Fudzilla reports that ATI’s upcoming next generation products, codenamed Southern Islands, are set to be a minor improvement over the current HD 5000 generation. The S. Islands cores will be just a tweak on the HD 5000 cores. However, Fudzilla did not make any mention of the uncore elements. The cores or shaders of S. Islands has been rumoured to be similar to Evergreen for a long time, but those rumours also suggest uncore elements (such as ROP) based on Northen Islands.

N. Islands was originally meant to be the late 2010 generation, but has been delayed due to the cancellation of TSMC’s 32nm process, and major delays to 28nm. Thus, S. Islands is merely a transition between Evergreen and N. Islands. N. Islands is now set to release in 2011 at 28nm.

More next page.


Fudzilla reports that ATI’s upcoming next generation products, codenamed
Southern Islands, are set to be a minor improvement over the current HD
5000 generation. The S. Islands cores will be just a tweak on the HD
5000 cores. However, Fudzilla do not make any mention of the uncore
elements. The cores or shaders of S. Islands has been rumoured to be
similar to Evergreen for a long time, but those rumours also suggest
uncore elements (such as ROP) based on N. Islands. N. Islands was
originally meant to be the late 2010 generation, but has been delayed
due to the cancellation of TSMC’s 32nm process, and major delays to
28nm. Thus, S. Islands is merely a transition between Evergreen and N.
Islands. N. Islands is now set to release in 2011 at 28nm.

The release for the first S. Islands part is around 3 months away, and we will consider the “minor improvement” a rumour for now. If it were true, it could be disappointing. On the other hand, one could argue that ATI doesn’t really need a major revamp right now. Even with GF104, ATI still continues to enjoy a performance/watt/die-size advantage with the HD 5000 series. Perhaps a refresh of HD 5000 will be enough to beat any Nvidia product in the near future. ATI, however, have a habit of surprising us.

The last time a new generation was released on the same process was back in 2008. The HD 3000 to HD 4000 both used the same TSMC 55nm product, with no major improvements expected. Rumours suggested a 30% increase in die size (which was true) from RV670 to RV770, and this led to many to assume a 50% increase in number of shaders from 320 to 480. Less than 3 weeks before release, ATI shocked everyone, including Nvidia, by introducing a whopping 250% increase in shader count to 800, over a meagre 30% increase in die size on the same process.

This suggests that it is truly too early to speculate on performance, and S. Islands could yet have a trick or two up its sleeve.

Reference: Fudzilla