AMD Confirms Hawaii is 28nm

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Talking to Forbes, VP and General Manager of AMD’s Graphics Business Unit, Matt Skynner, confirmed a couple details about the upcoming enthusiast level GPU from AMD. The new GPU and graphics cards built around it will show up in the last quarter of 2013, as expected.

AMD Radeon Graphics - Image Courtesy AnandTech
AMD Radeon Graphics – Image Courtesy AnandTech

AMD’s own Matt Skynner confirmed that the new GPU codenamed Hawaii, after the pacific island, is to be built on TSMC’s 28nm process just like its predecessor. While we know that the foundry company is still ramping up its 20nm process and it won’t be ready for mass production until later, Skinner says that they chose to use 28nm process because “At 28nm for an enthusiast GPU, we can achieve higher clock speeds and higher absolute performance.” From this line alone we can assume Hawaii GPU will operate at higher clocks than Tahiti, which is the center piece of current 7900-series products. Expect the new cards to run well over 1Ghz right out of the box, at least in its top iteration.

Skinner did not specify a price for the Hawaii-based products, but ensured that they are not aiming at the ultra-enthusiast market:

I can’t reveal a pricepoint but we’re looking at more traditional enthusiast GPU pricepoints. We’re not targeting a $999 single GPU solution like our competition because we believe not a lot of people have that $999. We normally address what we call the ultra-enthusiast segment with a dual-GPU offering like the 7990. So this next-generation line is targeting more of the enthusiast market versus the ultra-enthusiast one.

Furthermore, AMD’s Matt Skinner talked dimensions for the new dies. While it is expected Hawaii will be packing more transistors than Tahiti, AMD claims the GPU will have a die area 23% smaller than its competitor, Nvidia’s GK110. AnandTech speculates a surface area of 425 mm². A smaller die size translates into more dies per wafer in manufacturing, which means lower cost per GPU, allowing AMD better margins and more room for pricing its new product aggressively against the competition. Keep in mind this is a rough estimate based on Skinner’s numbers, full specifications will surely be available at launch time and will confirm this further. This new design is expected to be AMD/ATI’s largest GPU since R600, also known as the HD2900 series, back in 2007.

AMD announced that it will webcast a product showcase taking place at the AMD GPU ’14 Tech Day event, on the actual island of Hawaii, on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013 at 3 p.m. EDT, where it is expected to officially launch the new products.



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