AMD’s current lineup of Polaris graphics cards is steering the company back on track to be once again highly competitive to Nvidia’s range of discrete graphics cards – but only up until the mid range. With the absence of the RX 490 GPU, the most powerful Polaris based card in AMD’s arsenal is the Polaris 10 based RX 480 – which is in the same weight division as Nvidia’s own GTX 1060.
Given the limitations of AMD’s Fury and Fury X graphics cards (the 4GB of RAM), customers have waited for team red to confirm the existence of the Radeon 490 graphics card. There have been a few leaks (we’ll get to those) in the past showing that the card may well exist, but there’s been precision little information on the actual GPU. Well, CCP Games (the developers behind Eve Valkyrie) have ignited the rumors again by updating showing that they recommend either a GTX 1080 graphics card – or the ‘AMD 490′.
What’s interesting here is the precise name of the card – AMD 490, and not (as you might expect) the RX 490. These rumors go hand in hand with leaks and information from Sapphire (one of the AMD’s most loyal partners for producing Radeon GPUs) and AMD themselves.
A user on Reddit spotted the entry – and you’ll notice that in this particular image the card is listed next to a GTX 980 Ti. “Graphics Nvidia GTX 980 Ti or AMD 490″. But it gets weirder from there.
AreYouAWiiizard (the Reddit user in question) then put out another post, detailing Eve Valkyries FAQ. Here the games recommended requirements were listed as follows:
OS: Windows 8
Processor: Intel i7 processor
Memory: 12 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 1080 / AMD 490
If you head over to the Steam page now, both the store post and the FAQ have been edited, with an edit note of the FAQ reading ‘lasted edited by CCP_Redcape; 18 Nov @ 2:32pm’.
Taking these rumors at face value, this means that the AMD 490 will perform in benchmarks on par with either the GTX 980 Ti or the GTX 1080.
In the above image, you can clearly see Sapphires Global Support System did indeed list the Sapphire Radeon 490 8GB graphics card. Adding to the confusion AMD then released this slide, which shows that the company are actually considering removing the RX from the naming convention, and also highlighting they’re considering adding a revision. The revision in this could would be say the RX 480 – which would be the first revision. If the company named it RX 485 OR AMD 485 it would be the second revision of the same architecture.
What does all of this mean? Well, it’s down to your interpretation unfortunately. The first option is that Sapphire and CCP both screwed up – but that would be quite the typo on the part of both companies, but it’s possible.
The second option is AMD are working on the 490 as a dual graphics card… which makes sense, because Polaris 10 (the same core found within the RX 480) has all of its Compute Units enabled, therefore there’s nothing ‘higher’. So a dual card might make sense – but there’s a few flies in that ointment – the first is that we can presume there’d only be 4GB per graphics core (as GPU vendors typically label the grand total of RAM available on the card, but because of data mirroring in SLI / CrossFire only half of that is available on a dual GPU). The second issue is Vega.
There’s a slew of Vega 10 and Vega 11 rumors – but the more interesting of them is that Vega 11 essentially replaces the Polaris lineup, while Vega 10 will fill the void for the higher end SKUs. So if this is the case – AMD 490 could actually be Polaris based. And some rumors also insist that some cards will sport 8GB of HBM2 memory – but those aren’t confirmed. We do know that the bleeding edge SKU’s (we can presume the Fury replacements) will be loaded with 16GB HBM2 memory.
So really it comes down to the following possibilities: there’s no such thing as the AMD 490 and it’s a mistake (therefore there’ll just be the 500 series); it’s a dual GPU part or a super secret version of polaris (unlikely); the RX 490 / AMD 490 will be a Vega based Radeon GPU and will be on par with the GTX 1080.
How Nvidia will counter this is anyone’s guess – we all know that Pascal is out currently (the GeForce 10 series), but some rumors peg a ‘refreshed’ Pascal on a 14nm Process (thanks to Samsung) which will sport higher clocks and possibly a few other tweaks. We can only make the assumption Nvidia feels this is their best course of action while they anxiously work on their Pascal follow up, Volta.
Thanks to Rod R. via FaceBook for the tip!