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AMD’s GPU roadmap hints at what is to come after Polaris

By Koh Wanzi - on 17 Mar 2016, 2:41pm

AMD’s GPU roadmap hints at what is to come after Polaris

AMD GPU roadmap 2016

AMD’s Capsaicin event at GDC 2016 may have been dominated almost exclusively by virtual reality announcements, but the company also took the chance to tease what else it had in the pipeline with an 18-month GPU roadmap.

The roadmap offers few specifics, but it’s sprinkled with a couple of interesting details. For one, it’s looking like Polaris may not linger for long after all, as AMD’s next-generation Vega GPU is projected to arrive shortly after the North Star. Vega appears to be slated for a very late 2016 or early 2017 launch, which is actually really soon, especially because Polaris is only expected to arrive in the middle of this year.

On top of that, AMD indicated specifically that Vega would feature HBM2, or second-generation High Bandwidth Memory. This suggests that Vega could represent a major architectural overhaul over the current GCN architecture, which Polaris will still be based on. AMD also omitted any mention of the type of memory that Polaris will use, and given that HBM2 has been conspicuously pegged to Vega, Polaris could instead utilize GDDR5X memory.

However, the GDDR5X memory standard was only just finalized by JEDEC in January, and availability isn’t expected for a number of months yet. As a result, Polaris may end up using traditional GDDR5 memory, or even first-generation HBM. In fact, AMD’s Raja Koduri has reportedly hinted to PC Perspective that Polaris will be equipped with HBM.

Things get a bit more vague beyond Vega, with AMD listing an architecture dubbed Navi, featuring an unnamed next-generation memory and scalability. This looks set to drop sometime in 2018, but there are few other details available at this point.