Just what could be the three AMD “design wins?”

As we near the end of April we are just about a month and a half away from E3 2016.  Undoubtedly we will have more information about upcoming hardware and software at the event.  Obviously fans are getting restless and are digging for any facts that they can get.  Most have been just unsolicited rumors.  However we now have some information coming from the actual manufacturer of the tech in this hardware. AMD CEO Lisa Wu has confirmed that AMD is designing (or has designed) three chips for three different pieces of hardware to be “announced” this year, but not all of them will be released this year.

  “I don’t believe that we’ve gone through any detail about what those wins are, so I would prefer to let that come out as our customers are ready to launch.”

Credit: Eurogamer.com

Now the article goes on to surmise that at least one of the chips is an SoC chip for the PlayStation NEO which is an overclocked version of the current PS4 CPU ( just like I said before.)  The other two are left up to debate.  They could be the NX home console and portable units, or both NX units could be using the same chip set while the third chip could be for Microsoft’s new console upgrade.  I’m not convinced of the latter.  This is why.

Remember back in December of 2014 AMD announced that it had won the design for a console to be revealed in 2016.  The design was for two devices and one device would be designed to go “beyond gaming.”  One would be a x86 architecture, and the other would be ARM. 

(As I’m typing this I’m thinking that we could be barking up the wrong tree with thinking that Nintendo is just making another portable gaming device.  It could be that Nintendo is working on a new smart device in general that does everything any other smart devices can do PLUS play NX games, but that’s another topic for another time.)

Now ARM is typically used for mobile devices because of it’s low power consumption.  Obviously x86 is used in pretty much everything.  So it’s most likely the other two design wins are that of the NX.

However there is a little wrinkle in this I forgot about.  On July 16, 2015 it was announced by AMD that they had won a “third” chip design contract.  Things seem to be moving very fast for PSNEO considered how fresh TANGIBLE information about the console is.  It wouldn’t seem like the console would be released so soon.  However, it’s possible that PSNEO was that third design win from AMD and PSNEO has been in development since at least last summer.

Some are suggesting that NX home console and PSNEO launch this fall or Holiday season, and NX portable launches early next year.  For me personally a 2016 PSNEO launch makes sense if you really want to compete in the VR market with PSVR.  That added horsepower should help out a great deal. Nintendo launching a portable in the late-winter/early-spring also is not unprecedented.  The 3DS launched on February 26th, 2011 in Japan, and March 25th, 2011 in North America. 

There is something to consider and I have to issue a warning from this point on.  If you are a fanboy of Nintendo, Microsoft, Sony, PC gaming, or anything, STOP HERE NOW!


………still here?  Mm-k.  The reason I did that was to give enough rope for fanboys to hang themselves because what I am about to say is a perfectly logical question to ask, but people who worship pieces of plastic as deity or the companies that produce that plastic as deity can’t handle statements like this without going into a hour long diatribe of accusing others of what they are guilty of themselves.

As I stated, the PSNEO will be using overclocked versions of the two Quad-Core Jaguar processors giving it a .5 GHz per core jump in clock-speed (1.6 to 2.1.)  For my money I would liked to have seen them put a new CPU in there because with the GPU being as powerful as it is there is the potential for bottlenecks.  I will give Sony the benefit of the doubt and say that they have run tests to ensure that will not be an issue.  Speaking of the GPU.  It’s the Polaris.  Let’s just keep it real folks.  That’s the only thing it can be.  It’s the only GPU AMD has capable of those specs.

When you are manufacturing a device to be sold in another company’s product and that is how you make your money, you want that device to be embedded in as many products as possible.  If it is a brand new device, you definitely want it in as many products as possible.  Not just for exposure to attract additional clientele, but to eventually use said revenue to pay for development costs and other expenses.  So if Sony is using the Polaris GPU in PSNEO, it is a pretty safe bet to suggest that both Nintendo and Microsoft will also be using that same GPU or something close to it.  It would be very easy for AMD to recoup their losses doing it this way.

That being said….

If the CPU in NX is a brand-new CPU as was suggested by AMD all the way back in 2014, and it has the same GPU (and possibly DDR4 RAM,) NX could possibly, maybe, perhaps be more powerful than PSNEO…..

*Sony fanboy-rage ensues*


I’m just keeping it 100.  I’m not at all saying this IS the case, or this WILL happen.  I will say that if you think it CAN’T happen you need to pour some talcum powder in your hand and slap yourself.  It most definitely CAN play out thus way. 

However, to calm your fears I will state that I don’t think this will happen.  While improbable, it is possible that the NX GPU will be a lower-tier card.  Still good enough to do 4K streaming, still able to work with DX12, Mantle, and Vulkan, but not as powerful as the PSNEO GPU.  Sony’s hook is power and 3rd party support.  They have to sell you that they have the biggest, baddest machine on the planet.  If NX is using x86 architecture there goes the 3rd party advantage out the window.  There isn’t much of a reason not to port multi-platform games to NX.  So the only card they have left is to make sure their system is the most powerful and having the benefit of starting development AFTER Nintendo they could have seen what Nintendo was working with and blow past that.  As I have stated in many blogs all these companies know what each other are doing even when we don’t.  Sony will gladly take a loss if it means staying on top literally and figuratively.  If there is any of the big three that buy into this “console-war” crap it is Sony.

We know that Nintendo in their current-state is about innovation in gameplay with attention to horsepower a very distance second if it is on the radar at all. For the Wii that worked (at least until 2010.)  For the Wii U it was a historical failure.  However with consoles like the NES, SNES, N64, and GameCube you had a great balance of gameplay innovation and horsepower.  In fact, the N64 was the epitome of that.  It was far more powerful than the Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn, and most of the features we take for granted today in some way, shape, or form came from the N64.  So don’t think it’s sweet and think Nintendo can’t do this again. Especially with a more business-minded CEO like Tatsumi Kimishima in charge.  It all remains to be seen.  E3 is definitely going to answer a lot of questions.  We may also get some information about NX shortly after the scheduled investors meeting April 27th.  Most likely a Nintendo Direct will follow.  Once again, as T.O. used to say……


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