AMD GCN Architecture : A revolutionary Architecture


AMD GCN Architecture is the revolutionary architecture from Radeon Group. It stands for Graphics Core Next. This architecture forms the base of the AMD Graphic cards. They are used for desktops and workstation. AMD HD 6000 series onwards, GCN architecture is used in all the graphic cards. Available on select AMD Radeon™ R7 series, R9 series and HD 7000 series graphics cards, the visionary Graphics Core Next (GCN) Architecture is a radically new approach to the design of a consumer GPU.Graphics Core Next (GCN) is the codename for a family of graphics processing unit microarchitectures. It was implemented instruction set developed by AMD and launched in 2011 as the successor to TeraScale architecture. It was introduced with the Radeon HD 2000 Series.

GCN is used in 28 nm graphics chips in the HD 7700-7900, HD 8000, Rx 240-290, and Rx 300 series of AMD graphics cards. GCN is also used in the AMD Accelerated Processing Units code-named “Temash”, “Kabini”, “Kaveri”, “Carrizo”, “Beema” and “Mullins”, as well as in Liverpool (PlayStation 4) and Durango (Xbox One).


This Architecture is not only for DirectX 11 or DirectX 12 effects but also for general computing. GCN GPUs are more than capable of handling workloads-and programming languages-traditionally exclusive to the main processor. It also uses GPU aware programming languages like C++ AMP and OpenCL.

Increasing number of transistors in a graphic cards has a big impact on the potential performance of the graphic card. But increasing number of transistor is not enough. It must have a good architecture. Good architecture must have following capabilities.

Image Quality

Image Quality improves the visual performance of the game. It increases clarity and accuracy of textures. Three key technologies have improved the image quality using AMD GCN architecture

  • Partially Resident Textures

Games often reuse or repeat textures, particularly on the ground or in    background scenery such as mountains or trees. This is because increasing the physical size or number of textures in a game can have a negative impact on the performance of a GPU. PRT is a radical technology that hopes to break this cycle.

The GCN Architecture in AMD Radeon products is the first GPU design to feature a hardware implementation of this technology. Partially Resident Textures (PRT) enable future games to utilize ultra-high resolution textures with the same performance as today’s small and often repetitive textures.

  • Improved Anisotropic Filtering (AF)

Anisotropic filtering is a technique that assists the GPU in making sure textures in your favorite games remain razor sharp, even at a distance.  The GCN Architecture has been specifically optimized to produce superior results when AF is enabled.

Improved anisotropic filtering enables gamers to get sharper, better textures when this technology is enabled.

  • Improved DirectX 11 Tessellation

with tessellation in built in GPU, you can find dynamic detail in the game. It is a specialized version of the rendering effects which allows to generate additional detail in the game.


It is also important that great image quality and performance don’t come at the price of high power bills. This architecture also features reduced power consumption called as “Idle state”

This architecture also forms the base of the Graphic processing units in the APU. Next generation consoles also running on AMD GCN architecture. GCN will be used in a family of products, from tablets that are limited to 2-3W to supercomputers that occupy entire buildings.

AMD GCN HD 7970 GHz Edition
  Programmable Video Processing

The top priority of GCN architecture is to provide the video processing capabilities. The dedicated UVD3 decoder engine adds support for MPEG-4 and DivX formats, along with Multi-View Codecs that are used in Stereo 3D and HD picture-in-picture displays.

Hybrid Video Enoding

AMD is trying to keep the base architecture same as GCN. But only modifying the architecture and coming up with revisions as GCN 1.1, GCN 1.2 etc.

Source : AMD

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