News is leaking out that AMD's 2016 Arctic Islands GPU family will include three brand-new chips: Greenland, Baffin and Ellesmere. The company hopes this new family will help it to recapture marketshare from NVIDIA, as AMD's position in the desktop video card market has fallen off a cliff since mid-2014.
Greenland will be the new flagship for performance enthusiasts, development on this chip started about two years ago and it's based on a new, next-generation GCN architecture. KitGuru heard rumors that Greenland will retain the layout of AMD's current Radeon GPUs, but with significant changes at the deeper level.
It will have a new instruction set architecture (ISA) and can effectively be considered a "post-GCN" chip thanks to a string of performance enhancements. Greenland is expected to be made on either a 14nm or 16nm FinFET process and promises to be twice as energy efficient than the current GCN. We also know Greenland will adopt second-generation HBM memory so it may have 8GB or even as much as 16GB of HBM2 memory on the consumer level.
The number of transistors inside the “Greenland” as well as its die size are unknown. Since 14nm/16nm FinFET manufacturing technologies have considerably (up to 90 per cent) higher transistor density than contemporary TSMC’s 28nm fabrication process, it is logical to expect that the new flagship product will feature 15 – 18 billion of elements if it retains around 600mm² die size from the “Fiji”.
Kitguru claims AMD already taped-out its Greenland GPU and is about to get its first test chips in the coming weeks. Hopefully this means more details will leak out soon.
The Baffin and Ellesmere chips are shrouded in mystery, these will target the high-end and mainstream markets:
Not a lot of information is known about the “Baffin” and the “Ellesmere”. The source stressed that both GPUs are brand-new and will be designed from scratch. Since the “Baffin” and the “Ellesmere” are named after bigger and smaller islands in Canada, it is likely that the former is a mainstream graphics chip with moderate die size, whereas the former is a small entry-level GPU. AMD began to work on “Ellesmere” about a year ago.