A tidbit in the AMD Radeon HD 8000M series launch today
showed AMD's hand for their GPU strategy - OEM's are getting a top to bottom range of AMD Radeon HD 8000 desktop cards with only 2 new chips in the stack.
The full details are here
, with the GPU architectures clearly indicated. The Pitcairn XT and Tahiti Pro and XT2 cards are rebranded, just change the leading 7 to a 8 and done.
For the Cape Verde cards, 7770 becomes 8760, 7750 becomes 8740; no changes to specifications just take 10 off the last two digits - the relative performance indicator - and increment the family numeral.
The venerable Cedar and Caicos GPU's, which were the ATI Radeon HD 5450 and AMD Radeon HD 6450 respectively, become the 8350 and 8400 series. This leaves only the 8570 and 8670 GPU's with new specifications, looking for all the world like binned Cape Verde chips with boost firmware, remarkable similar to the Solar GPU's launched on the mobile side.
So why are the OEM's getting the new lineup first, that isn't new? Well, todays press conference talked a lot about the new Richland APU, coming in 2013 to replace Trinity. When we asked AMD's Jay Marsden about APU dual graphics capability of the new Solar GPU's, we were told that the new GPU's won't dual graphics, but instead enduro connect with APU's. Is AMD bringing the same thing to the desktop and using GCN for the compelling reason to have a dGPU in your APU system?
Of course, there's the old standby that AMD need GCN to fight the Kepler cards for Intel design wins, too. Those Ivy Bridge CPU's need a real GPU, and the Northern Islands 40nm rebrands in the OEM 7000 series didn't fare well against the 28nm Kepler onslaught.