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May 16th, 2014

Exclusive: AMD working on Tonga GPU

AMD's Tonga GPU

Today we have some exclusive information about an upcoming graphics processor from AMD. In our previous post we said that AMD is working on a new flagship model. Today we have a bit of good news to share, but before we get to that, let us make it clear that this new video card is not a high-end part after all. However, when it arrives, AMD’s position in the market may change our perspective back to their haydays.

AMD Tonga, GCN redesigned once again?

First rumors about Tonga surfaced more than a year ago. It was listed in a BETA Catalyst driver along with Hawaii and Vesuvius. The last two are already here, but Tonga was still being polished.

Tonga is not a single island, but an archipelago of 176 islands. Those islands have some piracy history, but we are not convinced this is a Pirate Islands’ chip. In fact, you will get much more results by looking for Tonga’s volcanoes.

First and foremost, Tonga is a mainstream processor, which is probably manufactured by Global Foundries. It will introduce some major changes to the architecture; however, if you expect 20nm fabrication process and High-Bandwidth-Memory, then you will be disappointed. So what is so special about this processor?

Tonga is most likely a direct competitor to NVIDIA’s Maxwell GM107. AMD has been actively improving GCN architecture to increase power efficiency. Tonga will bring a dramatic change in terms of power consumption, something you would not expect from AMD anytime soon. Tongan architecture is also said to feature new PowerTune Boost, which would operate at much lower hardware level.

Of course Tonga would also support all technologies known from other GCN 1.1 and GCN 2.0 GPUs: Mantle, TrueAudio and maybe even XDMA CrossFire.

AMD Radeon R9 2×5

Graphics card based on Tonga should be released in about two to three months. The sad news is that Tonga-powered graphics card will only feature 2GB memory (at least the reference model).  This basically means we have a new Pitcairn (Curacao) replacement.

Probably the the most suitable name for this card would be R9 275X, but from what we’ve learned, final codename has not yet been decided.

AMD will probably talk more about its new GPU behind closed doors at Computex meetings, which starts in about 19 days, so stay tunned for more information.

The image above is not official.