If you’ve been paying attention for the last half year or so, AMD’s Radeon HD7000 graphics cards have been providing gloriously playable gaming performance since their release in January and were unanimously the better choice over competing last-generation Geforce 500 cards from Nvidia. That all changed with Kepler and Nvidia’s foray into the 22nm process, yielding significantly better power consumption and lower temperatures. The Geforce GTX670’s popularity is comparable to the 8800GT of old, which was a massive driving force for better gaming graphics and game performance.
It looks like AMD isn’t giving up the fight with a newcomer I’ll be showing you later today and also this tidbit, a little bit of a heads-up from AMD’s driver department that they’re already working on the HD8000 family.
Southern Islands is the current codename for the family of HD7000 graphics cards that aren’t rebrands from the older HD6000 family. Southern Islands introduced AMD’s Graphics Core Next architecture, a fancy way of saying that they doubled their efforts to get their cards into the Compute game while also getting game performance up. In reality the HD7970 is probably the best gaming graphics card to use if you’ve got an app that takes advantage of the Compute abilities of the GPU, offering up far more performance than the previous stalwart, the GTX580, when it comes to compute abilities.
The next mobile family is to be called “Sea Islands” and will be comprised of HD8800M and other GPU variants. Highlighted above are Sea Island variants in the HD8800M and FirePro lineups – the FirePro A300 family is likely to be a optimised version of the HD8800M models with a few tweaks here and there for better double-point math performance and better performance in apps that require a professional-series graphics card. When could we expect these new models? Probably towards the end of the year, perhaps somewhat co-inciding with the release of Windows 8. AMD traditionally releases the mobile versions of their next chips first, allowing OEMs enough time to test and try out everything before releasing their finished product. That will also be the first time we’ll see any new improvements in the next GCN-based chip designs and who knows what AMD is planning next.
As for the desktop HD8000 family, we’re only likely to see or hear anything about those closer to December after all the HD7900-series price cuts and reshuffling and “Ghz” variants of all the cards in AMD’s lineup floating about. This is going to be an interesting year for graphics enthusiasts, especially when you’re torn between the two companies competing so fiercely for your money.
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