Advanced Micro Devices officials earlier this year at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show introduced Polaris, its upcoming GPU architecture that they said will help drive the company’s ambitions in such areas as gaming, immersive computing and virtual reality.
Now the processor vendor has an online microsite dedicated to the architecture, promoting new features in the graphics chip, from improved performance and support for next-generation gaming monitors to enhanced virtual reality (VR) capabilities. It also touts the fact that the Polaris 10 and 11 GPUs will be built on a 14-nanomter 3D FinFET transistor design, which enables significant improvements in performance and power efficiency.
The FinFET PC GPU architecture will help more than double the performance-per-watt of previous Radeon graphics technologies, according to company officials. It also allowed AMD to drop its graphics offerings in size from 28nm—where the company had been for five years—to 14nm, enabling it to better compete with rivals like Nvidia and Intel.
“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,” the company says on the site.
Graphics technologies continue to be a key part of AMD’s future efforts, enabling the company to compete in a broad range of growth areas in the industry, including gaming, immersive computing and VR. Company executives have pointed to graphics, semi-custom chips, the data center and high-end PCs as key drivers in AMD’s turnaround efforts and strategy to return to sustainable profitability.
Over the past year, AMD has created the Radeon Technology Group (RTG) to oversee GPU efforts, unveiled a range of new GPUs—including the Fury chips last year, which were the first to include the vendor’s high-bandwidth memory (HBM) technology—rolled out Radeon Software Crimson to replace its Catalyst Control Center and compete with Nvidia’s GeForce Experience software, and introduced the Boltzmann Initiative, a project designed to make it easier to develop high-performance computing applications for the FirePro graphics technology.
Polaris will play an important role in pushing AMD’s graphics ambitions. In a video in January when Polaris was first introduced, Joe Cox, senior director of graphics IP at the company, said Polaris will offer significant improvements in performance-per-watt for the Radeon family of GPUs.
“If the goal is to be in a market with a compelling new product that has compelling new power [and] performance, I would expect nothing less,” Cox said.
During a conference call April 21 to talk about the company’s first-quarter financial numbers, AMD President and CEO Lisa Su said she was pleased with the company’s work around graphics.
“Our investments in graphics and our focus on creating industry-leading drivers and software are starting to pay off,” Su said, according to a transcript on Seeking Alpha. “We have delivered seven new graphics driver releases in the first quarter alone, not only improving the performance and user experience of our GPUs, but also adding support for new AAA game titles and features like our innovative XConnect external GPU technology.”
She said AMD will continue to expand its efforts in graphics, noting that VR will play an important role in the company’s future in both the consumer and commercial spaces and pointing to AMD’s new $1,500 Radeon Pro Duo platform for VR creation and consumption.
The Polaris GPUs will launch in the middle of the year, she said, adding that “Polaris delivers double the performance-per-watt of our current mainstream offerings, which we believe provides us with significant opportunities to gain share.”