CHIP DESIGNER AMD has confirmed that it will not release an ultra high-end desktop graphics card sporting Radeon HD 8000 branding in 2013.
AMD launched the first Radeon HD 8000M GPUs at CES last month, citing the same Graphics Core Next architecture that it launched in 2011 but with different chip configurations. Now the firm has confirmed that the Radeon HD 7970, which was first unveiled in December 2011, will remain as its range topping single GPU board for 2013.
Last year AMD announced a speed bumped version of its Radeon HD 7970, with the core clock speed set at 1GHz. However the fact that the firm won't have any new high-end desktop GPUs until next year is concerning. It is known that Nvidia is preparing a desktop graphics card based on its GK110 GPU that powers the firm's Tesla K20 GPGPU accelerator card, a board that AMD told journalists "was not designed to be a graphics card". That was a statement that didn't make much sense, since the Kepler architecture it is based on is already in most of Nvidia's Geforce 600 series graphics cards.
AMD claimed that its decision not to introduce a replacement for the Radeon HD 7970 in 2013 wasn't a technical one but "purely for market performance reasons", a statement that should worry technology enthusiasts as it suggests that AMD is simply doing the bare minimum to keep things ticking over rather than increase graphics performance. The firm claimed the stagnating product line is actually a good thing, as it gives the firm more time to work with games developers to optimise for its hardware, and it even went so far as to claim that previous product cycles were "forced".
While AMD is sticking with the Radeon HD 7970 to lead its single GPU graphics card product line, the firm said that there will be new series of products in the retail channel by the end of the year, meaning that it could rebadge its GCN architecture GPU cards in the higher volume mainstream market before branching out to marquee high-end graphics products.
A couple of hours after AMD told European journalists that the Radeon HD 7970 would remain at the top of its single GPU product stack the firm got in touch to backtrack somewhat. Now AMD claims it will have a "new stack" of products out in the fourth quarter of 2013.
AMD told US journalists (and one plucky Brit) that the so-called new stack of products will be based on "new technology" as opposed to rebadged Radeon HD 7000 series products, however it wouldn't go into technical details at the time.
Later AMD repeated to The INQUIRER the same line to suggest that it might now have a replacement to the Radeon HD 7970. Except this time when we asked AMD to confirm once again whether the Radeon HD 7970 will remain its top-of-the-range single GPU board at the end of 2013, it said "it might not".
AMD has been holding conference calls with journalists today to try to make clear its plans for 2013, however what we now know is that it might, or might not, replace the Radeon HD 7970 as its highest performance single GPU board by the end of the year. Clear? µ