Having just left the stage at AMD’s financial analyst day is CEO Dr. Lisa Su, who was on stage to present an update on AMD’s computing and graphic business. As AMD has already previously discussed their technology roadmaps over the next two years earlier in this presentation, we’ll jump right into the new material.

Not mentioned in AMD’s GPU roadmap but now being mentioned by Dr. Su is confirmation that AMD will be launching new desktop GPUs this quarter. AMD is not saying much about these new products quite yet, though based on their description it does sound like we’re looking at high-performance products (and for anyone asking, the picture of the card is a placeholder; AMD doesn’t want to show any pictures of the real product quite yet). These new products will support DirectX 12, though I will caution against confusing that with Feature Level 12_x support until we know more.

Meanwhile the big news here is that these forthcoming GPUs will be the first AMD GPUs to support High Bandwidth Memory. AMD’s GPU roadmap coyly labels this as a 2016 technology, but in fact it is coming to GPUs in 2015. The advantage of going with HBM at this time is that it will allow AMD to greatly increase their memory bandwidth capabilities while bringing down power consumption. Coupled with the fact that any new GPU from AMD should also include AMD’s latest color compression technology, and the implication is that the effective increase in memory bandwidth should be quite large. For AMD, they see this as being one of the keys of delivering better 4K performance along with better VR performance.

In the process AMD has also confirmed that these HBM-equipped GPUs will allow them to experiment with new form factors. By placing the memory on the same package as the GPU, AMD will be able to save space and produce smaller cards, which will allow them to produce designs other than the traditional large 10”+ cards that are typical of high-end video cards. AMD competitor NVIDIA has been working on HBM as well and has already shown off a test vehicle for one such card design, so we have reason to expect that AMD will be capable of something similar.

With apologies to AMD: NVIDIA’s Pascal Test Vehicle, An Example Of A Smaller, Non-Traditional Video Card Design

Finally, while talking about HBM on GPUs, AMD is also strongly hinting that they intend to bring HBM to other products as well. Given their product portfolio, we consider this to be a pretty transparent hint that the company wants to build HBM-equipped APUs. AMD’s APUs have traditionally struggled to reach peak performance due to their lack of memory bandwidth – 128-bit DDR3 only goes so far – so HBM would be a natural extension to APUs.

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  • nathanddrews - Wednesday, May 6, 2015 - link

    I suspect there will be some upset Titan X customers quite soon.
  • chizow - Wednesday, May 6, 2015 - link

    Why? We'll have enjoyed 3+ months of top-end GPU performance, and there's no indication from any of these slides that AMD's upcoming graphics will change performance hierarchy or the current pricing structure, at all.

    But most importantly, we won't have to deal with AMD drivers and half-baked ecosystem, we just get products and features that work, as advertised. Can't really put a price tag on that. :)

    My bet is AMD's single-GPU flagship slots in just under Titan X in performance, maybe 10-15% slower which will allow AMD to price it ~$700 until Nvidia responds with a 980Ti that will sit somewhere between that and the Titan X at that same $700 price point, forcing AMD to drop prices. GTX 980 drops to maybe $500 or so. 970 stays in that $300-330 range, and AMD's new parts are priced accordingly.
  • testbug00 - Wednesday, May 6, 2015 - link

    For 3+ month earlier performance, sure! Of course! Buying earlier for high end/lowest power/etc almost always has a premium.

    AMD's drivers really are on the same level as Nvidia's on the whole, if you want to talk 4+ years ago now. I can agree with you. My experience with NVidia professional + consumer product has been TERRIBLE for professional and fine for consumer. My AMD consumer + consumer + consumer product has been fine, fine and fine.

    However, statisticly, they are more or less even, perhaps a slight edge to Nvidia.

    And, according to all leaks it will have a bit over Titan X performance. These same leaks that were accurate for Titan X. So, I would say your predictions are very incorrect based on what has been shown to be accurate in the past. Hopefully for Nvidia those leaks are wrong. Hopefully for the consumer those leaks are right, driving down prices for everyone.
  • Manch - Wednesday, May 6, 2015 - link

    You're talking to a die hard NVIDIA fan. Might as well be talking to a tree.
  • chizow - Wednesday, May 6, 2015 - link

    It's easy to be a fan of the best, and solutions that work and make life simpler/easier. Which is why its hard to be an AMD fan.

    What's your excuse again for being a die hard AMD fan? Might as well ask a tree.
  • Impulses - Wednesday, May 6, 2015 - link

    What's anyone's excuse for being a brand fanatic over just buying the best bang for the buck? Seriously.
  • chizow - Wednesday, May 6, 2015 - link

    I guess, but that's also part of the problem, because the "bang" is going to be a lot different for everyone. Especially in this case, you're going to get a lot more "bang" from Nvidia for just a few more bucks.
  • Mikemk - Thursday, May 7, 2015 - link

    Agreed, though there are a couple brands I'm an antifan of.
  • Ziggurat - Thursday, May 7, 2015 - link

    If I may wager in with a constructive point. I am a self proclaimed Intel + Nvidia fanboy, but I get so happy when AMD makes great products, or awesome breakthroughs. 10 years ago I was a fan of AMD CPU's, and last summer a bought an R9 series GPU because I wanted to check out if AMD had a product I'd love to use. Good news, I now have R9 series graphics in my HTPC.

    Right now Nvidia is objectively the best GPU maker for enthusiasts, and AMD has some GPU's that are reasonable picks in few price classes. I would of course not switch teams in a heart beat, but if the two comapnies switch places in the totem pole, I will of course "put on a read team shirt". This technology difference is reflected in GPU marked share right now, and if AMD gave Nvidia a harder time holding that position, well Nvidia would become better them selves. The improvements we see from both sides comes from their plan to make more money, and competition is the instrument that makes the fruit we eat.

    I am a fanboy, or maybe I am not, because I'd not be angry if AMD bested Nvidia, I'd buy their graphics card.

    Now for AMD's CPU's, that's a sad state of affairs, but I can only hope they are not run out of the CPU business, because intel would suck without competition. This became a long comment, sorry.
  • chizow - Thursday, May 7, 2015 - link

    @Ziggurat I mostly agree with your position, I was also a big fan of AMD CPUs until they momentarily gained the lead with Athlon 64 and priced me and every one else in that $300 range out of the market.

    I've also said many times to AMD fanboys, that if current positions were reversed and any Nvidia GPU had an AMD logo on it, I'd buy it in a heartbeat, because clearly, right now, GeForce products are better top to bottom from both a hardware and software/end-user experience. We know for a fact AMD fanboys can't say the same thing, because they're still AMD fanboys using AMD cards!

    What I really dislike about AMD however, is they are incredibly dishonest when they don't have competitive parts, just lots of FUD and misinformation they put out there that their dim-witted fanboys parrot forever. Look at FreeSync as an example, we are still sorting through the BS that AMD has put out there through the whole FreeSync run-up. Its really hard to support a company that deals in BS like that.

    I also looked into an HTPC build last year and almost built a Kaveri-based system, but the lack of mini-ITX options at launch, the fact I would need a chassis and PSU, and ultimately, significantly higher price tag even with some really good Micro Center deals swayed me towards just building an Intel NUC. Slightly cheaper and a LOT less heat and footprint. Now? AMD wouldn't even be a consideration because you have ridiculously good Intel/Nvidia options like the Alienware Alpha.

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