadeon RX 400 SeriesTBA
Flagship GPUTahitiHawaiiFijiPolaris 10Vega #TBA
Die Size352mm2438mm2596mm2232mm2530-560mm2
Memory ArchitectureGDDR5GDDR5HBM1GDDR5HBM2

This is all of the information we have right now to share with you but there is an interesting event coming up that might reveal some new information on what I have just talked about here. The event known as Capsaicin and Cream will be live streamed from GDC on 28th February and AMD will be showcasing new graphics and VR technologies that are propelling the games industry forward. Make sure that you don't miss the event and do register over here for more details.

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