Next-generation 28nm GPUs Could Be 45 Percent Faster
November 4, 2011 10:37 AM
comment(s) - last by
Compute Unit (click to enlarge)
Graphics Core Next (click to enlarge)
Sources claim TSMC's manufacturing is that good
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is the world's largest semiconductor foundry, and as such is constantly under pressure from its customers and competitors. The company recently announced that its
newest 28nm process
has entered mass production. Smaller process geometries typically mean that a faster, smaller, and cheaper processor will be available.
Two of TSMC's biggest customers are AMD and NVIDIA. Both have taped out GPU designs using TSMC's 28nm High Performance (28HP) process. AMD's next-generation GPU series is codenamed
GPU is supposed to launch early in December, while NVIDIA's
GPU will launch in February of 2012.
28HP is the first process from TSMC to use High-k Metal Gate (HKMG) technology, as opposed to the typical silicon oxynitride (SiON) found in 40nm GPUs. HKMG uses a material with a high dielectric constant instead of the traditional silicon dioxide gate dielectric. This allows for a substantial reduction in gate leakage, thus lowering overall power consumption and allowing for higher clock speeds.
According to sources within TSMC, the 28HP HKMG process is doing very well. So well, in fact, that it supports up to a 45 percent clock speed improvement over the firm's own 40G process used to make the last two generations of video cards. This speed improvement is based on the same leakage per gate, but the GPU firms may choose to favor lower power consumption over a pure speed boost.
Our AMD contacts declined to respond to these assertions and directed our attention to a presentation made in June at the AMD Fusion Developer Summit by Eric Demers, the Chief Technology Officer of AMD Graphics.
The flip side of the manufacturing process is the architecture and design, and AMD has already previewed the basis for its future graphics architectures, known as Graphics Core Next (GCN). The basic design of GCN will form the foundation for the next few generations of AMD graphics processors.
The fundamental unit of
AMD’s previous designs
has been the Streaming Processor, utilizing a Very Long Instruction Word (VLIW) architecture designed to take advantage of Instruction Level Parallelism (ILP). That will be supplanted by the Compute Unit, comprised of multiple 16-wide vector Single Instruction, Multiple Data (SIMD) units designed for Thread Level Parallelism (TLP).
L1 and L2 caches will support the CUs, while the GPU will have access to the main system memory. Support for C++ programming has been added, making it easier to program for the GPU and CPU within the same application.
While all of these changes will benefit compute applications, it is not yet clear what impact this will have on current games and those already in the pipeline. The architectural changes may end up helping or hindering performance. Nevertheless, the entire 28nm graphics lineup will support
resolutions of up to 16000 x 16000 pixels
Of course, yields have always been a big problem with introducing a new node. TSMC had significant challenges with its
, leading to shortages of the
Radeon HD 5800 series
. HKMG processes typically use atomic layer deposition for high-k materials, which has been a challenge even for Intel.
Ultimately, we know that the next-generation of GPUs will be "significantly" faster, but the effects of the new architecture are still unknown and could change things positively or negatively. The better the performance, the more likely it is to sell out. The final clock speeds are still being determined, so final performance numbers will have to wait until the first official launch. The latest word on the street is December 6.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
45% faster - clock rate?
11/5/2011 12:03:55 PM
"45% faster" could mean several things. More transistors in the same space at the same clock = faster chip. Faster clock speed = faster chip. Which of these does the 45% figure take into account? If only the clock speed, then the actual boost could be more impressive.
RE: 45% faster - clock rate?
11/7/2011 10:33:50 AM
It only takes clock speed into account, so actual performance could be much higher.
Of course, I don't think you will see that full 45% possible increase in clock speed used, since the last generation chips were pushing pretty close to power draw and heat limits.
Going from 40nm to 28nm allows a touch over double the transistors in the same space. If AMD/Nvidia fully utilized that space by doubling all resources and somehow managed to use the full potential clock speed increase then you’re looking at a performance increase of 3X.
However, I expect that something in the range of 1.8~2.25X performance increase due to them wanting to shrink the chip size (cheaper) and not use the full clock increase headroom (chips run cooler and stay under the max power envelope).
"We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs
AMD Video Cards Now Support 16000x16000 Resolution
November 1, 2011, 5:43 AM
TSMC Confirms 28nm Chips in Mass Production
October 24, 2011, 3:43 PM
AMD Launches 2GB Radeon HD 6900 Series Video Cards
December 15, 2010, 8:47 AM
TSMC Says 40nm Problems Resolved, Preparing 28nm Fab Production
January 21, 2010, 8:15 AM
ATI Launches Radeon HD 5800 Series, First DirectX 11 GPUs
September 23, 2009, 12:01 PM
Tinkerer Gets Old School Mac Plus Running on the Modern Web
March 24, 2015, 6:41 PM
Facebook-Backed Oculus Rift's Release Date Slips to 2016; Valve and HTC Salivate
March 16, 2015, 5:58 PM
Hackers Steal Roughly $1 Billion From Banks Using Malware RAT
February 17, 2015, 9:30 AM
NVIDIA Kills Mobile GPU Overclocking, Robs Customers Who Paid For It
February 16, 2015, 8:59 AM
Apple Offers Refurbished 5K Retina iMacs for $2,119 Online
January 16, 2015, 12:37 PM
SanDisk Unveils Pricey iXpand USB 2.0/Lightning Drive to Expand iPhone, iPad Storage
November 13, 2014, 2:29 PM
Most Popular Articles
WSJ Report Implies That Google Leveraged Lobbying to Kill Antitrust Abuse Probe
March 25, 2015, 5:37 PM
Half a Billion Dollars of U.S. Weaponry May be Lost to al-Qaeda, Rebels in Yemen
March 23, 2015, 2:12 PM
Samsung, Dell, Pegatron to Preinstall Microsoft Office 365 on Android Devices
March 23, 2015, 4:02 PM
Texan WISP Owner With Colorful History Sues to Block FCC Net Neutrality Rules
March 24, 2015, 1:19 PM
NVIDIA's Latest Windows 10 Drivers: Still Too Unstable For Primetime
March 24, 2015, 4:45 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information