AMD has officially turned on the hype machine for Polaris, its next generation GPU architecture that will eventually be the foundation of a new family of Radeon GPUs from top to bottom. In anticipation of its launch later this year, AMD has erected a dedicated Polaris page on its website that highlights the various technologies and features involved.
The new microsite also provides what looks to be the first glimpse of a naked Polaris GPU. It appears in a banner at the top of the page—the GPU is seen floating in space surrounded by stars (Polaris is the brightest star in the constellation Ursa Minor). It's labeled "Polaris Architecture" and underneath it reads "Designed for FinFET" (we've blown it up above).
Not to be understated, FinFET is the key to Polaris. The new GPU architecture is being built on a 14nm FinFET process, which use 3D structures that rise above the planar substrate. Compared to a traditional planar gate, FinFET transistors offer double the gate control and allows for more on current and lower off current.
"The Polaris architecture precisely combines the latest 14nm FinFET process and AMD's advanced power, gating and clocking technologies for a superior cool and quiet gaming experience," AMD states on its microsite.
AMD's Polaris page doesn't offer any new information on the GPU architecture, but it's a good starting point for anyone wanting to learn more about it. An earlier version of the page also contained a second picture of what appeared to be a Polaris GPU underneath the "4th-Gen GCN" heading, but it's no longer there. Instead, AMD uses to space to pimp the async compute and geometric capabilities of Polaris, noting support for the DirectX 12 and Vulkan APIs.
For some, one of the biggest reasons to be excited about Polaris is that VR is here and it requires some pretty powerful hardware. According to AMD, Polaris was "engineered to provide premium VR experiences to a wide range of users." It's not likely that lower end Polaris parts will make the cut for systems like Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, but from mid-range on up, it's fair game. Perhaps more meaningful is AMD's claim of Polaris delivering a 2.5x performance-per-watt improvement over its current 28nm hardware.
In any event, barring any last minute delays we should see Polaris-based video cards this summer. If you want to be informed when products are available, there's a "Notify Me" link on AMD's Polaris page.