The Polaris series from AMD will have a refresh. The successors of the RX 570 and RX 580 will be made in 12nm and will start in October and November.
How will AMD survive against Nvidia?
For AMD, difficult times have begun for the graphics sector at the moment. The slowing down mining boom has hit the company just as hard as Nvidia. Moreover, the company’s own products cannot currently compete against the market. AMD currently has no answer to Nvidia Turing at hand, at least not in the high-end segment. Already the Vega generation did not reach the top of the portfolio and only reached the GTX 1080. Against RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti AMD currently has nothing at all to offer. The situation could only change again with the introduction of the Vega successor Navi. According to some rumors, however, only a mid-range GPU on the level of the GTX 1080 is expected to be released.
On the other hand, other sources claim that AMD is also planning a high-end version of Navi. Alternatively the company could also bring a gaming variant of the 7nm version of Vega on the market. The shrink is said to benefit the architecture. Allegedly it is 25 percent faster than Turing. Funnily enough, however, it is now the predecessor of Vega, called Polaris, which gets a refresh for now.
Polaris 30: RX 570 and RX 580 get 12nm successors
In July 2016, the Polaris graphics architecture provided an upswing for AMD. The RX 480 hit the market with four or eight gigabytes of graphics memory and competed directly with the GTX 1060 from Nvidia. Together with the smaller derivatives RX 470 and RX 460, AMD was mainly targeting the mainstream market. One year later there was already a kind of model upgrade with Polaris 20 and the cards RX 580, RX 570, RX 560 and RX 550. The performance improved a bit, but the architecture was the same.
Another refresh is now available with Polaris 30. The first spin-off as successor of the RX 570 will be released in mid-October, as a big board partner revealed to PCOnline. The successor of the RX 580 will follow in November. The names of these refreshed cards are not yet known, so it could be that AMD is aiming for a completely different name. The potential RX 670 should come with 2,048 shaders, the alleged RX 680 with 2,304 shaders. Also the memory should not change. Both graphics cards should continue to have four or eight gigabytes of GDDR5 memory with a 256-bit interface. However, they should differ in the manufacturing process. Polaris 10 and Polaris 20 were both manufactured in the 14nm process. Polaris 30, on the other hand, may be manufactured in 12nm and be either more efficient or more powerful.
The performance won’t change dramatically in this generation either. We can expect a similar jump in performance as when switching from the RX 470/480 to the RX 570/580. Why AMD is now once again doing a refresh, while the first Navi GPUs are due to come out at the beginning of 2019, is somewhat strange. The RX 570 and RX 580 were a good alternative to Nvidia’s GTX 1060, but there wouldn’t be a concrete reason for a refresh for gamers.
Especially the RX 580 and the RX 570 are known for something else. These graphics cards were and still are two of the most popular models for miners. They can be well undervoltet and overclocked to get the most mining performance for Ethereum mining at low power consumption. The mining boom is already history, but there is still a market for mining graphics cards and a good demand. It is therefore possible that AMD will only offer the new version for Miner or that the graphics cards will actually be optimized for the mining process. This way the company could prevent miners from using Navi, which will have either GDDR6 or HBM2 installed as graphics memory. It is therefore unclear whether the RX 670 or RX 680 might be released for the general public at all. In the middle of October we probably know more.