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Manufacturer: AMD

Introducing the AMD FSA

At AMD’s Fusion 11 conference, we were treated to a nice overview of AMD’s next generation graphics architecture.  With the recent change in their lineup going from the previous VLIW-5 setup (powered their graphics chips from the Radeon HD 2900 through the latest “Barts” chip running the HD 6800 series) to the new VLIW-4 (HD 6900), many were not expecting much from AMD in terms of new and unique designs.  The upcoming “Southern Isles” were thought to be based on the current VLIW-4 architecture, and would feature more performance and a few new features due to the die shrink to 28 nm.  It turns out that speculation is wrong.

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In late Q4 of this year we should see the first iteration of this new architecture that was detailed today by Eric Demers.  The overview detailed some features that will not make it into this upcoming product, but eventually it will all be added in over the next three years or so.  Historically speaking, AMD has placed graphics first, with GPGPU/compute as the secondary functionality of their GPUs.  While we have had compute abilities since the HD 1800/1900 series of products, AMD has not been as aggressive with compute as has its primary competition.  From the G80 GPUs and beyond, NVIDIA has pushed compute harder and farther than AMD has.  With its mature CUDA development tools and the compute heavy Fermi architecture, NVIDIA has been a driving force in this particular market.  Now that AMD has released two APU based products (Llano and Brazos), they are starting to really push OpenCL, Direct Compute, and the recently announced C++ AMP.

Continue reading for all the details on AMD's Graphics Core Next!