Rumor says AMD’s Polaris GPU will soon launch, go head-to-head with Nvidia’s Pascal

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A report has surfaced claiming that AMD could reveal its first Polaris cards by the end of May. That points to a possible showing during Computex 2016, which takes place in Taipei between May 31 and June 4. The news follows previous reports that the Polaris architecture SKUs wouldn’t be introduced until sometime in the middle of 2016, pointing again to the Computex show.

AMD will supposedly hold a special launch event in Macau, China, during the weekend before Computex, which would be May 26 to May 29. Macau is billed as the Las Vegas of China, and is around an hour and a half away from Taipei by plane. This setting will allow AMD to go all out on the promotional front, with lots of glitz and glamour to dazzle the press.

During the special presentation, AMD is expected to showcase the Radeon R9 400 series of graphics cards based on Polaris 10 and Polaris 11 graphics processors. There’s also indication that the press will catch glimpses of what manufacturers will likely offer on the Polaris front, a tease of sorts before the GPUs are officially unveiled during the following Computex event.

The Polaris architecture is based on 14 nanometer FinFET process technology. It supports HDMI 2.0a, DisplayPort 1.3, 4K H.265 encode and decode, and AMD’s fourth-generation Graphics Core Next platform. AMD says Polaris is a “historic leap” in performance per watt for Radeon GPUs, promising faster speeds within the same thermal envelop when compared to older Radeon GPUs.

As previously reported, the Polaris 11 chip will target the notebook market while the Polaris 10 chip will focus on the mainstream desktop and high-end gaming notebook markets. The latter chip will be AMD’s flagship until Vega arrives sometime in 2017, and was recently spotted running Hitman in DirectX 12 at 1,440p resolution and 60 frames per second.

AMD actually previewed Polaris 11 during CES 2016 back in January, and recently showed to the press how it compares next to Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 950 in regards to the 50-watt difference between 14-nanometer and 28-nanometer process technologies. The wattage of this chip will supposedly be under 50 watts, a mobility-focused GPU that will be small but extremely efficient.

The Polaris reveal will arrive just after Nvidia make its shiny new GeForce GTX 1080 card available to the public. Based on the “Pascal” architecture, the Nvidia card will have a base clock of 1,607MHz, a boost clock of 1,733MHz, 2,560 CUDA cores, 8GB of GDDR5X memory, a memory speed of 10Gbps, a 256-bit memory interface width, and a memory bandwidth of 320GB per second. The card will cost $600 at launch.

Computex is shaping up to be an interesting event this year. We look forward to seeing what AMD will actually reveal during its pre-show press event, so stay tuned for more coverage on the Polaris front.


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