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AMD Radeon R9 NANO Review

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AMD Radeon R9 NANO
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Stuart Davidson

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      A Three Paragraph Essay

      AMD likely had a 28nm plan for a potential HBM based graphics product drawn up for quite a long time, and they also had 20nm plans drawn up that were intended to be fiji. But due to the 20nm issues, they had to back down and take a bit of a hit by dumping resources into a 28nm part due to their newer concepts simply not working on anything larger than 20nm, scaling things back and changing things up. And this is not discounting that we’re all sure nvidia was banking on 20nm as well with prepped materials only to be forced to make arrangements to make 9xx out of something that was intended to be on the smaller pipeline.

      Really i think both GPU manufacturers are sitting on some serious gold, as even though the 9xx showed some significant improvements over the previous generation specially in power consumption for graphics tasks only (their power consumption climbs and even surpasses AMD’s competition product usage even which almost no one appears to be aware of when doing heavy compute tasks). We’ve seen otherwise some fairly unimpressive performance improvements for the last number of years though and due to be wowed, i’m feeling the next product launches from both on the 16/14nm scales will bring about some killer stuff, and hopefully then AMD will have HBM 2.0 sorted with 8gb or even 16gb vram support with ease not to mention 4k @ 60-120fps being a reality. Nvidia’s pascal should have HBM… but we don’t know what’s happening there just yet, as amd is likely to have priority on the tech still just like they did with GDDR5 and GDDR4.

      • 00blahblahblah00

        Yeah, it really is more of a proof of concept than something they intended to make money on. It is kind of like a Bugatti Veyron – something that Audi decided to make because they could but which actually cost them money for each one they sold. In AMD’s case with the Fiji cards, it isn’t that extreme. In fact, they are probably actually making money on each card/chip sold but not that much despite the massive price to performance ratio compared to something like a 970 or 290x. The real winners here are future mid-range customers who will get many of the features found in the Fiji on some future mid-range card (something that might be called the 560x for example) a few years down the line. But, as you pointed out, that won’t happen until TSMC starts pumping out 14nm FinFet desktop parts or AMD and Nvidia find another silicon fabrication company who can do it better and cheaper on the same scale. There are rumors that Samsung might be making Nvidia GPUs one day which is a result, in large part, to TSMC’s inability to stay on a consistent die shrink schedule (basically Moore’s law).

        On a side notw, when they do get down to under 14nm for desktop GPU parts, it would be cool to see Nvidia work with Intel to put something like a GTX 960 into an i5 and sell it for like $350. I’d buy that over an i7 all day. AMD will probably have something like that in their APU line in 2 or 3 years with 8 CPU cores to boot. We know they can fit 8 cores and the equivalent of an R9 260x on a single die thanks to the Xbox One and PS4 and they are doing it on 28nm. Give them transistors that are spaced half the distance apart and they should easily be able to fit the equivalent of a R9 285 onto an APU die along with an octa-core that can clock way higher than the current console chips.

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