Southern Islands is the code name of AMD’s coming graphics card architecture that is slated for launch this fall. Traces of the new 28nm architecture has appeared in beta Catalyst drivers where several new GPUs are named. Including Tahiti that seems to be the flagship of the Radeon HD 7000 family.
Tahiti will appear in two flavors with the suffixes XT and Pro, which can be compared to e.g. Radeon HD 6970 (Cayman XT) and Radeon HD 6950 (Cayman Pro) from the current Northern Islands family. Tahiti will just like Cayman appear in a graphics card with dual GPUs, dubbed New Zeeland, which is just like Antilles a name of an island constellation with two main islands.
Beside the top model Tahiti we also see Thames, which we don’t know the exact positioning of. According to rumors Thames will be a mobile circuit that will appear in three different configurations.
Lombok is the last code name that was mentioned in an early beta of Catalyst 11.7 and is also the solution we know least of today. Four different models are specified and the performance and platform they will offer are still unknown.
|Code name||Market segment||Models|
|”New Zealand”||Dual Tahiti GPUs on a single PCB for high-end.||1|
|”Tahiti”||Most likely the top model of Southern Islands.||2: Tahiti Pro and Tahiti XT|
|”Thames”||Uncertain, could be a mobile circuit for mid-range or performance segments.||3: Thames LE, Thames Pro and Thames XT/GL|
|”Lombok”||Unknown.||4: Lombok Pro, Lombok XT, Lombok AIO and Lombok XL GL|
That we are now starting to find traces of AMD’s new graphics circuits in the drivers doesn’t have to mean the launch is imminent. There have been rumors of Southern Islands and its VLIW4 architecture for a long time and AMD will have to wait for a mature 28nm processor before it can launch. If any of the circuits will use AMD’s coming ”Next Graphics Core” architecture is uncertain, but hardly likely.
With that said it took about two months after the first code names appeared in Catalyst drivers before the first circuits of the Northern Islands architecture launched. If we see a similar development this time we should expect the first circuits of Southern Islands in September, a month that has been mentioned before.