AMD's new flagship Radeon graphics card pictured by Battlefield's tech guru

radeon r9 390x
Johan Andersson

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After months of teasing and rumors, the world got its first official glimpse at AMD’s forthcoming flagship Radeon graphics card on Friday, as EA technical director Johan Andersson tweeted out the above picture.

Andersson’s one of the big brains behind EA’s Frostbite engine, which powers Dragon Age: Inquisition and the Battlefield series. Frostbite was also the first high-profile engine to support AMD’s Mantle technology—which has since morphed into Vulkan—so it’s no surprise to see Andersson being among the first people to fondle the new graphics card.

The design of the card itself matches the leaked renders that hit the web a few weeks back. The design cues clearly crib from the beastly Radeon R9 295x2, a dual-GPU monster that packs integrated water-cooling. AMD’s Radeon R9 390X—as it’s been called in leaks, as it hasn’t officially been announced yet—is also said to sport water-cooling. (Notice the lack of fans in the above picture?)

Additionally, the leaked renders from a few weeks back showed a card of almost shockingly short length, and if you look closely at Andersson’s image, this real deal graphics card also appears to be far shorter than the 11- to 12-inch length standard with high-end cards.

hbm vs gddr5 surface area

1GB of HBM takes up far less space than 1GB of traditional GDDR5 memory.

Assuming that’s not just wishful thinking on my part, the abbreviated length can no doubt be chalked up to the new Radeon flagship’s use of cutting-edge high-bandwidth memory, which stacks RAM onto the GPU package to provide far more bandwidth than today’s GDDR5 memory while using a drastically smaller footprint.

“[HBM] enables a lot of really interesting form factors,” AMD CEO Lisa Su said during the company’s recent financial analysts day, where the technology was revealed. PCWorld’s HBM overview has far more nitty-gritty details if you’re interested.

The rumored Radeon R9 390X is said to be powered by a new Fiji GPU, though again, AMD’s yet to confirm anything concrete. The company’s vowed to reveal its HBM-equipped graphics card before the end of June, so expect to learn much, much more either at Computex during the first week of June, or at the big E3 gaming expo mid-June, where AMD’s co-hosting a blockbuster event dedicated to PC gaming.

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