AMD has used the CES show in Las Vegas to detail a new GPU architecture based on 14nm FinFET technology that is set to drive new Radeon graphics products later this year and is likely to be integrated into future generations of its APU chips to power PC systems.
Dubbed Polaris by AMD, the latest GPU technology is the fourth iteration of the firm's Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture and is expected to deliver a range of improvements such as support for high dynamic range (HDR) displays and increased performance at a much lower power consumption level.
The firm said it expects GPUs based on Polaris to ship sometime around the middle of the year.
AMD chief executive Lisa Su said in a statement that the Polaris architecture showcases significant advances in performance, power efficiency and features, and predicted that "2016 will be a very exciting year for Radeon fans".
Polaris enables support for HDMI 2.0a output, which is where HDR display support comes in, plus DisplayPort 1.3 and 4K video encoding and decoding with H.265 High Efficiency Video Coding support.
With Polaris, AMD is moving from a 28nm production process that it has used to manufacture GPUs for the past five years or so to a new 14nm FinFET multi-gate transistor process that offers performance and power efficiency enhancements.
However, Polaris also includes numerous internal architectural changes to components such as the compute engines that go above and beyond this, the firm said.
"We decided we needed to do more improvements than just take the FinFET advantage," said Mike Mantor, AMD corporate fellow for graphics architecture.
"We looked at things like increasing our instruction buffer size that we could use to keep the instructions flowing and get better single-threaded performance amongst control flow operations."
Polaris technology is slated to appear in products such as GPUs for laptops and ultimately in AMD Radeon graphics accelerator cards this year, but AMD also uses its GPU architecture in its PC processors alongside CPU cores to deliver what it calls accelerated processor units (APUs).
AMD's most recent Carrizo family of APUs paired new Excavator CPU cores with graphics cores based on the existing GCN architecture. The firm has yet to disclose what cores it may pair with Polaris in future, although it has previously detailed an x86 processor core codenamed Zen that will feature simultaneous multi-threading and is expected to be delivered sometime in 2016.
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