Thorough investigation of early beta version of AMD Catalyst 11.7 drivers that became available couple of days ago has revealed some info on AMD next generation graphics solutions. This is most like to be codenamed for newest AMD Radeon GPUs also known as Southern Islands.
Southern Islands GPUs are expected to be built on GCN (Graphics Core Next) architecture some details of which were already presented at AFDS 2011 (AMD Fusion Development Summit) with several low-end products still suing VLIW4 SIMD. All of them are sure to support DX11 API while the main accent will be made on performance improvement coupled with enhanced energy-efficiency. Technologically speaking, Southern Islands processors can become the first GPU to be produced via 28nm process technology.
Regarding codenamed, it is assumed that Tahiti chip will be used for next gen single core flagship and will replace Cayman processors used for HD 6900 cards available today. Just like with Cayman series cards, there will be Pro and XT variants of Tahiti chip which should correspond to HD 7950 and HD 7970 respectively, that is, if AMD does not change the naming scheme again. Two of this chips will form a dual-core solution codenamed New Zealand.
Next we can expect Thames chip to appear, although there is no certainty to whether it will deliver new mobile GPUs or will be used for middle-end segment currently occupied by HD 6800 and HD 6790 products. However, variety of Thames chips: LE, Pro and XT/GL, give us an idea that it can be the basis for HD 7790, HD 7850 and HD 7870 cards respectively.
Last, but hopefully not least, there will be Lombok GPUs to replace current Turks and Caicos based products. Disclosed suffixes for Lombok chips, Pro, XT, AIO and XT GL, suggest there will be a great variety of entry and/or middle level Desktop solutions to choose from.
We can only add that such information provided in AMD’s official drivers makes the actual launch of HD 7000 cards possible withing next couple of months. On the other hand, we won’t be surprised with AMD decides to present Southern Islands GPUs and Zambezi CPUs at the same time somewhere late Q3 2011.