AMD “Hawaii” Die Shot Shows Unused Streaming Processors – 3072 SPs in Total


Graphics processors use a modular design where a certain amount of CUs (compute units) can be removed from the GPU die to make it more affordable to the end-user. When a GPU has more CUs and streaming processors it is going to be faster than a card that has been shaved down, and it appears as if AMD has the necessary CUs to make the 290x even more powerful.

In its current form the AMD Radeon R9 290x has 40 active CUs, giving it 2816 stream processors, 176 texture mapping units and 64 ROPs. A new image of the “Hawaii” silicon published on DG’s Nerdy Story though, shows that the chip actually has unused, or disabled CUs. If this die shot is correct then the “Hawaii” GPU may feature as many as 48CUs, giving it 3072 stream processors (SPs) – 10% more than AMD is currently using on the flagship graphics cards.

amd_hawaii_block_diagram_500

Companies don’t just like to have unused hardware, if AMD released the R9 290x with 3072 streaming processors it would have easily be the fastest single GPU graphics card on the market. However, the 290x suffers from heat issues and the load power consumption is already 250+ watts. These could have ultimately been the factors behind AMD’s decision to disable some CUs, but this leads to the question, will they enabled them at some point? All they would need is a better cooler to reduce the temps and they could have a real beast on their hands.

If AMD did release a fully enabled “Hawaii” GPU it put them on top, that is until the next generation graphics cards are released.