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AMD registers Vega 2 trademark suggesting a 2019 GPU refresh

AMD has registered a trademark for a fresh take on the AMD Vega architecture logo. The new branding, submitted less than two weeks ago, displays the usual Vega ‘V’ with two lines cut out the right side to represent the numeral for two.

The latest trademark would imply the red team is gearing up for round two of the Vega architecture, first launched back in 2017 with the Vega Frontier Edition and following gaming RX Vega 64 and RX Vega 56 graphics cards. This all seems a bit surprising considering rumours of a new GPU generation coming in thick and fast. By AMD’s roadmaps, AMD Navi is expected to launch next year.

But there could be an explanation for all that. First and foremost, trademarks aren’t necessarily a portent of things to come. Companies often look to register any half-decent idea to show intent or just in case. Nevertheless, these often abandoned trademarks can make for fascinating speculation, even if they are inevitably destined for the scrapheap.

With Vega 7nm in production and announced in the form of the machine learning AMD Instinct MI60 and MI50 cards, it seems pretty unlikely AMD would bother with fresh branding this late in the game. AMD seem pretty content with the gold Vega logo for this one.

AMD image trademark Vega 2

So machine learning is out. Does that mean gaming is our next best guess? Potentially. Our best guess has Navi launching sometime mid-year, and that wouldn’t leave a Vega refresh much time to percolate in the market. These two GPU architectures could be competing for different markets, however. We know AMD intends on being “competitive in high-end graphics“, but we still don’t know with what architecture.

But there is one side of Vega that is set for a 12nm refresh at the beginning of next year: APUs. While AMD Zen 2 will ship on the 7nm architecture next year, the company’s APU efforts fall one node behind. That leaves Raven Ridge, currently on 14nm, in line for a 12nm refresh sometime in the first half of next year.

Complete with both CPU and GPU cores, AMD’s Raven Ridge successor will shrink both graphics and processing silicon alike in its next iteration. Those second generation APUs could be an easy win for renewed Vega marketing, and, despite recent rumours, seem unlikely to opt for new graphics tech just yet.

AMD GPU roadmap

There are quite a few trademark relics under the AMD name in the Justia trademark database (via VideoCardz), such as: Promethean (abandoned), Pharos (abandoned), Kyzen (abandoned), and Aragon (abandoned). You get the idea. One new trademark just isn’t that convincing.

But there is more effort in a logo than in simply trademarking a word. It’s not some new concept either, it’s a well-known brand that AMD has already used heavily across its entire lineup. Registering the Vega logo indicates some intent on AMD’s part, just in what respect, or when we might see it in use, we can’t be sure yet.

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