AMD Working on Two “Polaris” GPUs says Raja Koduri

AMD Radeon Technologies Group Head Raja Koduri, in an interview with Venture Beat, confirmed that, AMD is currently working on two 14 nm FinFET GPUs based on the Polaris 4th generation Graphics CoreNext architecture, referring two chips as “Polaris 10” and “Polaris 11.” He also says that the two chips are “extremely power efficient.”


Is that with a generation coming in 2016?

Koduri: Yes. We have two versions of these FinFET GPUs. Both are extremely power efficient. This is Polaris 10 and that’s Polaris 11. In terms of what we’ve done at the high level, it’s our most revolutionary jump in performance so far. We’ve redesigned many blocks in our cores. We’ve redesigned the main processor, a new geometry processor, a completely new fourth-generation Graphics Core Next with a very high increase in performance. We have new multimedia cores, a new display engine.

Polaris architecture

This is very early silicon, by the way. We have much more performance optimization to do in the coming months. But even in this early silicon, we’re seeing numbers versus the best class on the competition running at a heavy workload, like Star Wars—The competing system consumes 140 watts. This is 86 watts. We believe we’re several months ahead of this transition, especially for the notebook and the mainstream market. The competition is talking about chips for cars and stuff, but not the mainstream market.

Polaris key features

In summary, it’s fourth generation Graphics Core Next. HDMI 2.0. It supports all the new 4K displays and TVs coming out with just plug and play. It supports DisplayPort 1.3, the latest specification. It’s very exciting 4K support. We can do HAVC encode and decode at 4K on this chip. It’ll be great for game streaming at high resolution, which gamers absolutely love. It takes no cycles away from games. You can record gameplay and still have an awesome frame rate. It’ll be available in mid-2016.

Polaris performance per watt

VB: Does the Polaris brand supplant the Radeon brand?

Koduri: It’s an architecture codename. It’ll still be Radeon something something on the box. But we didn’t have a consistent architecture name like our competitors do. It was hard, because for people, including yourselves and some of the press and enthusiasts—This family of chips has this architecture and a similar class of features. You can group them easily together.

When we set to design this GPU, we set a completely different goal than for the usual way the PC road maps go. Those are driven by, the benchmark score this year is X. Next year we need to target 20 percent better at this cost and this power. We decided to do something exciting with this GPU. Let’s spike it so we can accomplish something we hadn’t accomplished before.

The target we set was to do console-class gaming on a thin and light notebook. What does that take for the GPU in terms of power and configuration? I’m proud to say we’ve accomplished that goal with this GPU.