AMD has confirmed that new cards will be released this year and HD 7000-series parts as their plans for 2013 were clarified.
There has been a lot of talk lately about AMD’s official GPU strategy for 2013 and how it flew in the fact of numerous rumors. Instead of releasing a desktop graphics architecture that improves upon the HD 7000-series’ performance and feature set, it looked increasingly like that wouldn’t happen in the first three quarters of this year. We now have some additional details from AMD’s top brass about what this year will look like from their perspective.
First of all, some clarification is in order. While Sea Islands features the same GCN architecture as the current generation, it utilizes a new chip configuration which augments efficiency without sacrificing performance. According to AMD, the Sea Islands chips are an incremental update that’s meant to focus on OEM notebook design cycles and gain some much-needed design wins in the mobile space. The Solar System HD 8000M-series is simply a subset of the Sea Islands family, though the upcoming “Mars” chip (likely used in the HD 8970M) is built using an entirely different design.
With that off the table, AMD confirmed previous reports and reiterated that they don’t intend to release a new desktop graphics series for the time being. Through the first half of 2013 expect the high-end product stack (the HD 7900-series and HD 7800-series) to remain unchanged while the HD 7970 GHz Edition will continue on as their fastest single GPU card throughout 2013.
However, while there may not be a brand new GPU architecture from AMD before Q4, cards will certainly be released within the HD 7000-series’ stack in order to flesh out its top-to-bottom offering. As a matter of fact, we now have official confirmation that additional HD 7000-series products will be available in the first half of 2013. Naturally this strategy isn’t aiming to replace the enthusiast products so expect a bridge offering that lies somewhere between the HD 7700 and HD 7800 SKUs.
One of the widely-rumored HD 7800-series successors was the so-called “Oland” chip but once again, AMD put this rumor to rest. For now, Oland will solely be used in the OEM-only HD 8600 series, though we wouldn’t be surprised to see it morph into the desktop product space as a HD 7000-series filler SKU.
While 2013 may not hold a ton of excitement from AMD from the engineering side, several of their strategic focuses are beginning to pay dividends. Relations with ISVs have been improved dramatically, resulting in a renaissance for the Gaming Evolved program. This has allowed for the inclusion of several industry leading Never Settle gaming bundles alongside Radeon graphics cards. Supposedly, this has led to record sales of AMD graphics cards with several SKUs selling out on Newegg and other retailers.
AMD doesn’t have a major announcement planned (at least not publically) but this company certainly isn’t sitting idle either. They’re still on track to introduce a new architecture before the closing days of 2013 and there are likely some pleasant surprises on the horizon as well. All of these announcements don’t represent delays though, supposedly the internal graphics roadmap hasn’t changed in any way. Regardless of whether you agree with this strategy or not, it’s great to see that AMD has so much confidence in their current lineup.
Under no circumstance does AMD intend to relinquish a grip on their graphics leadership so this could actually mark the beginning of a new battle for supremacy rather than the end of market competition as some naysayers would have you believe.