Practically this means that the VLIW5 and VLIW4 architectures, Evergreen and Northern Islands families, are deader than an Italian politician’s campaign promise.
All of AMD’s remaining supported GPUs are now based on various iterations of the Graphics Core Next architecture.
The entire Radeon HD 5000 and 6000 series have been put out to pasture along with Radeon HD 7000 to 7600 parts, and the Radeon HD 8000 to 8400 parts.
To be fair they really were passed it. AMD stopped selling pre-GCN video cards in 2012. The summer Olympics happened in Britain then and we have already forgotten them.
Instead, we had GCN-based 7000 series cards. Some lower-end OEM machines might have had them up to two years ago.
AMD said that pre-GCN GPUs have “reached peak performance optimisation” and that the retirement “enables us to dedicate valuable engineering resources to developing new features and enhancements for graphics products based on the GCN Architecture.”
It will not have any further driver releases for these cards so today’s driver release is the final driver release for these cards.
There are now two drivers for the legacy gear. The last WHQL driver for these products is Catalyst 15.7.1, which was released in July for the launch of Windows 10.
AMD has also released a beta build of Crimson 15.11 is being provided for pre-GCN products. At least they are being sent off with most of the feature improvements rolled out as part of today’s Crimson driver release.
AMD’s VLIW architectures were pretty much dead in the water after 2011 when GCN was announced. Pre-GCN GPUs can’t support DirectX 12 so the Crimson driver release was a sensible cut off time.