Radeon HD 7000-series tipped for rolling release

AMD's next-generation graphics hardware, the Radeon HD 7000-series, is rumoured to be heading to shop shelves in a rolling release over a period of four months with the high-end parts due first and the progressively cheaper components to follow.

Due to offer serious competition to rival Nvidia's well-regarded GeForce series, AMD is tipped to be planning a launch of its highest-end parts in January to be followed by progressively lower-performance - and lower-cost - components over the following three months.

Although as yet unconfirmed by AMD - which, as usual, "does not comment on rumour or speculation," Charlie Demerjian of SemiAccurate claims to have news from a trustworthy source that the lead product - a GPU codenamed Tahiti XT - will drop in January on boards expected to fetch around $500 at retail.

The top-end boards will be joined in February by boards based on the lower-spec Tahiti Pro priced at $400, and in March by the mid-range Pitcairn XT GPU on boards costing $300.

Finally, the company will release its mainstream Pitcairn Pro GPU, which Demerjian claims will hit the market on boards costing around $200. All four families are based on a 28nm process size and manufactured by TSMC, he adds.

The GPUs are believed to include a 384-bit memory bus, meaning high-speed access to up to 3GB of memory per GPU. Should AMD continue its tradition of releasing a high-end dual-GPU part, that opens the door for gaming rigs with 6GB of graphics RAM in just one PCI Express slot.

The only question that now remains: will it run Crysis?