Launched amongst much fanfare earlier this year, It’s now time for AMD’s Graphics CoreNext architecture to get down to serious business: driving a mainstream GPU that offers killer value at price-points which most people will end up buying. AMD today launched the Radeon HD 7700 series, based on its spanking new silicon codenamed “Cape Verde”.
What makes this launch a particularly monumental challenge for Graphics CoreNext is that it now has to deliver on its biggest design goal, that of being a more efficient number-cruncher than previous-generation VLIW architecture. This efficiency is supposed to show in relative performance per mm² (taking the new 28 nm fab process into account), performance per Watt, and in more layman terms, performance to stream processor count.
But first, a little history lesson. AMD addressed the sub-$200 market with its first DirectX 11 generation of GPUs using the Radeon HD 5700 series, based on the 40 nm “Juniper” silicon. Since the following HD 6000 series was also based on this process, and AMD had achieved higher performance targets with “Barts”, it decided to reshuffle the higher-end lineup, give Barts the HD 6800 series, and since Juniper was the only GPU smaller than Barts, re-brand it to the HD 6700 series, to everyone’s disgust including ours. With the transition to the new 28 nm fab process and a new number-chomping architecture, Graphics CoreNext, designing a new GPU became inevitable for AMD. Hence, Cape Verde. Products based on this chip, the Radeon HD 7770 and Radeon HD 7750, are touted to be true successors of the HD 6700 series.
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