Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD) held its “Capsaicin” press briefing this week at the Game Developers Conference, relaying its vision for the future and showcasing upcoming technologies. Most importantly, the company shared the full roadmap with attendees. Although it wasn’t released for the public, details have nonetheless slipped out.
It was previously known that AMD plans to launch Polaris for 2016, but now we know that “Vega” will replace Polaris for 2017. Vega is scheduled for an early 2017 launch and the architecture will come equipped with High Bandwidth Memory 2 (HBM2).
It was previously expected that Polaris will incorporate the second generation of HBM, but now it seems that Polaris will just launch with GDDR5 or GDDR5X. It is likely that high-end tier, which replaces the R9 390 and R9 390X, will come equipped with the rumored GDDR5X, while the mid-range and low-end tiers will continue to use GDDR5. All GPUs in the new architecture will be manufactured on the new 14nm fabrication process, delivering 2.5x performance per watt compared to existing architecture.
Considering that Vega is launching so close to the Polaris and knowing that HBM2 is not expected to become available in mass production before later this year, the roadmap makes total sense now. Vega, with its HBM2, might be a replacement for the Fury series, since the Fury series was the first and only to have HBM. Another possibility is that flagship Polaris-based GPUs will use HBM1.
“Navi” is the architecture that will take over Vega in 2018. There is not much to talk about the architecture except it will feature “Scalability” and “Next gen memory”. We can assume that next-gen memory may refer to the third iteration of HBM.
All things considered, Polaris will be a paradigm shift for the industry as we will finally move away from the 28nm process, making future GPUs much more efficient. The first Polaris-based GPUs are expected to launch in the second quarter of 2016.