If reports are to be believed, AMD may not be releasing a new graphics architecture this year. Instead, the HD 7000-series could remain front and center until 2014.
Even Graphics Core Next was introduced within the Southern-Islands architecture, members of the press and forum goers were talking about future desktop GPU developments. Names like Sea Islands and GCN 2.0 were bandied about with rumors pointing to a release date sometime in 2013. Even AMD’s own CES 2013 slides clearly showed the Solar System / Sea Islands architectures atop a roadmap for 2013. Granted, past announcements have been overly mobile-related but all indications pointed to a gradual phasing out of the HD 7000-series regardless of some rebranding on the OEM side.
Now, the situations seems to have changed. It all started with a number of tweets from AMD’s official Twitter account, the first of which pointed to an article in which Japanese site 4Gamer.net conducted an interview with AMD’s Devon Nekechuk. In it, Devon seems to have stated (provided Google garbled translation is half way accurate) that the HD 7000-series will remain in the market for the foreseeable future.
Normally a single source would have us rolling our collective eyes or at the very least hoping Google Translate was wrong but a clearer picture is now beginning to emerge. First and foremost is the chart above which was sent out to APAC press alongside AMD’s latest Never Settle game bundle. It shows the HD 7000-series (from the HD 7970 on down) continuing on until at least Q3 2013. In addition, AMD’s official Twitter account backed up this information with yet another noteworthy post:
This time it was AMD’s Product Marketing Manager Robert taking to the Twitterverse, ensuring the world understood the HD 7000-series is here to stay….”for quite some time”. If anything, this is a perfect example of how a short 65 character Twitter statement can have a ripple effect upon the entire industry.
While the exact reasoning behind this affair remains a mystery and the way it was announced is odd, what’s more interesting are the things that may not have been said. Does this actually represent a delay or was the HD 7900-series’ 2 year life cycle planned all along? How will this affect AMD’s extremely important APU roadmap? Will NVIDIA respond by surging ahead or will they change release plans as well?
If we had to play devil’s advocate, all of this may mean very little for upcoming flagship products. It could very well be that higher-end next generation cards will make their way into the market without actually replacing the HD 7900-series. We’ve seen this happen numerous times and it would point towards AMD’s conflicting roadmaps. However, as it stands, all indicators are pointing towards a late 2013 release for AMD’s next architecture.