The first rumblings of what AMD has in store for 2015 are reaching the leak scene. We previously published a post on how the word on the rumor mill is that the time frames for the new Pirate Islands R9 380X GPU is in the first half of 2015. Well, today we have a very authentic-rumor (pardon the contradiction, but notice the 'rumor' part) from one of our oldest Chinese source, namely Chris Low over at VR-Zone.com.
AMD's R9 380X and Pirate Islands GPUs Will be based on the 20nm Node
Chris states that his internal sources have confirmed that Pirate Islands are going to be on the 20nm process. This should come as a relief to skeptics that were expecting the 20nm delay to continue till after the second quarter of 2015 (Yes, that was/is a possibility and one of the primary reasons why Nvidia might keep the GM200 GPU hidden as a trump card). They also mention that AMD is going to take a leaf out of Nvidia's book and release the R9 380X 'Fiji' GPU first, followed by the flagship R9 390X 'Bermuda' GPU some time later. Pirate Islands is also going to get HDMI 2.0 (an upgrade from HDMI 1.4) and Display Port 1.3 depending on a few variables.
There is also word that AMD will not be utilizing the 20nm Process for CPUs anytime soon. An unconfirmed report from Bitsandchips.it claims that infact, AMD won't even use the 20nm node for APUs. The reason they give is that 20nm Planar is not mature enough to be used for the complex architecture that is an HSA based APU. This would require the use of double patterning and triple patterning techniques which are currently not possible at TSMC's 20nm Process. They say that it is likely that the Carrizo APU stays at the 28nm node for now and after that AMD will jump directly to 16nm FinFET.
This recent bout of rumors is very enlightening, because if AMD is indeed releasing a 20nm GPU (Radeon R9 380X 'Fiji') in Q1 2015, then Nvidia will almost certainly launch the Maxwell GM200 GPU before the year ends. This would be in sync with the release pattern of the GM204 and allow Nvidia to enjoy almost half a year of absolute monopoly. However, if TSMC doesn't play favorites, the actual Red Vs. Green battle will begin anew on the 20nm Node, when the GM204 / GM200 20nm ports are pit against the Pirate Islands chips. Monopolies are the killers of innovation and regardless of which camp you pitch in, you don't want Red to loose the war completely. It looks like AMD has accepted the loss this time and is preparing for the second round in 2015; so here is me wishing AMD the very best of luck.
— Usman Pirzada (@usmanpirzada) September 29, 2014