Update, March 20: So, not only are AMD rebadging their last-gen RX 400 series graphics cards with the RX 500 nomenclature, they're also rebadging the GPUs behind them. Polaris 10 becomes Polaris 20, Polaris 11 becomes Polaris 21, and then out of nowhere comes Polaris 12 just to make things weird.
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Well, if the GPUs have got new names and the graphics card themselves come from a brand new series then this generation must be completely different. Maybe it is worth upgrading from an RX 480 to an RX 580. I'm pretty much sold now.
The news comes from a report on Benchlife which states the new Polaris GPUs will be based on a more mature 14nm node from GlobalFoundries, shifting from their initial Low Power Early (LPE) design to the latest Low Power Plus (LPP) production process.
Realistically that is unlikely to make any real difference to the two Polaris 20 cards, aside from allowing AMD to push the basic clockspeed of their reference designs a touch higher than the first Polaris cards launched last year. Rumours are the GPUs will be boosted by less than 100MHz.
There is talk, however, that the RX 560 isn't just going to be a straight rebadge, but might actually get the full 1,024 core count from the GPU which the RX 460 missed out on. Sapphire did create a fully unlocked version of the RX 460, but it only saw a China-exclusive release. There is also set to be an even more cut-down Polaris with 640 cores (the Polaris 12) to support a lower-end RX 550 card.
Original story, March 16: AMD announced last night that the new Ryzen 5 CPUs will be launching on April 11 and now it seems they’ll be swiftly backed up by the Radeon RX 500 series of graphics cards the following week. Super-exciting, no? Well… no. The RX 500s will simply sport rebranded Polaris GPUs. Sigh.
To coincide with the Origin Access release of Mass Effect: Andromeda AMD released a new Crimson ReLive driver last night and in it have been found references to the RX 580, RX 570 and RX 560 cards. Alongside those GPU names are the device ID tags which identify them as belonging to the Polaris family of graphics cards.
I was really excited about the potential of the new RX 500 series of AMD graphics cards when I thought they might actually be new. All I’ve heard about the Vega GPU architecture makes me feel all gooey inside about the possible graphical goodness on offer.
I mean I kind of knew that, as is their wont, AMD would fill out much of the 500 series with GPUs from their last generation, but I naively hoped we might at least get a couple of Vega chips mixed in there at the high-end.
But no, Vega looks like it really is only actually going to appear in the flagship RX Vega card. At least for the time being. I’m sure eventually the GPU architecture will filter down to other cards in the stack - maybe AMD will follow Nvidia’s lead and release an RX 590 using the same chip as the RX Vega but at a more reasonable price point.
After all, with the RX Vega card sporting non-numerical nomenclature it’s surely going to be priced well outside their standard GPU range. Though with the GTX 1080 Ti launching at $699, and looking like it’s going to outperform the RX Vega, AMD are going to have to bring it out below that pricing high water mark.
So when’s this all going to happen? Current reports have the RX 500 series of cards starting to trickle out the week after the Ryzen 5 launch, with the RX 580 and RX 570 coming first on April 18.
Fingers crossed they’ll at least have a maybe a clockspeed bump...