AMD’s FY2015 performance wasn’t great, but with new Polaris GPUs and Zen CPUs on the way this year the company will be hoping for a better 2016. It sounds like the new wave of Polaris-powered graphics cards will be first to arrive at the mid-point of the year, followed by CPUs featuring the new Zen architecture, which CEO Dr Lisa Su recently told investors would be finding their way into systems late in 2016.
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Su said the new line of Zen CPUs would debut in high-end PCs before the end of the year, and will represent a renewed effort to compete with Intel at the top end of the gaming CPU market. The Zen FX chips will be characterised by a high core count that’ll be especially attractive to enthusiast builders.
After that first wave of desktop machines, Zen hardware will then roll out into the server market in early 2017. There’s nothing specific on the AMD roadmap about Zen and laptop/mobile devices yet, though.
Earlier than that, we’ll get to see what the company’s Radeon Technologies Group have been up to when the new generation of graphics cards arrives. Powered by the new Polaris architecture, these cards will represent a fourth generation for AMD’s Graphics Core Next tech.
That means it isn’t a complete architectural overhaul, but rather a tech progression that enables AMD to find more performance per watt, thanks in large part to the smaller 14nm FinFET manufacturing process.
AMD do already have Polaris cards up and running as prototypes, though so far they haven’t demonstrated what those GPUs can do at the top end of the market. A recent CES 2016 demo showed a Polaris card running against NVIDIA’s GTX 950 at 1080p, for example.
Still, the news is broadly good for gamers. Firstly, any move from either side of the perpetual AMD/NVIDIA tug-of-war forces the other into action, and that competition’s good for the end user. Secondly, it means a probable slight reduction in current-gen hardware, so late 2016 may well be a great time to build a budget PC based on 2015’s high end components.