Up For Debate - Pascal Or Polaris, Which Will Dominate Next Gen Graphics Cards

Written by Jon Sutton on Sun, Mar 13, 2016 5:00 PM

We are potentially days away from a seismic shift in graphics hardware. Both AMD and Nvidia have been teasing their next-generation GPUs for months now, but its Team Red which looks as if it’s making the first move at GDC on March 14th. A live Radeon event is set to take place, during which RTG president Raja Koduri is expected to showcase Polaris to the masses.

It will represent the first graphics card die shrink for almost four years. Due to manufacturing problems the 20nm process was skipped entirely by AMD and Nvidia, so what we’re effectively about to witness is a leap two generations ahead from our current hardware. The expected 14nm process means a die shrink, leading to improved power consumption, more transistors, and a lower price to performance ration.

First of out the gate is expected to be AMD with its Polaris architecture. We’re expecting a mammoth jump in performance here, aided by the strides AMD has made in optimising for DirectX 12. For the first time in a long time it feels as if AMD has beaten Nvidia to the punch.

Not to be outdone though, Nvidia is attempting a similar with Pascal. While details are scarce, this is going to by a die shrink down to either 14nm or 16nm, with an expected triple the memory bandwidth of current-gen Maxwell cards, double the performance per watt and twice the peak single precision compute performance.

Both are anticipated to make use of second generation HBM2 for the on-board memory. You’ll remember first-gen HBM was used with AMD’s Fury graphics cards, but this second generation offers twice the memory capacity and twice the bandwidth. Expect to see terabyte plus memory bandwidth in this upcoming generation.

Both contenders are poised and the scales seem evenly balanced, but who will be declared the winner of the upcoming generation when it’s all said and done? Get voting and let us know your thoughts below!

Which will be the 2016 winner?

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23:03 Mar-15-2016

To be honest, I am really torn between these 2..... I heard that nVidia will be using HBM2 for it's flagships only.... I will make my decision of whether I change from green to red when these are released. If AMD goes full HBM2 (or even HBM on low to mid priced GPUs) I will change to team Red. To me it's always been process of elimination, not playing favorites. Either way, I'm gonna love these :P

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13:03 Mar-16-2016

HBM/HBM 2.0 is not the best thing ATM, as there is no proper optimization for it and in general it doesn't matter the type of memory used what matters in the end is bandwidth, no matter how you achieve it, so GDDR should stay for an year or two more as standard with only the top-end GPUs should use HBM/2.0.

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18:30 Mar-16-2016

True. And I know how it's not yet properly optimized but on a long run it's gonna be the standard memory for GPUs and HBM2 has around 1 Tbps bandwith so.... well either way it's probably for the best to go for HBM since I think they're gonna replace GDDR5 with this quite soon and on terms of gaming probably even faster....

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06:51 Mar-15-2016

All we want in 50-50 ratio...
And no ****ty attempts to knock performance of other brand cards :P

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06:10 Mar-15-2016

In the header picture, is that team Red getting an uppercut?

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05:50 Mar-16-2016

Yes.

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17:44 Mar-14-2016

Nvidia will beat AMD , for its lower power consumption and better driver support . Hope so :)

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20:24 Mar-14-2016

Yes Maybe , but AMD will be more powerful then before! , well i love Nvidia :D

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20:35 Mar-14-2016

I'm a Nvidia Fanboy, but i really hope AMD comes out ahead this year. I'd love to see Nvidia be forced to drop a 8800 GT style bombshell to retain dominance/market share...

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22:30 Mar-14-2016

Yeah , the good in AMD is prices , and the good in Nvidia is Driver! , Driver is very important , AMD should fix this problem , and AMD is still trying! , I AM An NVIDIA FANBOY LOL

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01:22 Mar-15-2016

I feel like I should yell at you by typing in all caps but hey we all have our favorites in life :)

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08:21 Mar-15-2016

Guys this is one of the best comment threads i have ever seen fanboys accepting their differences without shouting or being rude :)


I on the other hand would grab whatever suites my needs

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10:00 Mar-15-2016

Agreed.
I would also decide my buy depending more on performance and less on brand.
For similar items, I would currently go for AMD since they need more support :P

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17:13 Mar-15-2016

You don't know anything about the power consumption, the fact that the current AMD gpus consume a little bit more power than most Nvidia counterparts(TDP is NOT power consumption), doesn't mean that always will be the case, and it isn't even now as the r9 Nano beats the gtx 980 and consumes about the same power.

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17:23 Mar-14-2016

Usually I would say, that none of them should dominate the market. They should have a head to head race. The consumer would benefit more in this case in terms of innovation and prices.
However, because of the current situation of AMD they should have an edge, at least at the beginning.

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15:54 Mar-14-2016

i don't know but i will keep an open mind about it. i have always bought nvidia cards but i might consider buying amd this time around if they improve their card's power efficiency.

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14:41 Mar-14-2016

depends on the industry altogether, if more dx12 titles coming then it'll favor amd, as long as nvidia don't keep up with the architecture. but the fact that nvidia able to adjust --well kinda-- with just drivers is kinda scary.


i think it'll be a tie like 50-50 something market share, and i'll stick with amd ofc knowing then it'll be more efficient, no reason not to.. hopefully it'll still be the more affordable one in the competition

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14:06 Mar-14-2016

I don't know, I have to wait and see.

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12:05 Mar-14-2016

if i need to upgrade i will be chosing AMD POLARIS
had it enough with NVIDIA
one of my cousin GPU already die because of the latest Nvidia driver and another gpu stuttering cuz of high temp..he using GTX970 SLI
lucky i'm only had a blackscreen problem when playing division..
other games fine..

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12:09 Mar-14-2016

black screen at startup? the sound is on mouse cursor visible but a black screen and no way to go back to desktop? i have the same issue, i fixed it by disabling uplay popup ingame
how is your game performing when sli activated? i have huge flickering ghosting texture corruption :(

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01:24 Mar-15-2016

yes blackscreen and only got the mouse cursor..now is fine after i'm using 362 driver something but sometime still got the same problem..
my cousin had a bad day his gpu's 1 already out and another temp rising above normal after install 364 latest Nvidia driver..
need to RMA then..

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14:04 Mar-14-2016

Everybody will have bad experience when using a multi-GPU, on AMD or NVIDIA.

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14:26 Mar-14-2016

i will put playing the division on hold untill a fix comes out

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10:10 Mar-14-2016

It is really hard to decide , but AMD is very good in prices , and i expect a good result from AMD this Year , but we will see Nvidia what will do! We will see the benchmarks and prices ofc , because prices are very important for gamers!

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05:43 Mar-14-2016

To be honest the new generation cards seem really overhyped for me. I heavily doubt it will "change the gaming as you know it." I am expecting a 10-15% improvement in power. Higher numbers would impress me.

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08:05 Mar-14-2016

Top tier gpus will be dicent performance jump for sure like gtx 980ti being 30% better in real time gaming performance as gtx 780ti besides that they shrink process to 14 nm looking forward still..

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08:55 Mar-14-2016

Shift from 28 nm to 14 nm itself can generate 1.5.-1.8 Times Perf/Watt. With decent IPC gains, I really think they will live upto hype.

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05:32 Mar-14-2016

You guys are forgetting the real winners: all of us consumers who will benefit from corporate competition.

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06:11 Mar-14-2016

Seeing how AMD cranked up their 300 series prices to match the 900 series instead of the other way around, I doubt that. Especially when "new technology" comes into play they like to make it as expensive as possible for as long as possible. And with only 2 players on the market it's an illusion that there is a real price competition that benefits the end comsumer. They won't shoot themselves in the foot.

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11:47 Mar-14-2016

Fair enough.

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05:19 Mar-14-2016

I'm hoping Polaris will win this time around, just so we have more competition. If all goes well with Zen, my next build may very well be all AMD.

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01:39 Mar-14-2016

i don't kno..i honestly don't kno..


GPU wise i'm a nvidia fan, bigtime.. i was so excited about pascal last year december.. but now i'm torn...


is it just me or does it feel different this time around? normally nvidia would be teasing and toying with us, but its amd doing that.. is nvidia being cautious?


i actually think i want a polaris gpu..i'm intrigued...

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01:17 Mar-14-2016

Maybe intel will release some new integrated GPU's to kick both of them off the charts?

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01:34 Mar-14-2016

Imagine that

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03:45 Mar-14-2016

Lol!
Thank you for the laughs.

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01:03 Mar-14-2016

Well, I think I will choose card that would run Star Citizen in ultra 1080/60...currently Im no interesting in 2k or 4k gaming.

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14:10 Mar-14-2016

But 1080p is 2K (1920x1080), 4K is 3840x2160.

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00:37 Mar-14-2016

Don't really care about the contest between AMD and Nvidea. Since these new range of cards are coming out, the current 900 series will become a lot cheaper and I'll take full advantage by purchasing another GTX 970 for an SLi setup in my PC

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08:58 Mar-14-2016

What if they actually deliver 2 times performance at current price??? You could sell this and be safe from SLI issues :P

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14:46 Mar-14-2016

Well that will change everything, hehe bt we shall C. However, having two 970s can pretty much cream out every recent PC games on par with the 980 ti. If there are SLi, issues I'll just simply switch off one of the cards & use a single 970.

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23:11 Mar-13-2016

To me it seems like AMD is on a good way with all that DX12 stuff going on lately,so i'll give a vote to them here. But you can't know anything for sure until it's out

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21:31 Mar-13-2016

How long will it be before GPUs have 1TB of memory?

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21:50 Mar-13-2016

the right question is: How long will it be until GPUs have 1TB of memory and NOT cost an arm, leg, liver, kidney, a house and a family member?

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22:02 Mar-13-2016

the right q is: How long will survive 1 TB video ram after release? 1-2 years?

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06:20 Mar-14-2016

''a family member''


cant stop now i am dying :D

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22:13 Mar-13-2016

fifa 3256 wil request 1TB vram

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23:03 Mar-13-2016

Can I please get a serious answer to this question? Thank you.

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23:10 Mar-13-2016

To answer that, we must.... GO TO THE FUTURE!
Plays Back to the future theme song


Idk man, 20-30 years?

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23:28 Mar-13-2016

Honestly, it all depends on Consoles, as long as they determine the majority of the gaming market, it could take longer. I also don't think technology will have reached far enough to utilize 1TB memory effectively regardless, so it could be 5-15 Years.

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09:24 Mar-14-2016

well if everything goes according to Moore's law it should be in 5-7 years or so, but that will NOT happen, because both AMD and Nvidia are stalling their architectures' performance to maximize profit and lower the prices and there are the process nodes, which can fail, like the 20nm one, which forced AMD to trash their architecture and release the r9 300 series as they are.
Otherwise in theory it should be possible

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03:51 Mar-14-2016

You question will sound more sincere if you ask "how long for 100Gb VRAM GPUs".
1Tb GPU is sincerely stupid for the next 50+ years.

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03:56 Mar-14-2016

I get it, you ask for 1Tb bandwidth, learn to ask properly before comment.

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21:26 Mar-13-2016

I feel a bit stupid for asking this but what exactly is memory bandwidth and why would having up to 1TB of memory bandwidth be useful for gaming?

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21:27 Mar-13-2016

It's the transfer speed of data I think.

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21:56 Mar-13-2016

Yeah it's very usefull! Higher bandwidth faster load and less map loading shutters in open word games.
Thats the speed how fast the object load from the game into your memory.

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22:04 Mar-13-2016

the memory bandwidth is the amount of data that a CPU or GPU(in this case) can transfer to the RAM(be it system ram for CPUs or video ram for GPUs) every second, measured in GB per Second(Gigabytes(GB) being the amount and Seconds being the interval), The high the bandwidth the faster the GPU is in general, but there are other performance factors - units that matter just as much, bandwidth is just one of them. In general the higher bandwidth(accompanied with appropriate amount of specs - units) the more Vram can be utilized/used EFFECTIVELY(key word, means that Vram is used With Benefit to performance).

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22:06 Mar-13-2016

So for gaming the bandwidth helps with many things, like higher resoltion(higher resolution = more data required to be executed, higher bandwidth means more data executed per second), higher quality texutres(again better textures more data to be executed and transfered), Anti-Aliasing and other factors, but again bandwidth alone is not enough.

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22:10 Mar-13-2016

to ask something you dont know is not stupid. Nobody will laugh if you dont know something.

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00:08 Mar-14-2016

Some people on the internet will treat you like the deformed child of Hitlers left bollock if you have the audacity of asking a question on something about a particular game series cough SmT/Persona cough let alone something that is actually technical

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07:24 Mar-14-2016

Hey GD is the most friendly site for tech advice so please dont feel that way :)

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Can They Run... |

| High,
Ryzen 7 2700 8-Core 3.2GHz Radeon RX 5600 XT Gigabyte Gaming OC 6GB 16GB
| 60FPS, Medium, 1440p
Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1070 Palit Super JetStream 16GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Core i7-11700K 8-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1060 Asus ROG Strix Gaming OC 6GB Edition 32GB
50% Yes [2 votes]
| 60FPS, Low, 1080p
Core i7-4770 4-Core 3.4GHz GeForce GTX 1060 Inno3D Compact 6GB 8GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i5-9300H 4-Core 2.4GHz GeForce GTX 1650 8GB
| 60FPS, Low, 1080p
Ryzen 5 5600 6-Core 3.5GHz Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB 16GB
Ryzen 5 5600 6-Core 3.5GHz Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB 16GB
| 60FPS, Low, 1080p
Ryzen 5 5600 6-Core 3.5GHz Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB 16GB
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 5 5600 6-Core 3.5GHz Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB 16GB
| Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 5 5600 6-Core 3.5GHz Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB 16GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i7-10700 8-Core 2.90GHz GeForce RTX 2060 6GB 16GB
100% Yes [2 votes]
Core i5-9400F 6-Core 2.9GHz GeForce GTX 770 DirectCU II 2GB OC Edition 16GB
60% Yes [5 votes]
Pentium Dual Core B960 2.2GHz Radeon HD 6950M 4GB
33.3333% Yes [6 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 720p
Athlon II X2 245 GeForce GTS 250 4GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Ryzen 5 3500U 4-Core 2.1 GHz Radeon RX Vega 8 8GB
| 60FPS, High, 720p
Core i5-2400S 2.5GHz Radeon R5 340 (OEM) 4GB
| High, 720p
Core i5-2400S 2.5GHz Radeon R5 340 (OEM) 4GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
Ryzen 5 3500U 4-Core 2.1 GHz Radeon RX Vega 8 8GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 30FPS, Medium, 720p
Ryzen 5 3500U 4-Core 2.1 GHz Radeon RX Vega 8 10GB
| 30FPS, High, 1080p
Core i3-8100 4-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1060 3GB 16GB
100% Yes [4 votes]