Print 30 comment(s) - last by MrBlastman.. on Oct 26 at 12:16 PM

New 28nm GPUs are on their way

The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has announced that its 28nm node has achieved mass production, and the first 300mm wafers have been delivered to its customers. The firm is most famous for producing GPUs for the graphics arm of AMD and NVIDIA.

TSMC has several 28nm processes for its customers, generally varying according to the intended application. The 28nm High Performance (28HP) process is for graphics chips, while the 28nm High Performance Low Power (28HPL) process is for mobile graphics.  28nm Low Power (28LP) and 28nm High Performance Mobile Computing (28HPM) will be used mostly for ARM processors, but there will of course be some overlap. 28HP, 28HPL and 28LP are currently in volume production, while 28HPM will be ready for mass production by the end of this year.

Although the company is optimistic about its latest technology, TSMC has had problems with launching new nodes in the past. Delays and problematic yields in the 40nm process led to shortages of Radeon HD 5800 series video cards during 2009 and 2010.

The subsequent Radeon HD 6000 series (Northern Islands) family was originally designed for TSMC's 32nm HKMG process. That entire node was scrapped due to various problems, and all of its engineering resources were put into the 28nm process instead.

AMD ended up having to redesign Northern Islands for 40nm, leading to significant launch delays. The GPUs ended up being bigger than intended, resulting in higher production costs, lower clock speeds, and higher energy consumption compared to the original 32nm design.

The latest chips for AMD will be in the Southern Islands series, which will supplant the Radeon HD 6000 series. The first cards are to be released by the end of the year, but the current production schedule could indicate a launch as early as the end of November. The first AMD 28nm GPUs taped out earlier in the spring, and the company has already demonstrated them several times at various industry events.

NVIDIA's Kepler GPUs have also taped out at 28nm, but will not be launched until Q1 of 2012. Sources have indicated that the chip is quite large and yields are not yet high enough to ensure a successful launch at this time.

Other notable 28nm customers for TSMC include Xilinx, Qualcomm, and Altera. More than 80 of TSMC's customers have already taped out at 28nm. As the largest semiconductor foundry in the world, this process is not only vital to TSMC, but the entire semiconductor industry. Delays will not only affect TSMC, but slow down the advance of technology. Competitor GlobalFoundries is not expected to begin mass production of its own 28nm process until 2012.

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By FITCamaro on 10/24/2011 5:33:15 PM , Rating: 5
Can't wait to see what the ATI 7000 series has in it. AMD definitely has had Nvidia by the balls lately with their awesome cheaper GPUs. They may not have the fastest single GPU card. But their GPUs are still more than fast enough and at a far cheaper price.

RE: Awesome
By dgingerich on 10/24/11, Rating: -1
RE: Awesome
By Amiga500 on 10/24/2011 5:58:20 PM , Rating: 5
Ahh... this old chestnut.

Away and catch yerself on; your stuck back in 2005.

RE: Awesome
By Copaseticbob on 10/24/2011 6:45:19 PM , Rating: 3
Away and catch yerself on; your stuck back in 2005.

I hear this too, mostly from people who haven't even owned an ATi/AMD card for years...

RE: Awesome
By Salisme on 10/24/2011 7:08:43 PM , Rating: 2
How was RAGE?

Call me when you get to 2006.

RE: Awesome
By Samus on 10/25/11, Rating: 0
RE: Awesome
By Amoro on 10/25/2011 1:03:45 PM , Rating: 3
The GTX 460 was launched on July 10th 2010. I have no idea what you're talking about. in the 2nd to last paragraph.

RE: Awesome
By xrodney on 10/25/2011 5:07:41 PM , Rating: 2
He evidently do not know what he is talking about HD4870 was released in 2008 as competitor to Fermi (aka GTX 280) and it was very good card. It make to switch back to Ati after 3 generations of overheating 5700,6600,8800 cards with graphic driver crash about every 2nd day even when not playing.

Maybe I ma biased, but I was happy with 4870x2 (except some CF issues) and mine current 5870. And I will probably go for HD 7970 or whatever will be fastest single AMD GPU as 5870 still doesn't have enough performance to max at 2560x1600 I am using last 3 years.

RE: Awesome
By Samus on 10/25/2011 8:37:18 PM , Rating: 1
I simply meant 5870, not 4870.

RE: Awesome
By kaalus on 10/26/2011 7:42:39 AM , Rating: 2
So please tell me where you can find HD5870 for $60, as you claim in your post.

Also I don't know how you can compare 5870 to a GeForce 460. 5870 eats 460 for breakfast with at least 50% more performance.

RE: Awesome
By Tequilasunriser on 10/24/2011 6:24:06 PM , Rating: 1
After I read FITcamaro's comment I thought to myself, "I wonder how many comments will be posted before some knucklehead mentions AMD drivers."

I figured it would be at least 10 or 15 posts. I was not expecting it to be the second comment! Congrats on being completely oblivious! :)

RE: Awesome
By Mitch101 on 10/24/2011 6:33:22 PM , Rating: 2
Not sure what your doing but no problems here with ATI/AMD drivers.

I will say Eyefinity/Triple Monitors from a single card is a must that NVIDIA should learn to adopt. Playing at 5760x1080 from a single card is a must today. If NVIDIA requires two cards to do triple screens they are dead to me.

RE: Awesome
By StevoLincolnite on 10/24/2011 11:10:29 PM , Rating: 2
Not sure what your doing but no problems here with ATI/AMD drivers.

Same here. I've had no driver issues with AMD or nVidia since the Radeon 9000 series and Geforce FX series.

I will say Eyefinity/Triple Monitors from a single card is a must that NVIDIA should learn to adopt. Playing at 5760x1080 from a single card is a must today.

As also an eyefinity user... Single card Eyefinity set-up's is pretty useless from a performance perspective, unless it's a dual-GPU single card.
Just don't go expecting to run the latest games at such a resolution with maximum graphics.

RE: Awesome
By Amiga500 on 10/25/2011 4:53:39 AM , Rating: 2
Single card Eyefinity set-up's is pretty useless from a performance perspective, unless it's a dual-GPU single card.

Completely disagree.

I'd run rfactor on 5760x1080 on a 6870 with most of the eye-candy turned on.

If there are any other race sim people reading this; I'd strongly advise going for it - the sensation of speed is so much better and the ability to see what is beside you is just immense.

The only unfortunate thing about eyefinity is that the screen resolution must be common across the 3 monitors, for instance, you cannot mix 2x 1920x1080 and 1x 1920x1200...

RE: Awesome
By xti on 10/25/2011 9:30:48 AM , Rating: 2
whats even more awesome is if you can get those border-less HDTVs and pair them side by side.

RE: Awesome
By Amiga500 on 10/26/2011 3:49:30 AM , Rating: 2
ooooohhhh... how much do they cost?

Any links?

RE: Awesome
By MrBlastman on 10/26/2011 12:16:19 PM , Rating: 2
I hope you're using Track IR with it to really get your immersive love juices flowing.

RE: Awesome
By UnauthorisedAccess on 10/24/2011 5:43:18 PM , Rating: 3
I'm hoping Nvidia comes back with something great, enough to level the playing field and provide good wins for the consumer.

I'm also hoping that AMD improves their development tools around OpenCL so that GPU developers have a bit more choice, rather than the current 'Nvidia can do CUDA and OpenCL, AMD can only do OpenCL'. I'd really like OpenCL to be as easy to get implementations off the ground as it is with CUDA.

Basically I want choice :)

RE: Awesome
By bug77 on 10/24/2011 6:18:48 PM , Rating: 2
I'm hoping Nvidia comes back with something great, enough to level the playing field and provide good wins for the consumer.

Besides the GTX480 and GTX470, nvidia hasn't produces many duds recently. I keep buying their cards since their drivers still run circles around everybody else on Linux.

RE: Awesome
By tamalero on 10/25/11, Rating: 0
RE: Awesome
By bug77 on 10/25/2011 2:30:52 PM , Rating: 2
Is that supposed to mean that AMD cards are better?

RE: Awesome
By Reclaimer77 on 10/24/2011 10:41:29 PM , Rating: 1
I think the playing field is pretty level.

What I have discovered in my own personal use and other anecdotal evidence from benchmarks and being active on game forums is this: ATI/AMD makes great cards, but the Nvidia equivalent just runs better in the actual game. Most games seem better optimized for Nvidia cards, I'm not sure why that is, but I have come across that case a lot.

Nvidia really works with developers to make sure games run great on their cards. I can barely find any examples of this being the case with AMD.

RE: Awesome
By LordSojar on 10/25/2011 3:22:17 AM , Rating: 3
Clearly you AMD card users haven't used an nVidia card lately. Considering the GTX 500 series are better than the equivalent AMD cards in performance and are just about inline in pricing... it baffles me as to why you'd choose an AMD card at this exact moment. Sure, maybe at launch, but buying at launch is a bit silly considering driver bugs, optimization and possible problems that need ironing out in A0 or A1 silicon. Typically, it's best to wait for A1 (if A0 was the start) or A2 silicon... at the very least.

Oh, and AMD's drivers aren't that great at any technical purposing. They are buggy as all get out for anything involving Crossfire on extremely new games, sluggish to add profiles and suffer, generally speaking, from more microstutter when compared to SLi equivalents.

I will say, AMD's cards are very good for gaming, but anymore, I expect my GPU to do more than just gaming. Having CUDA support is great for a plethora of uses, and let's face it... Stream is absolutely a joke... AMD is trolling the CS community I think.

The 3 big improvments AMD needs to make, and I think they'll cover the first of these, are:

1). Better GPGPU architecture
2). No ads in the Catalyst Control Panel (Really? No...)
3). Better optimization of Stream or adopting CUDA (nVidia has offered to give them license to use it... AMD refused)
4). Addressing driver support post new product release (older AMD cards, especially the dual GPU variants become absolutely terrible with a new Catalyst complete version update)

The 7000 series leaked architecture is oddly similar to what nVidia has been doing with their CUDA centric architecture, and that's a good thing.

Sure, the GTX 465/470/480 were jokes... but that was a major change for nVidia on a new process, so it was to be expected. I waited for the refinement which came as the GTX 460, and now I own a 580 and couldn't be happier. Prior to the dual 460s, I owned an XFX 5870, and I loathed that card to the very core because of CCC and the god awful excuse for GPGPU code they call Stream. AMD needs to step up their software game more than anything... nVidia's cards might be power hogs, but they have some heavy lifting power behind that, and honestly... who doesn't have a PSU that large if they are buying the really high end nVidia cards? Cmon now.....

RE: Awesome
By tamalero on 10/25/2011 11:18:17 AM , Rating: 2
The reason AMD doesn't want to use cuda is..
CUDA is proprietary.
The stream language AMD uses is opensourced.

btw, what is this "plethora" of uses you keep claiming?

RE: Awesome
By Reclaimer77 on 10/25/2011 2:58:51 PM , Rating: 2
Why are you talking to me like I'm some rabid AMD fanboi? Did you even read my post?

RE: Awesome
By FITCamaro on 10/26/2011 11:23:10 AM , Rating: 2
Nvidia spends a lot more money to make sure games run well on its cards. Probably simply because if they lose their GPU business, the entire company goes down. That's why they're branching into smartphones and tablets now. With the loss of being able to make chipsets for Intel, they lost a huge chunk of revenue.

AMD just doesn't have the money to. Is Nvidias OpenGL drivers better though? Yes. Always have been.

TSMC vs. GloFlo
By ekv on 10/25/2011 5:38:47 AM , Rating: 2
Given that BullDozer is an immeasurable dud, perhaps moving from 32 to 28nm would help (some).

It appears TSMC is ready to ship product. What about Global Foundries? Is AMD stuck using GF to make their CPU's? [Yes, GF is a "spin-off" from AMD]. I ask simply because GF has been promising 28nm for nearly 2 years. If TSMC is making 28nm now then BullDozer (which unfortunately doesn't even get to the level of a Tonka toy) could use whatever performance boost that would yield.

Meanwhile Intel is rumored to be nearing 22nm production. An entire step ahead? ouch.

RE: TSMC vs. GloFlo
By Raiders12 on 10/25/2011 9:32:21 AM , Rating: 2
Bulldozer has been a disappointment in its first iteration. With that said, this is talking AMD GPUs, which are top of the line. Low power consumption, good prices, and great graphical architecture.

Looks like the 7000 series will finally be my replacement of my age-old trusty 4850's in Crossfire.

RE: TSMC vs. GloFlo
By ekv on 10/25/2011 1:50:07 PM , Rating: 2
TSMC is a contract foundry. Most people think they can only do GPUs.

Ah. Found it...

By BushStar on 10/25/2011 11:31:49 AM , Rating: 2
I'm so excited. I've been waiting on this to see the new AMD cards. Is it weird to be so excited by 28nm fabs entering mass production. I called everyone in my office over to my desk to share the good news.

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