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AMD confirms Tonga GPUs are 384-bit memory bus capable

In the lead up to the launch of AMD’s R9 380x graphics card, featuring a Tonga XT core, reports cited the card as having a 384-bit memory bus, however, when launch rolled around a couple of weeks ago, we were greeted with a 256-bit bus instead. However, new information has come to light, confirming that Tonga is 384-bit capable, but AMD chose not to enable it for any products as of yet.

The initial report comes from PCPer, which spoke with AMD’s Raja Koduri, who confirmed that all Tonga GPUs are capable of supporting 384-bit memory bus bandwidth, but since the team couldn’t find the right price to performance ratio, the current Tonga cards were locked down to 256-bit instead.

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Tonga GPUs have been out in the wild for over a year now so it is unlikely that we will see AMD launch yet another card using the GPU with an updated memory bus- at least not this generation. This does open the door for more performance to be unlocked on a refreshed line of GPUs, potentially next year, when the Arctic Island cards come around.

KitGuru Says: This news does open the door for us to see Tonga return next year alongside the new Arctic Island cards with an unlocked memory interface. Though that is just speculation on my part, so keep that in mind. What do you guys think of this move from AMD? Locking down performance on existing products is always an interesting topic for debate.

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  • Tyrann

    So more rebrands incoming next year?

  • Timothy Edgin

    AMD has killed itself by following Nvidia and crippling double precision math on their consumer GPUs and by going for the lowest common denominator. Nvidia can afford a 256 bit memory interface because they use memory bandwidth much more efficiently, which is why the GTX 980ti with a 384 bit bus can go blow for blow with the Fury cards on a 4096 bit memory bus. Amd needs more hardware features to attract guys like me that care about what I can do with a card besides game. The fact that my 7970 outperforms a Fury for complex math using double precision means I have absolutely no reason to upgrade to AMD.

    Nvidia can afford to cripple their consumer cards because they are so much bigger and their professional software support is unparalleled. Quadro cards are far more popular than FirePro, and most professional software works way better on Nvidia. I jumped to the AMD bandwagon because the special compute abilities of the HD 7970 and OpenCL. What they have done now is force me to buy a second hand Quadro for my GPGPU and keep my 7970 for gaming because the Fury cards suck for GPGPU so much.

    When I upgrade this year there is no way I will “upgrade” to a card that is crippled on the AMD side. If I am going to get a crippled card at 1/16 DP I might as well buy from the company most likely to be around in five years and has better software and driver support, Nvidia. And I am saying this as someone that has been a hard core AMD supporter, if AMD follows Nvidia it will be the end of them. I was looking forward to buying a HBM equipped card similar to my 7970.

    These new cards are nothing like the 7970, in two years they will flood Craigslist in the $100-200 price range because they will be hard to resell. It took 7970 five years to make it to the 100 range in the resale market because it had so many non gaming uses.

  • Alex Mar

    The “brand new” 480x will feature an amazing architecture named
    differently than before and having the same amount of everything, except
    a wider memory bus and maybe extra 2 to 4 GB of new GDDR5 memory
    (384bit with 6GB seems right) for an amazing 1 to 5 % blazing
    performance boost over the previous generation… I’m gonna cry right
    now…

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