Alongside today’s release of the new Radeon Software Crimson Edition driver set, AMD has published a new page on their driver site announcing that video cards based on the company’s pre-Graphics Core Next architectures have been moved to legacy status. This means that GPUs based on the company’s VLIW5 and VLIW4 architectures – the Evergreen and Northern Islands families – have been retired and will no longer be supported. All of AMD’s remaining supported GPUs are now based on various iterations of the Graphics Core Next architecture.

Overall this means that the entire Radeon HD 5000 and 6000 series have been retired. So have the Radeon HD 7000 to 7600 parts, and the Radeon HD 8000 to 8400 parts. AMD and their partners largely ceased selling pre-GCN video cards in 2012 as they were replaced with GCN-based 7000 series cards, so pre-GCN parts are now about 3 years removed from the market. However some lower-end OEM machines with the OEM-only 8000 series may only be 2 years old at this point.

In their announcement, AMD notes that their pre-GCN GPUs have “reached peak performance optimization” 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.” Furthermore AMD is not planning on any further driver releases for these cards – the announcement makes no mention of a security update support period – so today’s driver release is the final driver release for these cards.

To that end, AMD is offering two drivers for the now-legacy products. The last WHQL driver for these products is Catalyst 15.7.1, which was released in July for the launch of Windows 10 and brought with them official support for Windows 10 for all supported GPUs. Meanwhile AMD has also released what will be the first and only Crimson driver release for these products; a beta build of Crimson 15.11 is being provided “as is” for their pre-GCN products. So at the very least the last of AMD’s pre-GCN parts get to go out on a high-note with most of the feature improvements rolled out as part of today’s Crimson driver release.

Ultimately the retirement of AMD’s pre-GCN cards has been a long time coming; it was clear that their VLIW architectures were at a dead-end as soon as GCN was announced in 2011, the only question had been when this would happen. With pre-GCN GPUs unable to support DirectX 12 and coming up on several generations old, it would seem that AMD has picked the Crimson driver release as the natural point to retire these cards.

Update: As a couple of you have now asked, it should also be noted that this retirement includes all APUs using the legacy GPU architectures. So all pre-Kavari APUs: Llano, Trinity, and Richland, are now also legacy APUs

Source: AMD Legacy Driver Page

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  • Gigaplex - Thursday, November 26, 2015 - link

    Kaveri *is* GCN.
  • abufrejoval - Thursday, November 26, 2015 - link

    Which is *exactly* why I also bought an A10-7800K APU, because it's also HSA, ...well it turns out not really, because ony Carrizo was HSA, ...well hopefully... because Carrizo was launched before HSA 1.0 came out ...but can't be bought as a plain old PC motherboard anyway.

    This post is about the Crimson update on a GCN APU system creating a semi-disfunctional mess on a Windows server variant.

    And it's about for modern AMD CPUs being left without support, simply they happen to be coupled to a VLIW4 GPU on the same APU die, while "ancient" (but IMHO still good enough) Phenoms with a modern dGPU don't have any support issues.

    It highlights the risk (or stupidity) of combining two functions with rather diverse evolution speeds like GPUs and CPUs on a single SoC.
  • abufrejoval - Thursday, November 26, 2015 - link

    This is about APUs not dGPUs.

    And they are still *selling* Trinity APUs in official retail today (even the A10-5800K I run in one system), as well as many Richland based APUs. Not eBay mind you, but brand retailers.

    Those systems are out of support before they are even powered on!

    Support must be based on when they stop delivering hardware to retailers not on when they introduced an architecture unless you want to kill a brand (I can literally hear the trolls howling "...but AMD already *is* a zombie brand!!").
  • rent-a-hero - Thursday, November 26, 2015 - link

    My two cents here, you're the first I find talking about 2k8r2 issues, that I am experiencing too.

    Have an HD 5670 paired with a Phenon II 955, and tried a clean install. Just the vga and hdmi-audio drivers installed, not the crimson software too. I tried to install manually the cnext from the unpacked folder, but I'm not too sure about which modules I was supposed to install to get it working. Besides that, I felt that without the software the adaptative performance take some hit.

    So, I had to install the latest catalyst package, and I will update just the drivers, since the software refuse to even be available in the installer; yup, not an error on the installing, it is a no-go, even editing the .msi files.
  • abufrejoval - Thursday, November 26, 2015 - link

    I remember that the initial W2K8R2 installs for my APU based virtualization test server where quite a bit of trouble, because apart from strage GPU driver behavior, the USB3 drivers for the A88X chipset utterly failed to install (and there were two distinct USB3 controllers on that mainboard just to make it interesting).

    I had to resort to editing *.inf files to make them go in.

    "Obviously" nobody was going to use an APU on a OS costing more, but AMD forgot/ignored that develops with an MSN subscription might prefer to have a quiet desktop system to work on.

    Actually AMD must just have fanatical cost cutters in their staff and not supporting the server editions with their drivers just saved them a couple of bucks overall.
  • Lumenix - Tuesday, December 15, 2015 - link

    Why would you be running a server OS and have an HD 5450 installed? Use the integrated video chipset since all youre going to be doing is rendering the windows basic desktop. Please dont tell me you are trying to game on 2k8r2?
  • Gigaplex - Thursday, November 26, 2015 - link

    Wait, what? I've tried installing AMD drivers on the Server versions of Windows, and they've just flat out refused to install, claiming that Server editions aren't supported.
  • abufrejoval - Thursday, November 26, 2015 - link

    Haven't tried a fresh install of Crimson drivers on Windows server yet, older drivers would install GPU, IOMMU, SATA, USB 2 and HDMI audio without problems, but had issues with USB 3 (required fiddling with *.inf files).

    But CCC had memory leaks on the server editions, which had it eat all 32GB of RAM on my Trinity and Richland APUs (Kaveri will kill DRAM speed when you use 4 modules).

    Same hardware with Windows 7 doesn't show that behavior: Installs perfect and no leaks, but won't run Citrix.
  • SPBHM - Tuesday, November 24, 2015 - link

    this is pretty poor for things like Richland, considering you can still buy them new everywhere and it was launched in 2013, cards like the 6900s 2GB are also still adequate for DX11 gaming, I suppose it makes sense due to their lack of resources to just focus on GCN, but it still looks bad if you think about it, until the 7970 went on sale (January 2012) the fastest card you could buy was more or less the 6990 which is out of support now (Legacy support from AMD is minimal considering what happened to the 4800 series after 2012), while Nvidia is still supporting Fermi and it's adding WDDM 2.0/DX12 support for all their DX11 cards, including the 480/460/450 from early 2010, also their old DX10 cards (late 2006 and higher) all got a driver release and control panel for windows 10, while the AMD DX10 cards didn't get even for windows 8.1

    anyway, the Crimson beta worked on my 5800, but it's just a new interface (which loads a lot faster) for the same old settings, features that don't require GCN hardware and could be added (like frame rate target) were not.
  • StevoLincolnite - Tuesday, November 24, 2015 - link

    This is stupid.
    I have Three Radeon 6950's unlocked into 6970's in Crossfire X. I am STILL out-benching the vast majority of single GCN systems and running all the latest games (That support crossfire) with max graphics at 1080P.

    I was actually waiting to upgrade when I could no longer handle the latest and greatest games.

    Converesly... AMD is still selling the Radeon 5450 in most channels.
    The Radeon 210, 220, 230, 235, 235X based on VLIW were released only last year.

    Lastly... Has AMD ever thought that people may not care for performance improvements? That maybe bug fixes is more of a priority? Such a graphcis corruption in "such and such" game?

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