AMD gave a demo of their upcoming Polaris 10 GPU based on the next-generation FinFET process at the Capsaicin live event. The demo board ran the latest DX12 titles with a constant 60 FPS at maximum settings. The board wasn’t shown to the public but some journalists were able to get some shots of the graphics board which reveals some interesting new details.
Polaris GPUs are based on the latest GCN architecture from AMD. Polaris features the fourth generation of the Graphics Core Next architecture which has been on the market since 2012. The Polaris architecture will be used in many GPUs including a high-end Polaris 10 GPU and an another entry level GPU. Polaris 10 GPU was recently demonstrated at the Capsaicin 2016 event while the Polaris 11 was demoed at CES 2016.
Polaris is the first AMD architecture to use the latest 14nm FinFET process developed by Global Foundries which allows far greater performance (up to 2.5x per Watt) and efficiency as compared to the current generation architectures. This performance enhancement is rather impressive. Polaris will also enhance the GPU performance when it comes to VR content through various software optimizations.
The Polaris 10 GPU was demoed using the latest Hitman which utilizes DirectX 12 and the GPU delivered a constant 60+ FPS on 2560×1440 resolution without any hiccups. The demo was, however, really short.
I did get to see AMD’s Polaris 11 GPU running PASSIVELY while playing back 4K VR content last night. Pretty impressive. #AMDCapsaicin
— Ryan Shrout (@ryanshrout) 15 March 2016
Ryan Shrout at PCPerspective has reported that he had seen a demo of Polaris 11 GPU playing a 4K VR content while being extremely cool. This is very impressive of a small GPU like Polaris 11 GPU to play such content at a stable rate without getting heated.
Polaris 10 GPU comes in a small Cooler Master Elite case with an ITX form factor. This case has limited airflow and considering that it’s quite impressive that it was able to play the Hitman at a constant 60 FPS. Hitman benchmarks clearly reveal that it can be played at such FPS and resolution only through top-end GPUs.
Interestingly, the sample board was similar to the Radeon R9 Nano in terms of size, so this may indicate that AMD is going to compact boards. It also suggests that the Nano 2 is on cards, considering the memory type being used.
This card may come as a Fiji replacement and may use the HBM memory on board. Polaris 11, however, uses the GDDR5 memory and will feature on a lot of notebooks and lower-end PCs.
The image of the Polaris 10 graphics board shows three Display Port 1.3 outputs, a DVI-D port and a single HDMI 2.0 output. The board includes a standard exhaust vent, also there are pins over the XDMA lane but they just may be part of the demo board. The internals couldn’t be seen but the case is really compact and so is the graphics board.
AMD will also reconsider their pricing strategy for their Polaris 10 and Polaris 11 GPUs. Raja Koduri, Chief Architect Radeon Technologies Group said this to PCPer:
“What you’ll see us do is completely different with Polaris 10 and 11. We are really focusing on trying to bring FinFET technology with it’s amazing performance per watt to as many segments as possible. As many range of performance as possible. I can tell you Ryan, you and your readers, you’ll be pleased at what we’re going to do with this thing and you’ll be surprised.
“We’re looking at the entire gamut of players, how many millions of them are there, what they buy, the performance per dollar aspect. How do we make it sweet for them from the performance per dollar aspect”
AMD had to cut down the price of its Nano cards to $499 US from $649 just a few months after their launch. Although AMD’s current pricing is competitive but it still needs to reconsider their pricing for their upcoming GPUs, especially for the high-end ones.