The battle for the long-awaited next generation of graphics cards is about to get real.
After Nvidia came out swinging with the Titan-slaying GeForce GTX 1080, a badass graphics card built around the company’s cutting-edge 16nm Pascal GPUs, all signs point to AMD preparing its Radeon counterpunch. The company just announced plans for a livestreamed event during Computex 2016, at 10 p.m. Eastern on May 31.
The brief announcement doesn’t indicate in detail what will be on show in the livestream (which are typically reserved for large product launches), but Radeon graphics guru Raja Koduri will host alongside AMD CEO Lisa Su. And when the company announced its 14nm Polaris GPUs in January, it said that the first Polaris-based products will ship around the middle of the year. You don’t get much more middle of the year than May 31.
That being said, the release only promises “Polaris updates,” so AMD might not necessarily reveal hard information about Polaris-based graphics cards, much less initiate a hard launch.
The story behind the story: It’ll be interesting to see what, exactly, AMD unveils at Computex if it indeed launches new Radeon graphics cards. Nvidia kicked off the new generation with a bang with the powerhouse $600 GTX 1080, but AMD’s behavior indicates it’ll target a more mainstream audience with its first Polaris-based graphics cards. In other words, the Polaris debut might take aim at more affordable price points rather than take on Nvidia’s beast head-to-head.
“Vega,” the codename for powerful 14nm Radeon graphics cards with second-gen high-bandwidth memory, aren’t expected until the end of the year per AMD’s GPU roadmap.
More than graphics cards
But graphics cards aren’t the only products that’ll house Polaris GPUs.
AMD’s accelerated processing units, or APUs, blend AMD CPU cores and GPU cores together on the same chip, and AMD’s next-gen “Bristol Ridge” APUs will definitely make an appearance in the livestream. How do we know for sure? AMD “pre-announced” Bristol Ridge earlier this year and explicitly said to look for more info on May 31 at Computex.
Both dual CPU-core and quad CPU-core versions of Bristol Ridge are planned, paired with up to eight graphics cores depending on the variant. AMD says the new chips will be about 40 percent faster than the Kaveri APUs that shipped in 2014. Take note, chip geeks: Bristol Ridge’s CPUs will be built using the same 28nm technology as 2015’s Carrizo APUs, rather than moving to the new high-performance Zen architecture AMD’s rolling out later this year.