New AMD Polaris 12 and Vega 10 Chips Pass RRA Certification – ‘Radeon RX 490’ 4K VR Flagship Graphics Card Inbound


AMD's upcoming and brand new GPUs have finally passed RRA certification indicating a milestone completed in their race to hit the shelves. The GPUs in question appear to be the Vega 10 device as well as the Polaris 12 GPU. Which Radeon graphics cards these GPUs will eventually correspond to is anyone's guess but we can safely expect at least one of these to power the upcoming RX 490 flagship (or whatever it ends up being called).

Exclusive: AMD's flagship Vega 10 powered RX 490 graphics card and entry level Polaris 12 GPU receive RRA certification

The RX 490 will be AMD’s 4K ready flagship that will be taking on the GTX 1080 at a (probably) similar price point. It is going to be the crown jewel in AMD’s RX lineup. The existing Polaris based lineup currently maxes out at the Polaris 10 based RX 480 – which is roughly equivalent to the GTX 1060 in terms of graphical performance. According to AMD, Polaris 10 is the largest 14nm FinFET GPU available right now and that raises interesting questions what we can expect from the RX 490.

Here are the things we know for sure, thanks to previous leaks and AMD's own documents:

  • It will target the 4K resolution and be the go-to graphics card for VR.
  • It will have a bus width greater than 256 bits.
  • It will be based on either a dual-GPU Polaris 10 design or Vega 10.
  • Its going to be close to the price point of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080.

As our readers are well aware by now, there are exactly two sources of consistent and authentic information on upcoming graphics cards: the Zauba shipping database and the RRA certification notifications. All chips that are designed by TSMC or GloFo need to get certification by the RRA to make sure the chip passes all regulatory standards.

The RX 490 will target the 4K resolution. Image for illustrative purposes only.

RRA is South Korea’s National Radio Research Agency and any silicon based electronics must receive their stamp of approval before it’s allowed to be a consumer product. The certification also marks the final stages of the design of a particular GPU (no changes can be made after this certification is received). Fortunately for us, RRA tweets about every major chip that passes certification and from this we can usually get a fairly accurate idea of where a particular GPU is in its lifecycle.

The RRA certifications list the following details:

  • MSIP-REM-ATI-102-D04001 - this particular GPU passed RRA Certification on the 17th of November this year and the nomenclature indicates a Vega based GPU (more detail on nomenclature analysis is given below). Since this is one of the first variants of the Vega architecture to pass RRA certification, this means we are looking at Vega 10 (AMD's nomenclature works in a chronological order so the first chip to be produced is called 10, the next 11 and so on). You can find the official link over here.
  • MSIP-REM-ATI-102-C90603 - this is the second GPU containing an internal codename we have not seen before and appears to be the Polaris 12 GPU in the flesh. Four sub-variants are listed on the certification and the chip got the RRA Cert on the 9th of December. This also gives us an important hint: the Polaris 12 GPU is actually slightly behind the Vega 10 GPU as far as its development cycle is concerned, implying that we will probably see the Vega 10 in a consumer format before the Polaris 12 based device. You can find the official link over here.

Immediately after getting the internal codenames from Zauba, we did a basic lookup at Zauba but as of yet, they have not appeared (in cleartext) along with the various other identifying information. AMD uses a predictable nomenclature while naming its test boards. All of these boards start with the letter C (which probably stands for consumer) followed by five numbers. The first digit after C almost certainly denotes the generation of the graphics card. The second digit apparently represents the relative rank of the chip in the same lineup. The numbers that follow are much harder to guess at externally and can depict any specification whatsoever. Since the numbering follows a very obvious trend however, its not that hard to figure out how AMD builds the lineup. Before we go any further, take a look below.

Hawaii boards for were named C6XXXX, Tonga boards C7XXXX and Fiji boards C8XXXX. In fact, if we are being specific about it than the exact code names were:

  • Hawaii XT had the C67101 code name.
  • Tonga had the C76501 code name.
  • Fiji XT had the C88001 code name.

By the same logic, Polaris (and other GCN 4.0) boards should have the C9XXXX nomenclature, and this is something we have already seen before. The Baffin XT GPU listed on Zauba had the C98101 code name, which is clearly a Polaris die. Apart from that we spotted a total of two more variants on Zauba which are probably also Polaris GPUs. Keep in mind that the INR value given to these dies is just the insurance value (and does not depict the expected MSRP of the same).

AMD Next Generation Vega 10, 11, 20 and Dual GPU Graphics Card Rumored Lineup:

WCCFTechPolaris 10Vega 11Vega 10Vega 10 Dual GPUVega 20
Process14nm FinFET14nm FinFET14nm FinFET14nm FinFET7nm FinFET
Transistors In Billions5.7TBATBATBATBA
Stream Processors23042304+ (est.)409681924096
Clock Speed1266 MhzTBA1526 Mhz 1100 Mhz+ (est.)1800 Mhz+ (est.)
Performance5.8 TFLOPSTBA12.5 TFLOPS19 TFLOPS - 24 TFLOPs (est.)15 TFLOPS+
Memory8GB GDDR5TBA8GB/16GB HBM216-32GB HBM216-32GB HBM2
Memory Bus256bitTBA2048-bit (2 Stacks)4096-bit (2048-bit x2)4096-bit (4 Stacks)
PCI Express3.0TBA3.03.0 4.0
Bandwidth256 GB/sTBA512 GB/s1 TB/s1 TB/s