The first pictures of what is claimed to be AMD Radeon R9 285 graphics cards have been posted online along with some additional information about the new graphics processing unit code-named Tonga. The publication of the images indicates that the graphics cards will be released shortly from now.
VideoCardz web-site has published press photos of AMD Radeon R9 285 graphics cards from Sapphire, XFX and HIS. All graphics cards utilise coolers developed by the aforementioned companies, but it is unclear whether designs of printed-circuit boards (PCBs) were also developed by them.
The graphics cards seem to be rather short, which confirms that the code-named Tonga GPUs are not very power hungry and thus do not require sophisticated power supply circuitry. Nonetheless, all graphics cards feature two 6-pin PCI Express power connectors and use rather advanced coolers with heat-pipes, which means that the GPU still needs a lot of energy (up to 225W in theory) and is pretty hot.
While exact specifications of the Radeon R9 285 are unclear, it is known that the graphics cards will come with 2GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 5.5GHz. It is strange that memory bandwidth of the Radeon R9 285 – 176GB/s – is lower compared to that of the Radeon R9 280 and the Radeon R9 280X graphics boards. Given lower memory bandwidth, it is unclear whether the R9 285 will actually be faster compared to the R9 280/R9 280X.
Earlier it was reported that AMD’s code-named Tonga silicon features 2048 stream processors, 128 texture units, 32 raster operating units and a 256-bit wide GDDR5 memory bus. In general, the graphics solution is expected to offer similar processing capabilities as the fully-fledged Tahiti XT (Radeon R9 280X, Radeon HD 7970), but lower memory bandwidth.
It was also reported that AMD’s new graphics processors due out this year are based on a fresh incarnation of the GCN [graphics core next] architecture, which could be called the “new GCN” (some call it GCN 1.2 or even GCN 2.0). Previously it was rumoured that the new GCN would support a number of enhancements related to heterogeneous system architecture (HSA), including GPU compute context switch as well as GPU graphics pre-emption, something that is already supported by the Kaveri accelerated processing unit. The Tonga GPU supports DirectX 11.2, Eyefinity, TrueAudio and other technologies.
AMD did not comment on the news-story.
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KitGuru Says: While everything is more or less clear about the Radeon R9 285 and the Tonga GPU, the fate of AMD’s high-end 28nm GPU due this year is completely uncertain. Traditionally both AMD and Nvidia tend to unveil “halo” high-end GPUs first and then follow with performance-mainstream products. For some reason this time AMD decided to roll-out the performance-mainstream part first.