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AMD will launch two Polaris chips in 2016

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AMD turned quite a few heads when it released its High Bandwidth Memory-sporting, small-form factor Fury GPUs in 2015, and it’s hoping to do the same again with its next-generation Polaris graphics cards in 2016. Along with promises of big performance and energy savings though, it turns out there will be two distinct chips coming this year, aimed at two entirely different markets.

The first, according to AMD’s Raja Koduri (via VentureBeat), is Polaris 10, and is considered a “console class” GPU. It’s designed with small form-factor notebooks in mind, ones that value battery life and portability over grunt, but will still have some gaming capabilities. The focus of the second GPU, the Polaris 11, wasn’t named, but a bit of deductive reasoning suggests it’s either a higher-end piece of kit, or aimed more at business users.

Regardless, Koduri is confident that AMD will have a head start on Nvidia when it does launch, highlighting that the green firm has yet to showcase real-world performance numbers for its next-gen Pascal GPUs, only some statistics in specialized applications. By comparison, AMD has released numbers on its GTX 950-range Polaris GPU, indicating that it outputs the same frame rates, but at a much reduced power requirement.

For those concerned that this splitting of the chip generation will mean some sort of fragmentation of the age-old Radeon branding, never fear. AMD has confirmed that Polaris is an architecture name only and “it’ll still say Radeon something something on the box,” according to Koduri.

It’s a pretty big change-up from previous generations, however. Although it will also sport the Graphics Core Next nomenclature (as the fourth generation of that revolutionary design) this is said to be the biggest jump in performance in several generations. With an entirely re-designed main processor, a new geometry processor, new multimedia cores and more, this Polaris is designed to be something quite special in terms of performance, with a much reduced footprint.

That’s just about a perfect combination, on paper at least. We’ll have to wait until later this year to find out if it translates to the real world.

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