|Models||Radeon 7000, 8000, 9000 series|
|Transistors and fabrication process||30M 180 nm (R100)|
Radeon // is a brand of computer products, including graphics processing units, random-access memory, RAM disk software, and solid-state drives, produced by Radeon Technologies Group, a division of Advanced Micro Devices. The brand was launched in 2000 by ATI Technologies, which was acquired by AMD in 2006.
- 1 Radeon Graphics
- 2 Graphics processor generations
- 2.1 Fixed-pipeline family
- 2.2 TeraScale-family
- 2.3 Graphics Core Next-family
- 2.4 API Overview
- 2.5 Feature Overview
- 3 Graphics device drivers
- 4 Radeon Memory
- 5 Radeon RAMDisk
- 6 Radeon SSD
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Radeon Graphics is the successor to the Rage line. Three different families of microarchitectures can be roughly distinguished, the fixed-pipeline family and the unified shader model-families of TeraScale and Graphics Core Next. ATI/AMD have developed different technologies, such as TruForm, HyperMemory, HyperZ, XGP, Eyefinity for multi-monitor setups, PowerPlay for power-saving, CrossFire (for multi-GPU) or Hybrid Graphics. A range of SIP blocks is also to be found on certain models in the Radeon products line: Unified Video Decoder, Video Coding Engine and TrueAudio.
The brand was previously only known as "ATI Radeon" until August 2010, when it was renamed to increase AMD's brand awareness on a global scale. Products up to and including the HD 5000 series are branded as ATI Radeon, while the HD 6000 series and beyond use the new AMD Radeon branding.
Radeon Graphics card brands
AMD does not distribute Radeon cards directly to consumers (though it did at one time). Instead, it sells Radeon GPUs to third-party manufacturers, who build and sell the Radeon-based video cards to the OEM and retail channels. Manufacturers of the Radeon cards—some of whom also make motherboards—include Sapphire, XFX, Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, Biostar, Gainward, Diamond, HIS, PowerColor, Club 3D, VisionTek and Force3D.
Graphics processor generations
Early generations were identified with a number and major/minor alphabetic prefix. Later generations were assigned code names. New or heavily redesigned architectures have a prefix of R (e.g., R300 or R600) while slight modifications are indicated by the RV prefix (e.g., RV370 or RV635).
The first derivative architecture, RV200, did not follow the scheme used by later parts.
The Radeon, first introduced in 2000, was ATI's first graphics processor to be fully DirectX 7 compliant. R100 brought with it large gains in bandwidth and fill-rate efficiency through the new HyperZ technology.
The RV200 was a die-shrink of the former R100 with some core logic tweaks for clockspeed, introduced in 2002. The only release in this generation was the Radeon 7500, which introduced little in the way of new features but offered substantial performance improvements over its predecessors.
Its performance relative to competitors was widely perceived as weak, and subsequent revisions of this generation were cancelled in order to focus on development of the next generation.
The R300 was the first GPU to fully support Microsoft's DirectX 9.0 technology upon its release in 2001. It incorporated fully programmable pixel and vertex shaders.
About a year later, the architecture was revised to allow for higher frequencies, more efficient memory access, and several other improvements in the R350 family. A budget line of RV350 products was based on this refreshed design with some elements disabled or removed.
Models using the new PCI Express interface were introduced in 2004. Using 110-nm and 130-nm manufacturing technologies under the X300 and X600 names, respectively, the RV370 and RV380 graphics processors were used extensively by consumer PC manufacturers.
While heavily based upon the previous generation, this line included extensions to the Shader Model 2 feature-set. Shader Model 2b, the specification ATI and Microsoft defined with this generation, offered somewhat more shader program flexibility.
ATI's DirectX 9.0c series of graphics cards, with complete Shader Model 3.0 support. Launched in October 2005, this series brought a number of enhancements including the floating point render target technology necessary for HDR rendering with anti-aliasing.
ATI's first series of GPUs to replace the old fixed-pipeline and implement unified shader model. Subsequent revisions tuned the design for higher performance and energy efficiency, resulting in the ATI Mobility Radeon HD series for mobile computers.
Based on the R600 architecture. Mostly a bolstered with many more stream processors, with improvements to power consumption and GDDR5 support for the high-end RV770 and RV740(HD4770) chips. It arrived in late June 2008. The HD 4850 and HD 4870 have 800 stream processors and GDDR3 and GDDR5 memory, respectively. The 4890 was a refresh of 4870 with the same amount of stream processors yet higher clock rates due to refinements. The 4870x2 has 1600 stream processors and GDDR5 memory on an effective 512-bit memory bus with 230.4 Gbit/s video memory bandwidth available.
The series was launched on September 23, 2009. It featured a 40 nm fabrication process for the entire product line (only the HD4770 (RV740) was built on this process previously), with more stream cores and compatibility with the next major version of the DirectX API, DirectX 11, which launched on October 22, 2009 along with Microsoft Windows 7. The Rxxx/RVxxx codename scheme was scrapped entirely. The initial launched consisted of only the 5870 and 5850 models. ATI released beta drivers that introduces full OpenGL 4.0 support on the all variants of this series in March 2010.
This is the first series to be marketed solely under the "AMD" brand. It features a 3rd generation 40 nm design, rebalancing the existing architecture with redesigned shaders to give it better performance. It was released first on October 22, 2010, in the form of the 6850 and 6870. 3D output is enabled with HDMI 1.4a and DisplayPort 1.2 outputs.
Graphics Core Next-family
"Southern Islands" was the first series to feature the new compute microarchitecture known as "Graphics Core Next"(GCN). GCN 1.0 was used among the higher end cards, while the VLIW5 architecture utilized in the previous generation was used in the lower end, OEM products. However, the Radeon HD 7790 uses GCN 1.1, and was the first product in the series to be released by AMD on January 9, 2012.
The "Sea Islands" were OEM rebadges of the 7000 series, with only three products, code named Oland, available for general retail. The series, just like the "Southern Islands", used a mixture of VLIW5 models and GCN models for its desktop products.
"Volcanic Islands" GPUs were introduced with the AMD Radeon Rx 200 Series, and were first released in late 2013. The Radeon Rx 200 line is mainly based on AMD's GCN architecture, with the lower end, OEM cards still using VLIW5. The majority of desktop products use GCN 1.0, while the R9 290x/290 & R7 260X/260 use GCN 1.1, and with only the R9 285 using the new GCN 1.2.
GPUs codenamed "Caribbean Islands" were introduced with the AMD Radeon Rx 300 Series, released in 2015. This series was the first to solely use GCN based models, ranging from GCN 1st to GCN 3rd Gen.
GPUs codenamed "Arctic Islands"were first introduced with the Radeon Rx 400 Series in June 2016 with the announcement of the RX 480. These cards were the first to use the new Polaris chips which implements GCN 4th Gen on the 14 nm fab process. The RX 500 Series released in April 2017 also uses Polaris chips.
Some generations vary from their predecessors predominantly due to architectural improvements, while others were adapted primarily to new manufacturing processes with fewer functional changes. The table below summarizes the technologies supported in hardware in each Radeon generation. A detailed comparison of hardware specifications is also available. Also see AMD FireStream and AMD FirePro branded products.
|Chip series||Micro-architecture||Fab||Supported APIs||Introduced with|
|No||1.3||7.0||No||No||Original "ATI Radeon", as well as Radeon DDR, 7000, 7500, VE, and LE models|
|R200||programmable pixel&vertex pipelines||150 nm||1.4||8.1||8500, 9000, 9200 and 9250|
11 (FL 9_2)
|9500–9800, X300-X600, X1050|
11 (FL 9_2)
11 (FL 9_3)
|R600||TeraScale 1||80 nm
11 (FL 10_0)
|ATI Stream||HD 2000 series, HD 3410|
11 (FL 10_1)
|ATI Stream APP ||HD 3450-3870, Mobility HD 2000 and 3000 series|
|1.0||HD 4000 series|
|Evergreen||TeraScale 2||40 nm||4.4||11 (FL 11_0)
12 (FL 11_0)
|1.2||HD 5000 series|
|Northern Islands||TeraScale 3||HD 6000 series, and IGP 7000 series|
|Southern Islands||GCN 1st gen||28 nm||1.0||4.5||11 (FL 11_1)
|Yes||1.2, new driver 2.0 possible||HD 7000 series|
|Sea Islands||GCN 2nd gen||11 (FL 12_0)
12 (FL 12_0)
|2.0 (2.1 in Beta and 2.2 with driver update)||Radeon 200 series|
|Volcanic Islands||GCN 3rd gen||Radeon 300 series|
|Arctic Islands||GCN 4th gen||14 nm||Radeon 400 series|
|Released||Apr 2000||Aug 2001||Sep 2002||May 2004||Oct 2005||May 2007||Nov 2007||Jun 2008||Sep 2009||Oct 2010||Jan 2012||Sep 2013||Jun 2015||Jun 2016||TBA|
|Instruction set||not publicly known||TeraScale instruction set||GCN instruction set|
|Microarchitecture||TeraScale 1 (VLIW5)||TeraScale 2 (VLIW5)||TeraScale 3 (VLIW4)||GCN 1st gen||GCN 2nd gen||GCN 3rd gen||GCN 4th gen||GCN 5th gen|
|Type||Fixed pipeline||Programmable pixel&vertex pipelines||Unified shader model|
Windows 7+ full support for 1.0
|OpenCL||N/A||Close to Metal||1.1||1.2||2.0||TBA|
|Power saving||Unknown||PowerPlay||PowerTune||PowerTune & ZeroCore Power|
|Unified Video Decoder||N/A||Avivo/UVD||UVD+||UVD 2||UVD 2.2||UVD 3||UVD 4||UVD 4.2||UVD 5.0 or 6.0||UVD 6.3||UVD 7|
|Video Coding Engine||N/A||VCE 1.0||VCE 2.0||VCE 3.0 or 3.1||VCE 3.4||VCE 4.0|
|TrueAudio||N/A||Dedicated DSP||Run on the shaders||TBA|
|Max. resolution||Unknown||2–6x 2560×1600||2–6x 4096×2160 @ 60 Hz||2–6x 5120x2880 @ 60 Hz||TBA|
||N/A||experimental||not in mainline yet|
Graphics device drivers
AMD's proprietary graphics device driver "Radeon Software Crimson Edition" (Formerly Catalyst)
On November 24, 2015 AMD renamed their graphics drivers following the formation of the RTG (Radeon Technologies Group) to signify their commitment to providing better software support for their Graphics Cards. They completely overhauled the UI, built from the ground up in Qt (Qt is a software development framework with modular cross-platform libraries and tools) resulting in 10x faster start up, and 3X Faster initialization of the display than with the AMD Catalyst™ driver. It also has new and more intuitive navigation, a new game manager, new overdrive, and new video, display and AMD Eyefinity technology sections.
Unofficial modifications such as Omega drivers and DNA drivers were available. These drivers typically consist of mixtures of various driver file versions with some registry variables altered and are advertised as offering superior performance or image quality. They are, of course, unsupported, and as such, are not guaranteed to function correctly. Some of them also provide modified system files for hardware enthusiasts to run specific graphics cards outside of their specifications.
On operating systems
Radeon Software Crimson Edition is being developed for Microsoft Windows and Linux. As of July 2014, other operating systems are not officially supported. This may be different for the AMD FirePro brand, which is based on identical hardware but features OpenGL-certified graphics device drivers.
ATI previously offered driver updates for their retail and integrated Macintosh video cards and chipsets. ATI stopped support for Mac OS 9 after the Radeon R200 cards, making the last officially supported card the Radeon 9250. The Radeon R100 cards up to the Radeon 7200 can still be used with even older classic Mac OS versions such as System 7, although not all features are taken advantage of by the older operating system.
Ever since ATI's acquisition by AMD, ATI no longer supplies or supports drivers for classic Mac OS nor macOS. macOS drivers can be downloaded from Apple's support website, while classic Mac OS drivers can be obtained from 3rd party websites that host the older drivers for users to download. ATI used to provide a preference panel for use in macOS called ATI Displays which can be used both with retail and OEM versions of its cards. Though it gives more control over advanced features of the graphics chipset, ATI Displays has limited functionality compared to Catalyst for Windows or Linux.
Free and open-source graphics device driver "Radeon"
The free and open-source for Direct Rendering Infrastructure has been under constant development by the Linux kernel developers, by 3rd party programming enthusiasts and by AMD employees. It is composed out of five parts:
- Linux kernel component DRM
- this part received dynamic re-clocking support in Linux kernel version 3.12 and its performance has become comparable to that of AMD Catalyst
- Linux kernel component KMS driver: basically the device driver for the display controller
- user-space component libDRM
- user-space component in Mesa 3D; currently most of these components are written conforming to the Gallium3D-specifications.
- all drivers in Mesa 3D with Version 10.x (last 10.6.7) are as of September 2014 limited to OpenGL version 3.3 and OpenGL ES 3.0.
- all drivers in Mesa 3D with Version 11.x (last 11.2.2) are as of Mai 2016 limited to OpenGL version 4.1 and OpenGL ES 3.0 or 3.1 (11.2+).
- all drivers in Mesa 3D with version 12.x (in June 2016) can support OpenGL version 4.3.
- all drivers in Mesa 3D with Version 13.0.x ( in November 2016) can support OpenGL 4.4 and unofficial 4.5.
- all drivers in Mesa 3D with Version 17.0.x ( in January 2017) can support OpenGL 4.5 and OpenGL ES 3.2
- Actual Hardware Support for different MESA versions see: glxinfo 
- AMD R600/700 since Mesa 10.1: OpenGL 3.3+, OpenGL ES 3.0+ (+: some more Features of higher Levels and Mesa Version)
- AMD R800/900 (Evergreen, Northern Islands): OpenGL 4.1+ (Mesa 13.0+), OpenGL ES 3.0+ (Mesa 10.3+)
- AMD GCN (Southern/Sea Islands and newer): OpenGL 4.5+ (Mesa 17.0+), OpenGL ES 3.1+ (Mesa 13.0+), Vulkan 1.0 (Mesa 17.0+)
- a special and distinct 2D graphics device driver for X.Org Server, which is finally about to be replaced by Glamor
- OpenCL with GalliumCompute (previous Clover) is not full developed in 1.0, 1.1 and only small parts of 1.2. Some OpenCL tests were failed.
The free and open-source driver supports many of the features available in Radeon-branded cards and APUs, such as multi-monitor or hybrid graphics.
The free and open-source drivers are primarily developed on Linux and for Linux.
Other operating systems
Being entirely free and open-source software, the free and open-source drivers can be ported to any existing operating system. Whether they have been, and to what extent depends entirely on the man-power available. Available support shall be referenced here.
AmigaOS 4 supports Radeon R100, R200, R300, R520 (X1000 Series), R700 (HD 4000 Series), HD 5000 (Evergreen) series, HD 6000 (Northern Islands) series and HD 7000 (Southern Islands) series. The RadeonHD AmigaOS 4 driver has been developed by Hans de Ruiter funded and owned by A-EON Technology Ltd. The older R100 and R200 "ATIRadeon" driver for AmigaOS, originally developed Forefront Technologies has been acquired by A-EON Technology Ltd in 2015.
In the past ATI provided hardware and technical documentation to the Haiku Project to produce drivers with full 2D and video in/out support on older Radeon chipsets (up to R500) for Haiku. A new Radeon HD driver was developed with the unofficial and indirect guidance of AMD open source engineers and currently exists in recent Haiku versions. The new Radeon HD driver supports native mode setting on R600 through Southern Islands GPU's.
On August 2011, AMD expanded the Radeon name to include random access memory modules under the AMD Memory line. The initial releases included 3 types of 2GiB DDR3 SDRAM modules: Entertainment (1333 MHz, CL9 9-9), UltraPro Gaming (1600 MHz, CL11 11-11) and Enterprise (specs to be determined).
In 2013-05-08, AMD announced the release of Radeon RG2133 Gamer Series Memory.
Dataram Corporation is manufacturing RAM for AMD.
In 2012-09-06, Dataram Corporation announced it has entered into a formal agreement with AMD to develop an AMD-branded version of Dataram's RAMDisk software under the name Radeon RAMDisk, targeting gaming enthusiasts seeking exponential improvements in game load times leading to an enhanced gaming experience. The freeware version of Radeon RAMDisk software supports Windows Vista and later with minimum 4GiB memory, and supports maximum of 4GiB RAM disk (6GiB if AMD Radeon Value, Entertainment, Performance Edition or Products installed, and Radeon RAMDisk is activated between 2012-10-10 and 2013-10-10). Retail version supports RAM disk size between 5MiB to 64GiB.
Version 4.1 was released in 2013-05-08.
In 2014-04-02, Dataram Corporation announced it has signed an Agreement with Elysium Europe Ltd. to expand sales penetration in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Under this Agreement, Elysium is authorized to sell AMD Radeon RAMDisk software. Elysium is focusing on etailers, retailers, system builders and distributors.
AMD planned to enter solid state drive market with the introduction of R7 models powered by Indilinx Barefoot 3 controller and Toshiba 19 nm MLC flash memory, and initially available in 120G, 240G, 480G capacities. The R7 Series SSD was released on 2014-08-09, which included Toshiba's A19 MLC NAND flash memory, Indilinx Barefoot 3 M00 controller. These components are the same as in the SSD OCZ Vector 150 model.
- AMD FirePro – brand for professional product line based on Radeon GPUs up to the AMD Radeon Rx 300 series
- AMD Radeon Pro – successor to AMD FirePro and launched alongside the AMD Radeon 400 series
- AMD FireStream – brand for stream processing and GPGPU based on Radeon GPUs
- AMD FireMV – brand for multi-monitor product line based on Radeon GPUs
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- "Supported hardware - MorphOS". Retrieved 2008-11-22.
- "AmigaOS 4.1 Hardware Compatibility List". Acube Systems. 2012-11-25. Retrieved 2014-05-08.
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- "AMD Quietly Releases Radeon-Branded Memory Modules.".
- AMD Announces Memory Series Designed with Gamers in Mind - AMD Radeon RG2133 and upgraded AMD Radeon RAMDisk deliver lightning fast memory performance for PC gaming -
- Dataram Unveils Radeon R9 2400 Gamer Series Memory, Joining AMD in Revolutionizing Computing and UltraHD Entertainment
- Dataram Unveils Radeon R9 2400 Gamer Series Memory
- Dataram Executes Agreement with AMD for Radeon RAMDisk
- AMD Radeon RAMDisk
- AMD Radeon RAMDisk 6GB- SOFTWARE DOWNLOAD PROMOTION
- AMD Launches Radeon RAMDisk, Free 6GB Disks With AMD Memory
- AMD Radeon RAMDisk For Desktops and Notebooks Quick Setup Guide
- Dataram Signs Strategic Sales Agreement with Elysium Europe LTD to Expand Penetration of AMD Product
- AMD readies Radeon line of SSDs
- AMD Radeon R7 SSD Series Expected This Month – Rebranded OCZ?
- AMD Expands Gaming Portfolio with New Radeon™ R7 Series Solid State Drives