AMD provided customers with a glimpse of its upcoming 2016 Polaris GPU architecture, highlighting a wide range of significant architectural improvements including HDR monitor support, and industry-leading performance-per-watt.
AMD has unveiled the company’s strategy for its upcoming Polaris architecture-based Radeon RX-series graphics cards, introducing levels of VR performance and future-proof technologies at a variety of price points. The Radeon RX 480 delivers premium VR capability at a comfortable price for the 4GB edition.
AMD’s Polaris architecture-based 14nm FinFET GPUs deliver a remarkable generational jump in power efficiency. Polaris-based GPUs are designed for fluid frame rates in graphics, gaming, VR and multimedia applications running on compelling small form-factor thin and light computer designs.
“Our new Polaris architecture showcases significant advances in performance, power efficiency and features,” said Lisa Su, president and CEO, AMD. “2016 will be a very exciting year for Radeon fans driven by our Polaris architecture, Radeon Software Crimson Edition and a host of other innovations in the pipeline from our Radeon Technologies Group.”
The Polaris architecture features AMD’s 4th generation Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture, a next-generation display engine with support for HDMI 2.0a and DisplayPort 1.3, and next-generation multimedia features including 4K h.265 encoding and decoding.
AMD has an established track record for dramatically increasing the energy efficiency of its mobile processors, targeting a 25x improvement by the year 2020. AMD expects that affordable PC VR enabled by Polaris architecture-based graphics cards will drive a wide range of VR-ready desktops and notebooks, providing a catalyst for the expansion of the addressable market to an estimated 100 million consumers over the next 10 years.
Thus far, retail has not been a viable channel for VR sales as average system costs exceeding US$999 have precluded VR-ready PCs from seeing substantial shelf space. The Radeon RX-series graphics cards will enable OEMs to build ideally priced VR-ready desktops and notebooks well suited for the retail PC market, according to AMD.
Adoption of PC VR technologies by mainstream consumers is expected to spur further developer interest across the ecosystem, unleashing new VR applications in education, entertainment, and productivity as developers seek to capitalize on the growing popularity of the medium.
AMD expects Polaris architecture-based graphics cards will dramatically accelerate the pace of the VR ecosystem, driving greater consumer adoption, further developer interest, and increased production of HMDs, ultimately resulting in a lower cost of entry as prices throughout the VR ecosystem decrease over time.
The Radeon RX-series launch represents the first salvo in AMD’s new Water Drop strategy aimed at releasing new graphics architectures in high volume segments first to support continued market share growth for Radeon GPUs. In May 2016, Mercury Research reported that AMD gained 3.2% market share in discrete GPUs in the first quarter of 2016. The Radeon RX-series will address a substantial opportunity in PC gaming: more than 13.8 million PC gamers who spend US$100-300 to upgrade their graphics cards, and 84% of competitive and AAA PC gamers.
The hallmark of AMD’s next generation Polaris architecture is the highly anticipated move to the revolutionary FinFET process technology and considerable engineering focus on innovations to push architectural efficiency.