We already know that AMD is preparing two new GPU chips to replace the current low and mid-end graphics segment for desktop users. There is not much information available regarding whats new in the upcoming GCN architecture but our sources have presented some interesting facts. The most shocking one is that the previously alleged Hawaii XTX which was later abandoned is still on board and it will be launched as the new flagship GPU in the R9 2xx series however it will not incorporate the latest GCN technologies.
AMD Iceland and Tonga will feature UAV Ordering & FCR
AMD Iceland is a new GPU which is designed to compete against NVIDIA’s GM107 in the mobile graphics segment. It is set to replace the Cape Verde HD 7700 series GPU. Most probably it will cater to low-end mobile chips and later ported to desktop parts as well. It will not replace the current GPUs but will be sold along side them until a complete re-design of the latest GCN architecture is done. This indicates that it will be a re-brand to revive AMD GPUs.
AMD Tonga was rumored to be a power efficient chip finally in the works but those rumors were proven wrong once more information was leaked. Tonga features the same old Tahiti GPU (GCN 1.0) and will go on sale alongside Radeon R9 280 graphics cards. It will feature a 256-bit memory interface with 2/4 GB memory size.
The interesting bit is the introduction of two new technologies in both these chips. UAV Ordering (similar to Intel’s PixelSync technology) and FCR ( Fast Conservative Rasterization). UAV Ordering is not giving you access to buy an unmanned alien vehicle or something instead it will take care of three issues: 1) Order-independent transparency (OIT), 2) Complex scene anti-aliasing and transparency shadows. To better understand OIT you can head over to this AnandTech article.
Fast Conservative Rasterization (FCR)
FCR is an improved version of TressFX which we saw in Tomb Raider 2013. The rendering of hair and other complex items such as fences. TressFX only rendered complex objects before but FCR now adds anti-aliasing to those objects. In simple context, FCR further improves OIT and speeds up the rendering process. Both AMD Iceland and Tonga will feature these technologies.
AMD Hawaii XTX R9 295X
Interestingly, the rumors about Hawaii XTX were dismissed as soon as they popped up but our source tells us that it is indeed coming. The only change in the Hawaii XTX is the clock speed which will be higher compared to the current R9 290X. It will not feature UAV Ordering and FCR technologies as well since they are exclusive to AMD Iceland, Tonga and R9 3xx series.
AMD Iceland and Tonga will debut in a month while Radeon R9 3xx series is expected to launch sometime in Q1 2015.