Technology Blog

AMD Reddit AMA: Polaris arrives mid-2016, Fury X2 is on-track


An AMD AMA (Q&A) session was held yesterday evening on the popular Reddit discussion site. As per the session title, Reddit users could ask anything they wanted – but AMD reminded everyone that its hands were tied due to the legal obligations of public traded companies and impactful news releases. With that in mind we didn’t really get any juicy morsels of information but rather a series of clarifications about this and that, sometimes just clearing up AMD’s own nebulous PR communications. All the answers were supplied by a Technical Marketing executive from AMD, ‘AMD_Robert’, except a couple where the AMD Gaming Community Manager ‘AMD-DOWNL1NK’ jumped in.

As hinted at above, there were no real headline grabbing statements in response to Reddit users’ probing questions. We heard that the Fury X2 was still on track to be released, for example, but not exactly when, and we know that Polaris GPUs will arrive mid-year but without any firm details concerning the lineup etc. Obviously juicy details about these products will arrive as they are launched. AMD_Robert said that he couldn’t answer all the Polaris architecture/SKU/pricing questions that people had as “Right now those things are protected by strict NDAs”. As for AMD Zen processors, as far as this AMA went, it was basically off limits so such questions got little attention.

In the default ‘sorted by best’ thread view, the most interesting points made last night were about Vulkan support in the Linux driver. AMD_Robert said that “Our Linux Vulkan drivers will only run on the amdgpu kernel driver. We have no plans, on Linux, to support Vulkan on any other driver stack. I do not know the current roadmap for our Linux drivers, and I am generally unable to disclose anything that forward-looking if I want to keep my job. Thanks for understanding. :)” Furthermore we learnt that the “Linux driver will be released quite soon… We’re not talking months”.

On Fury X2 AMD-Robert’s most interesting response was that the original Q4 2015 release schedule has been shifted “to better align with the market”. At the originally planned launch time working samples were sent to partners who have provided very positive feedback.

On Polaris we learnt that all Polaris products are 14nm GlobalFoundries made and old products being replaced will only be available “while supplies last”. Polaris 10 and Polaris 11 will be launched with DP1.3 spec connections. There will be high end gaming laptops with Polaris GPUs coming up for those who like powerful mobile computing. “Currently we have projected a 2x performance per watt jump over existing hardware”, we were reminded. On a related note, HDR displays are expected to arrive in force in H2 2016 but it will be up to games developers to show an interest and build in such colour capabilities.

At the current time AMD is pleased that it has “lead in performance on every DX12 app/test so far”. On the subject of older AMD cards and next gen APIs AMD-Robert reminded us that “there is no graphics architecture on the market today that is 100% compliant with everything DX12 or Vulkan have to offer”. A Radeon 7970, as asked about by one user, was “compatible with the vast majority of the core specification,” and should bring performance and IQ benefits.