Over the past few months, AMD has been preoccupied with shoving its Polaris-based GPUs (GCN 4.0) out the door. Offering a 2x advantage in performance-per-watt compared to its predecessors, the Radeon RX 480, RX 470 and RX 460 offer great performance at reasonable prices.
But what about the follow-up to Polaris? Well, according to a leaked AMD slide deck, Vega GPU architecture (GCN 5.0) is due out during the first half of 2017. The parts will still be manufactured on a 14nm process tech, however, whereas Polaris is aimed at the low-end to mainstream sector of the graphics market, Vega is aimed squarely at enthusiasts.
AMD was the first to introduce us to High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) with its lineup of Fiji-based graphics cards last year, and Vega will bring with it next generation HBM2. HBM2 offers twice the bandwidth of its predecessor and reached commercially availability earlier this summer with the launch of NVIDIA’s Tesla P100 accelerator.
We also know that Vega cards will have 4096 stream processors, up from 2304 on the RX 480, and matching that of the Fiji-based Radeon R9 Fury X (which is appropriate given its flagship aspirations). But given the efficiency improvements from the 14nm process coupled with HBM2, we should see some pretty dramatic improvements in performance-per-watt compared to both Fiji, and even Polaris.
The first half of 2017 should be an exciting time for hardware enthusiasts. Not only will Vega be making its appearance as AMD’s next generation graphics flagship, but AMD’s Zen CPU architecture should also be trickling out onto the consumer market during the first quarter of 2017.