AMD Southern Islands and Nvidia Kepler May Use Different 28nm Processes – Report

By on July 20th, 2011 20:31 GMT

AMD Southern Islands and Nvidia Kepler next-generation graphics cards will reportedly be build using different TSMC manufacturing processes, which will enable the Sunnyvale-based company to release its GPUs ahead of their competitors solutions.

Initially, both of these chips were supposed to be built using the 28nm HKMG high-performance processes, but it seems like TSMC is having some issues with it and that it won't be available until the first quarter of 2012.

As a result, AMD apparently switched to 28nm HPL for Southern Islands, which is also based on the HKMG technology but is tuned for low power.

According to Chipworks, this process is what Xilinx used for its 28nm Kintex-7 FPGA device, and SemiAccurate claims AMD will also follow a similar route with the Radeon HD 7000 product family.

On the other side of the fence, Nvidia is apparently forced to stick with the high-performance version of TSMC's 28nm HKMG fabrication process for Kepler as their chip designs rely on high shader clock speeds, that can't be achieved by using 28nm HPL.

AMD's next generation of Radeon graphics cards will comprise three different GPUs, released under the code names of Lombok, Thames and Tahiti.

The first one of these will be based on AMD's current VLIW4 architecture, which was introduced with the Cayman core, and will power the Radeon HD 7670 and HD 7650 graphics cards.

Information about the two remaining GPUs is scarce at this time, but we do know that Thames will be used to drive the company's next generation of mainstream graphics cards, which includes the Radeon 7870, Radeon HD 7850 and Radeon HD 7790 models, while Tahiti will power the high-end Radeon HD 7970 and HD 7950.

In addition, AMD will also release a dual-GPU graphics card, based on the Tahiti core, which is known as New Zealand. All Radeon HD 7000 solutions are expected to feature PCI Express 3.0 support.

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