AMD may have a secret weapon in HBM

2 min read


As far as I’m concerned, AMD is in a lot of trouble. Nvidia’s new cards, the GTX 970 and GTX 980 deliver ridiculous performance, without – as is usual for Nvidia products – costing several limbs. For the local price of less than R6K, you can get performance close to the company’s older flagship Titan card, at less than half the price. Naturally though, AMD won’t take this lying down. They may have a secret weapon of their own.

According to hardware rumour mill WCCFTech, AMD’s next batch of cards may be running on the new standard of high bandwidth memory. 3D stacked HBM was originally developed in tandem by both SK Hynix and AMD as a replacement for GDDR5. It could offer future AMD cards up to 9 times the bandwidth of GPU’s coupled with GDDR5.

AMD’s next flagship cards will apparently be packing 3D stacked HBM.

HBM will allegedly make its way to AMD’s next generation of Pirate Islands GPUs starting early next year. With the introduction of the R9 380X powered by the Fiji GPU core and competing against the GTX 980. Also the R9 390X flagship powered by the Bermuda GPU which will be competing against the Titan 2 / GTX 980 Ti.

AMD’s first cards in 2015 are set to embrace the faster memory standard.

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The HBM standard itself is more open and not locked to AMD, and it looks like Nvidia has plans to implement it too – but only in its Pascal cards coming in 2016. Right now, the undisputed king of price to performance in video cards is Nvidia’s beastly 970, but that may change early next year. New tech tends to be expensive though – and I hope AMD isn’t going to rush this out to the detriment of its pricing.

Last Updated: October 2, 2014

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I’m old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time – they were capable of being masterpieces. I’m here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • Admiral Chief 0

    I realised today that my current card is almost 2 years old, and I have NO complaints about it.

    Anyone have any recommendations on AMD CPUs if I were to be in the market for one

    • Mark Treloar

      Its not the CPU you have to worry about, its the Motherboard.

      • Admiral Chief 0

        I need new mobo as well, so yeah. Will be full kit of mobo CPU and Ramzors

        • Mark Treloar

          Problem is with 8300 and 9300 processors. The mobo needs a specific BIOS version to see the CPU or it wont boot. Most retailers wont be able to help you with details on this so best to get a bundle with processor and mobo.

          • Admiral Chief 0

            That is the plan yes

          • Sam al

            yeah…i had this problem back in 2011 when I bought my 8120. I had to buy a 45$ sempron cpu to boot and do the update. Had to throw that CPU in garbage couple of months ago…

      • Shredder962

        Lies, the motherboards are all updated as of now, you don’t have to worry about BIOS updates.

    • DrKiller

      Apparently mine is over 3years old… Still works perfectly… GTX560Ti

      • Sir Rants A Lot Llew

        560Ti FTW man. Still loving mine

      • geelslang

        The 560ti is a champ, Installed Shadow of Mordor yesterday, on medium settings I average 60fps in the benchmark. Not bad for a card that was mid range 3 years ago.

        • Sweet, thanks for that info,glad my 560 will still run it reasonable, did you download it from steam or install from disc?, I’m trying to find out if the disc only contains a portion of the files and the rest are to be downloaded etc, waiting for Kalahari to finally feel when they’re ready to deliver my copy Shadow of Mordor which apparently seems like next week since I was told the 10th but my order page says 8th etc and doubt they’ll deliver it tomorrow since apparently they only are getting it in and blah that nonsense.

          Honestly don’t see the point in pre ordering before hand?

    • loftie

      yeah i still use a old asus gtx560 factory overclocked and can run bf4/metro/skyrim (with mods) on high just fine.(

      My amd phenom II x4 955 still does the job for me too..
      Should keep me going for another year at least I hope and would prob only need to upgrade to gtx760 when the time and price is right.
      PSU can also make or break a system is not enough power is supplied everything will be under strain.
      Dont skimp on a decent MOBO either if you dont want to bottleneck the system…

      • Admiral Chief 0

        I have decent GPU and PSU, the rest needs update

    • FoxOneZA

      Best bang for buck right now is an Intel i5 Haswell-e CPU. Intel Mobo’s are cheap as chips and since all DDR3 memory is CL9 these days, you’ve got a pretty neat upgrade for R3k.

    • Sir Rants A Lot Llew

      Honestly I’d still shy away from AMD CPU’s. Now before you just dismiss this offhand there is a reason. AMD CPU’s still use their little trick of using the same power for 4 cores over 6 or 8 cores which reduces the overall capabilities of the CPU and causes bottlenecks.

      So while no one can dispute that their cards are getting really good again (As in back in the day Radeon 9600 days) their CPU’s still lack a lot. This is also due in part to really crappy AMD mobos. The ones that are good are few and far between.

      But that’s just my view on it anyway

      • James Payter

        “Getting really good again (As in back in the day Radeon 9600 days)…”

        The 5000 series no good then??

        • Sir Rants A Lot Llew

          I’m talking comparatively. As in milestone performance. The 5000 series cards are good but they weren’t that “Milestone” level like the R2900 cards or the Radeon 9xxx cards.

          The same with nVidia. Geforce 4 was a milestone series. The next “milestone” series was only the 2xx series and then again the 5xx series and now the 9xx series.

          Making sense at what I am getting at?

          • James Payter

            It makes sense now, but you worded incorrectly then in your original post.

            ‘Getting really good again’ implies that they haven’t been really good since the 9600 days.

            But never mind! 🙂

          • Sir Rants A Lot Llew

            Ah I see yes. It would seem my wording was a little off. Apologies

    • Matthew Holliday

      tbh, my previous 2 CPUs were AMD, I was never impressed.
      great for building to a budget, but never great long term solutions.

      Their higher end FX series CPUs arent too bad though.
      if i was doing an AMD rig, id go with one of these

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    But I want to upgrade at the beginning of the year :/

  • Alex Hicks

    It all sounds like the plot of some terrible movie.

  • Brian Murphy

    Top Secret is such a good movie. Almost want to say it’s Val Kilmer’s finest role.

  • yourma2000

    “sourcing anything from wccftech”

    Why would damage your own standards in such as way?

    • Hamish Taylor

      Because WCCFtechs recent leaking of pretty much every correct fact about the GTX 980 has proven that they’ve got SOME idea of what they are doing.

      • yourma2000

        You mean like the 12 core 6Ghz Phenom IV CPU or the 8890k APU info the leaked? yeah, correct about leaks aren’t they.

        • Hamish Taylor

          Some of their stuff is grade-A bullshit, but from what they said about the 980, they do have some legitimate industry sources aswell.

  • James Payter

    Pfft, up to 5 times the bandwidth… So what? 9 times out of 10 you’ll hit the GPU ceiling waaaayyyyyy before memory bandwidth becomes an issue.

    I fail to see how this is some kind of ‘secret weapon’ against the 970 and 980.

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