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AMD’s upcoming ‘Tonga’ GPU may replace Radeon R9 280

Advanced Micro Devices is reportedly proceeding with the plan to release its new graphics processing unit (GPU) code-named Tonga already in August. The new GPU will reportedly offer performance similar to that of the Radeon R9 280-series graphics cards, but it is completely unclear whether it will actually replace the Tahiti GPU-based solutions on the market.

Chinese VR-Zone reports that graphics cards based on the Tonga chips will replace only the Radeon R9 280 graphics adapters powered by the the Tahiti Pro GPUs. TechPowerUp further speculates that the new Tonga silicon will feature 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.

If the rumoured specifications are correct, the Tonga-based graphics cards will be able to replace not only the R9 280, but also the R9 280X graphics adapters. Keeping in mind that the Tonga chips are reportedly very energy-efficient, graphics cards on their base should be less expensive than graphics adapters based on the Tahiti GPU in general.

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It is important to note that AMD’s Tonga GPU was initially rumoured to be a part of a fresh family of graphics processors based on the new GCN architecture. The family of desktop GPUs based on the new GCN was originally projected to include Maui high-end GPU, Iceland performance graphics chip as well as Tonga mainstream graphics processing unit. Since a GPU with 2048 stream processors cannot be an entry-level chip, it remains to be seen whether it will be the most powerful GPU of the new breed, or will be a new performance-mainstream offering from AMD.

AMD did not comment on the news-story.

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KitGuru Says: Since all the information about AMD’s Tonga GPU comes from unofficial sources, it looks rather unreliable and sometimes even illogical. It is completely unknown why AMD needs to release a graphics processor that will perform like an existing solution. It will not be significantly cheaper compared to the Tahiti GPU and it will also not be much faster in games (even if AMD manages to boost its clock-rates significantly compared to the Tahiti). Moreover, the current rumours do not reveal anything about the code-named Maui and the code-named Iceland offerings, which is rather strange too…

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