It has been rumored that AMD's next-gen mainstream GPUs, the RX 500 series, would be launching during the middle of April. But despite the fact that April is right around the corner, few real specifics have leaked out thus far. That changes a bit today, as we now learn that the entire RX 500 stack will make use of varying versions of next-gen Polaris GPU architecture.
The top-end RX 580, which will replace the first-gen Polaris-based RX 480, would be based on Polaris 20 XTX. If that "XTX" sounds familiar, it is because AMD previously released GPUs under that moniker, including the X1950 XTX from over a decade ago. Some other cards have had XTX in their code name, like the 2013-era R7 260X built on Bonaire XTX.
Moving down the stack, the RX 560 will be built on Polaris 20, while the lower-end RX 550 will be built on Polaris 12. As with the original Polaris series, these RX 500 chips would be built on a 14nm FinFET, although there should still be efficiency improvements that can be enjoyed thanks to architectural enhancements.
If it seems odd that we'd jump right from Polaris 10 to Polaris 20, for example, it's beginning to look like this is how AMD will handle its codenames going forward, adding 10 to each subsequent launch. That means that Polaris 11 in effect becomes Polaris 21, with some in the industry simply referring to it as "Polaris 2".
It is important to note that these RX 500 cards are not built on AMD's Vega. While powerful, the RX 480 isn't the highest-end GPU that AMD has offered in recent years, as that title would belong to the Fury family. Vega will in effect be the successor to Fury, catering to the higher-end portion of the market, complete with the use of HBM2 memory. Hopefully, that means that the RX 580 will settle in at around $250 once again, with an expected 8GB framebuffer.
One thing's for sure: the GPU market is far from stagnant. NVIDIA just released its latest top-end card in the form of the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, and soon, AMD will have both Polaris "2" and RX Vega out the door. It's a good time to be a PC gamer!